What Makes a Great Picture: Jim Bourg Edition
I tried, I really tried resisting posting this picture. But I can’t help it; it won’t get out of my head. I first saw it last week, the day after the debate, and I could not. believe. my eyes. I mean, I watched this debate. And although McCain had some sputtering and some eye-rolling, I never saw him impersonate the iguana. But he did– Reuters photographer Jim Bourg caught him.
Thanks to the modern miracle of blog science, Bourg actually wrote about the birth of this wonder on the Reuters blog. Check it out. Here’s a snippet:
“In any case, when I saw McCain lunge and his hands start to come upI hit the shutter and made two frames before it was over. Some otherphotographers who were there expressed surprise when they saw mypicture and said they had never seen it happen at all and asked when ithad occurred. When I saw the television tape of it later on the news Itoo was surprised at how momentary and fast the move by Senator McCainwas. Strangely enough Senator McCain again stuck his tongue out in asimilar way 3-4 minutes later while standing between his wife Cindy andSenator Obama at the front of the stage, a moment captured by mycolleague Shannon Stapleton and other wire service photographers inattendance and once again shown on national and internationaltelevision.
The picture, as with all my pictures that night, was remotely editedby an editor off site, viewing my pictures as I shot them over theinternet and working with other editors who processed and captioned thepictures along with photos from the other three Reuters photographersshooting the debate. This photo was just one of 40 of my pictures thatwere transmitted on the Reuters wire from this debate and one of morethan 100 from our crew of photographers, which included Gary Hershorn,Shannon Stapleton, Jim Young and Carlos Barria.
By the time I got back to my hotel room that night people were alreadydiscussing the photo on the internet and by the next morning my emailinbox was filling with messages about the picture. Some peoplecomplimented me on the photo while others strongly criticized bothmyself and Reuters for shooting and transmitting a news photo of a verypublic moment that had taken place in front of more than 60 milliontelevision viewers at the culmination of a major and historic publicevent.”
Photography: it can ferret out the essence of the modern politician more accurately than the human eye. Amazing.