Toronto, for the next weeks, has a Berlin Wall, designed to keep any protesters and citizens (a.k.a. “threats”) away from the visiting G20 dignitaries, who must not see any of this.
I took a few snaps yesterday, from the car:
Army presence in the street, riot police, many extra Big Brother cameras, constant ID and security checks, roads closed when VIP convoys arrive, a large part of downtown that will be completely shut off for two days, cell phones that will be jammed when Mr Obama is around, and a $1bn bill for the taxpayer: very third world, and I thought that was probably worth a few dramatic black and white pictures.
Am I being ever so slightly manipulative, by using contrasty black and white?
Perhaps, and in news photography I would not of course use any contrast enhancement, or even go to mood-setting black and white. But in this type of documentary shots, on my blog, it is exactly what is called for. I believe the Berlin wall thing is hideous and that must be shown: outrage is suitable.
That said, you should be aware of the fact that just like a writer, a photojournalist can also tell the story he wants. A protest with only forty protesters? Shoot diagonally from above and it’ll look like hundreds. Black and white creates drama. When looking at news pictures, see them in this context, and ask “what was the journalist doing to put across his point of view?”