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4 posts categorized "Tim Fadek"

Mar 11, 2010

Your Turn: I Look at Life from Booth Seats Now


© Timothy Fadek - click for larger size

Since we had so much fun deconstructing this get-together Rove threw for students last year, I'm interested in your take on this clever photo by photojournalist and long-time friend of The BAG, Tim Fadek, who was on the trail of Karl this week. (Caption below.)

And how's this for a shameless plug? ... This post is unabashedly inspired by the approaching relaunch of BagNewsNotes, featuring BagNewsOriginals -- a new section dedicated exclusively to photojournalism. Clink! Clink!

(photo: Tim Fadek/Polaris Images. caption: Karl Rove promotes his memoir at the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York. His book is entitled, Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight." Rove, the mastermind of George W. Bush's two successful presidential runs and a top White House aide, signed in 2007 with Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster. Rove, who became synonymous with ruthless but effective campaign tactics, said in a statement Threshold issued Wednesday that his book would be "a frank account of what I witnessed and my often-controversial role.")

Dec 11, 2008

Decaying Detroit

(click for full size)

Photographer Tim Fadek forwards this image from the Detroit area.   This is the old Michigan Central Station (designed by the Warren and Wetmore firm, which also did Grand Central in New York). Abandoned for the past twenty years, it's mostly home to drug addicts and the homeless. It's also a timely metaphor.

(h/t: AG)

Updated 2:06 pm.


(image ©Tim Fadek/Polaris images. December 2008)

Aug 15, 2006

Qana Was Not Staged

(click to expand)

With the firestorm coming from the Rathergate crowd, and doubts now spreading from the left wing about images from Lebanon, it can start to feel like all reason is being subsumed by political hysteria.  At the same time, war photojournalism seems at risk of being tarred with one brush.

I spent about a half-hour on the phone this evening with photojournalist and contributer Tim Fadek, who has been in Lebanon for about three weeks covering the war.

Having been present following the Qana air strike, Tim emphasized that there was no parading or manipulation of bodies, and that the scene was not staged in any way.  That said, Tim took pains to explain how this kind of situation carries with it certain cultural practices and emotional responses that don't transfer well to the West.  This seems especially true right now, in the super-heated and intensely polarized political environment in the U.S.

"When there is senseless death in this part of the world," Tim explains, "it is completely normal to display the bodies.  Whether in plastic or on blankets, it's done whether there are photographers there or not.  The idea is to ready the public for what has happened, and also say, look what our enemies have done to us."

Regarding the images cited as evidence of manipulation, Fadek said: "a finer distinction is being lost in the West.  In Qana, rescue workers did not hold up a baby to set up a shot.  They were not displaying them to the media, per se.  Yes, it was not lost on these men that the cameras presented a window to the world.  But these people were doing wrenching rescue work and they are human beings.  These instances [of holding up babies] were mostly spontaneous and momentary expressions of anger."

Tim also explained the circumstances surrounding his own images.  Although he felt the photo above was more powerful shown this way, he explained that a rescue worker did set down the body, briefly uncovering it for photographers to document.

For those inclined to consider the depictions as manipulated, Fadek also offers the following image, along with the circumstances involved.

(click for full size)

Once removed from the collapsed building, these bodies were set on the ground to be taken down a hill.   From this spot to the waiting ambulances was at least a four minute walk.  In this case, the two children were placed on this blanket where photographers had 1 1/2 to to 2 seconds to document them.  Given the distance and the available manpower, the two bodies were placed on the same blanket to save effort.

In each case, Tim's understanding was that the rescuers were acting in a manner reflecting a normal attitude toward the dead.  "It's not a manipulation, it's a cultural distinction," said Fadek.  "It's the same as at a martyrs funeral, where faces are exposed, and the bodies marched through the streets.  It's been done for years, media or otherwise."

Update from Tim Fadek (7:35 am PST):

"I need to explain the two or three seconds where the rescue worker uncovered the face of the dead man with his rigormortised hand in the air.  The rescue worker pulled back the blanket and screamed in English: "Look at this!  Israel, America!!"  Then he re-covered the face.  Given Middle Eastern norms and his clear anger, I could not  consider this display disrespectful.

