PetaPixel

Photos Showing News Makers Thrusting Individuals Into the National Spotlight

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In the early 2000s, NYC-based photographer Christopher Dawson noticed that even though major events were going on around the world, major news organizations in the US often remained fixed on stories involving the rich and famous. Due to the fact that stories involving celebrities often result in more eyeballs and advertising dollars, things like Britney Spears’ custody hearing or Michael Jackson’s molestation trial would attract a disproportionate amount of attention.

Starting 2004, Dawson began to create a series of photos with the camera pointed at the newsmakers rather than the stories. The ongoing project is titled “Coverage.”

The photographer takes his 4×5-inch view camera and visits scenes where individual people are “thrust into the forefront of the nation’s attention.

Dawson writes,

I’m interested in the bizarre transformation that this massive enterprise brings to the landscape, and the means by which information is being produced and distributed at this important juncture in our history.

Each picture in the Coverage series is titled after the famous subject, though he or she is absent from the frame. In aggregate, the titles could function as a survey of who commands attention in early 21st Century America, while the images look at the assembly-points of public fascination.

Here are some of the photographs in the series so far:

Eliot Spitzer, Albany, New York, 2008

Eliot Spitzer, Albany, New York, 2008

OJ Simpson, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

OJ Simpson, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

Britney Spears, Los Angeles, California, 2008

Britney Spears, Los Angeles, California, 2008

Lindsay Lohan, Beverly Hills, California, 2010

Lindsay Lohan, Beverly Hills, California, 2010

Bernard Madoff, New York City, 2009

Bernard Madoff, New York City, 2009

Lindsay Lohan, Beverly Hills, California, 2010

Lindsay Lohan, Beverly Hills, California, 2010

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, New York City, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, New York City, 2011

Whitney Houston, Newark, New Jersey, 2012

Whitney Houston, Newark, New Jersey, 2012

Michael Vick, Richmond, Virginia, 2007

Michael Vick, Richmond, Virginia, 2007

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, New York City, 2007

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, New York City, 2007

Britney Spears, Los Angeles, California, 2008

Britney Spears, Los Angeles, California, 2008

Michael Jackson, Los Angeles, California, 2009

Michael Jackson, Los Angeles, California, 2009

OJ Simpson, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

OJ Simpson, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

Zacarias Moussaoui, Alexandria, Virginia, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui, Alexandria, Virginia, 2006

Paris Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2010

Paris Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2010

Casey Anthony, Orlando, Florida, 2011

Casey Anthony, Orlando, Florida, 2011

You can find more photos from this series over on Dawson’s website.

Coverage by Christopher Dawson (via Wired)


Image credits: Photographs by Christopher Dawson and used with permission


 
 
  • tyrohne

    incredibly banal series…. (IMO)

  • TedRysz3

    I really like the story that this photo set tells. I also think it brings up a larger story in how we cover news and what some in the United States consider to be news.

  • Opie

    Welcome to contemporary art photography. The cognoscenti have decided that left-brained art is more legitimate than right-brained; that commentary and narrative are more important than aesthetics and creativity.

    What, you wanted to *look* at photography? Silly. You’re only supposed to think about it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/justy.guerrero Justy Guerrero

    Muy bonitas fotos de las Ciudades, me gustan mucho.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.verge.1 Scott Verge

    I do like the idea but I also find the photos themselves to be pretty boring.

    I also wonder why he had to use a 4×5 view camera and why we would want to know that?

  • http://twitter.com/JenineGiommi Jenine Giommi

    Xavier. I see what you mean… Rosa`s blurb is amazing… last monday I bought a top of the range Toyota since I been earnin $5415 this-past/five weeks and-just over, ten thousand this past month. with-out any question its the most-comfortable job Ive ever had. I began this 9-months ago and right away began to earn minimum $70, p/h. I went to this site………. BIT40.ℂom

  • http://www.facebook.com/leoabreuphoto Leonardo Abreu

    I don’t get the slow shutter…

  • DamianM

    Well every other post mentions the camera used as well, and then everyone is outraged because they should have used another camera. There is no pleasing anybody.

  • tyrohne

    I consider myself a contemporist (?) but I don’t find these worthy of thought. Upon your sarcastic reply I spent some more time re-evaluating these and came away with the same opinion. How about I give the tog an “A” in the effort column?

  • agour

    because it makes the project cooler if he used a view camera

  • Mansgame

    In their defense, was’t there a story just last week about how many journalists’ are getting robbed of their camera gear and/or attacked? Rich people tend to only stick to white collar crimes so I don’t blame journalists for not risking their lives in the ghetto.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.nanthavongsa Tracy Nanthavongsa

    I love that rooftop one LOL

  • Opie

    My reply wasn’t sarcastic. It was frustratedly commiserative.

    Art *can* be simultaneously thought-provoking and beautiful, and the iterations that do so are incredible and, for artists, aspirational. We should hold ourselves to such a high standard.

    Unfortunately, it’s much easier to do one or the other, as seen here. The proliferation of “vapidly pretty” and “cerebrally banal” artwork only proves this. Of course, the latter has been deemed much more legitimate in fine art circles, so that is what fine art has become. Assigning “beautiful” as a four-letter word is just a sign of the art world settling for less. The pretty girl can be the valedictorian, too.

  • Anthony

    Why is your standard of beauty the criteria to which all should aspire? Justy Guerrero (below) thinks they are very beautiful. Is he wrong?

  • Opie

    Absolutely not. Am I wrong for thinking they aren’t?

    Of course it’s all subjective, to suggest otherwise would be idiotic.

    I find the photos visually uninteresting, as does Tyrohne. I therefore began a tangential line of discussion based on that established agreement. Is that alright with you?

    Sometimes I try to have a discussion with one person and forget that others want to be included. My bad.

  • Anthony

    Perhaps your bad, if you try to have a bilateral conversation in a global public forum that is open for all to contribute?

    It seems you can’t convincingly cite these pictures as an example of contemporary photography’s exclusion of beauty, given that another commentator here declares them “muy bonitas.” It doesn’t change your rightful opinion of the images to have this pointed out, correct?

  • tyrohne

    I stand corrected. Cheers!