The media face of truth

Sometimes the photos of themselves that journalists put next to their publications escape control and speak their own language. They also speak very critically and do not necessarily say what the author intended. The paradox of apparently simple choices almost automatically crosses over into self-promotion when the picture tries to convey the image of an intellectual giant committed to society to the last drop of blood, ready and competent to advise, edu¬cate and explain all the problems of the world.

This happens too often not to be mentioned, particularly in the audiovisual and press media. Photos usually accompany articles, essays and commentaries in newspapers or headers promoting a particular programme. What is puzzling is the blindness of the authors to the possible perception of their photos. Most probably they think that having taken on the pose of wise, reflective thinkers that is how they will be perceived. Self-presen¬tation is an exceptionally difficult undertaking when it involves editors-in-chief or journalists with recognised achievements and authority. It is easy to lose detachment and produce a version of the photo that looks funny and pretentious rather than natural and friendly. Trying to convince the audience through a picture that one is wise and intelligent enough to advise and in¬struct is a risky idea. The face, the expression or the pose may suggest vanity and lack of self-objectivity. The price of fame unconsciously revealed in a photo.