Also, in no way do I consider his actions "directing" the press, or altering the setting.  It was he who pulled the body from the rubble and placed the blanket on the victim in the first place.  He was simply expressing his feelings about the senselessness.  Of course, I photographed the situation with and without the blanket covering the corpse.  I just preferred the covered version and that is what I sent to my agency and posted on my website."

Update 2 (9:23 am PST):

You can view one more image Tim took from Qana, as well as a thoughtful, explanatory statement about "photo direction" by photographer Thorne Anderson, at this companion piece I just posted at Huffington.

(image: Tim Fadek/Polaris.  July 30, 2006.  Qana, Lebanon.  Used by permission.  Please seek permission before republication.)

Jun 26, 2005

Terri's Army

Fadek Schiavo-1

Jeb just can't let Terri go.

With his recent decision to investigate Michael Schiavo's role in his wife's medical demise, Jeb Bush and the Right to Life movement demonstrate that there is still mileage to be gained from this entanglement.

In the BAG's recent effort to collaborate with photojournalists, I've had the opportunity to correspond with Timothy Fadek. Tim is an award winning photographer whose work has been published in Time, Newsweek, The NYT Magazine, as well as major publications worldwide. Perhaps with posterity in mind, Tim was in Florida during the Schiavo controversy and made portraits of many of the pro-life adherents who found their way to the hospice. (His letter is below.)

Portraits are inherently interesting. How a person presents himself to a camera -- especially in the role of an advocate -- can offer a window into that person's personality and disposition. I offer these images (and the opportunity to read into them -- which is the trademark of this site) for two reasons:

First, I'm interested in the way we will look back on this episode. Religious extremists are operating with more power (and "teflon") than I can ever remember. The President himself, as well as leading members of Congress are either drawn from the movement, or are strongly catering to it. What happens to the role of the fundamentalists, however, if a moderate becomes the GOP standard bearer? Will a wider segment of the population come to see these activists as fanatics?

Second, liberals and progressive usually talk about moral extremists as a monolithic group. In considering these images, however, one can't help but consider these folks who trekked to Florida in more individual terms. By offering these images, I thought it might force a consideration of different motivations and personality types among the Right to Lifers.

I am grateful to Tim for making these images available to us. For each one, I have supplied Tim's caption (omitting last names) and my own associations. My idea was that you might also study them and provide impressions and interpretations. There are more images after the fold, as well as a message from Tim. (You can click on each image for a larger version.)


1. The Cutout

Tim's Caption: Nancy of Pinellas Park, Florida. She holds a cardboard cutout of U.S. President George W. Bush, as a visual appeal for the president to get involved in support of Terri Schiavo. Kramer herself suffered brain damage after an automobile accident and has some difficulty with her balance. She was outraged by the Schiavo tragedy and saw it as an attack on disabled people and sees the courts actions as un-American.

My Take: This shot testifies to the degree George Bush has given the Right To Lifers a sense of higher authority -- not to mention unconditional support. It also exemplifies how many of these activist personally bonded with a human shell (I mean Terry, not Bush) through the perception of shared misfortune. It's an empathy -- but a more primitive, self-serving kind. Also, you should always be careful around people who put a hand on the hip like that. Usually, there's no come back.


2. Mad

Tim's Caption: Ed, 22, from Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. He is a Christian and is angry at the apparent injustice in the Terri Schiavo case and believes strongly in the right to life.

My Take: I was pleased to see this image. I just don't understand why there isn't more discussion of what really motivates a large cross section of moral extremists. Forget about faith, lets talk about ANGER. By the way, have you noticed a recent tendency for right wing politicians and political appointees to pose for photographs by turning and pointing a shoulder at the camera? It's often a sign of defiance -- or hostility. The fact this kid did agree to be photographed means he's not completely alienated -- although I don't think I'd want to try and discuss it with him.

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