Karin Andreasson

Karin Andreasson is a London based picture editor where she currently works for the Guardian. During her ten years of working on the newspaper she has worked across all print titles, including Weekend Magazine, G2 and the main paper. While on G2 Karin wrote for the photography column My Best Shot, interviewing leading photographers including Erwin Wurm; Mick Rock and Carrie Mae Weems. Prior to working at the Guardian Karin worked at the Evening Standard, NME and Time Out. She has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Central St Martins and a Masters in History of Photography from Birkbeck. Karin is a regular participant at photography festivals and has been invited to portfolio reviews at Rencontres D'Arles and Photo Espania. She has been an international panelist on photography competitions and is currently working with Women Photograph on their mentoring program for emerging photographers.

Karin Andreasson is a London based picture editor where she currently works for the Guardian. During her ten years of working on the newspaper she has worked across all print titles, including Weekend Magazine, G2 and the main paper. While on G2 Karin wrote for the photography column My Best Shot, interviewing leading photographers including Erwin Wurm; Mick Rock and Carrie Mae Weems. Prior to working at the Guardian Karin worked at the Evening Standard, NME and Time Out. She has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Central St Martins and a Masters in History of Photography from Birkbeck. Karin is a regular participant at photography festivals and has been invited to portfolio reviews at Rencontres D'Arles and Photo Espania. She has been an international panelist on photography competitions and is currently working with Women Photograph on their mentoring program for emerging photographers.

The front page

As this will be my last post I would like to say thank you to Hatje Cantze and Nadine Barthe for inviting me, and to those who have taken the time to look. I would have liked to write more about the trials of newspaper picture editing, but the job as it were got in the way. So, for this final musing, I am writing about the front page photograph. Out of all the pictures in the newspaper, this must be the most important one.

We had an unusual about turn with the front page picture last week with the Babchenko story, he was the Russian journalist who faked his own death with the help of the Ukrainian secret service. On that day there were pictures around of protesters attaching photographs of Babchenko to the gates of the Russian Embassy in Kiev, it was a front page story but they weren’t good enough front page pictures. When images from the press conference started to come in where he appeared alive, we had an unbelievable story and a great picture to go with it.

We had an unusual about turn with the front page picture last week when Babchenko appeared alive at a news conference.

We begin to discuss the front page picture in our midday editorial meeting. This is when each of the section editors – home news, foreign, business and environment runs through their top stories, the graphics editor explains what information they will be illustrating through maps etc and I make a presentation of the 20 best pictures I have seen so far that day. The key stories are roughly sketched out on the layout – the editor will usually be able to identify what might make the front page splash, what will go on page three, and which stories should open the foreign and business sections.

A classic news picture filled the front when the politician Amber Rudd resigned.

A classic news picture filled the front when the politician Amber Rudd resigned.

On a perfect day we will get a few different things out of the picture show. Hopefully, we will have decided on our Eyewitness picture, the photograph that fills the double pages of the centre spread from Monday to Friday. If there isn’t a stand out image that can fill such a huge space, then finding it will hound me for the rest of the day. The show may also reveal a number of standalone images that can run in the paper on their own merit and sometimes images can prompt a story to be written. There are times however when the nine to ten thousand images I’ve looked through in the morning yield very little in terms of photographs that are any good to print. This seems extraordinary, but believe me, most of the photography I look through is neither good enough nor relevant for the paper.

Guardian centre spread 26 March 2018

A memorable image of a news event that fills the space with interesting detail.

Finally, I hope to get a heads up on what our front page picture might be. There is a certain sense of security knowing more or less what might go on the front, but not all stories will be picturable. A frequent, unnerving scenario is leaving the midday meeting not knowing what will go on the front and not having an Eyewitness.

Guardian centre spread 21 March 2018

This beautiful and striking portrait holds the space despite being deceptively simple.

On some days we have a news piece that has been photographed, other days we have our own pieces of journalism for which we have commissioned photography, but there are also days when the stories on the front can’t be photographed, in those instances we are looking for a news worthy image that will hold the front page with just a caption. It can be a real challenge to find such an image and on these occasions we often have to do a lot of lateral thinking to come up with something. We also have to think about the tone of the picture and how it will work next to the other stories on the front.

We sent our photographer Graeme Robertson to Jamaica to shoot this portrait for the Guardian's ongoing Windrush investigation.

We sent our photographer Graeme Robertson to Jamaica to shoot this portrait for the Guardian’s ongoing Windrush investigation.

The paper goes through many iterations as the day progresses and the stories on the front may be switched as their importance wains or are replaced by breaking news, but even if the main story stays the same we usually wait to decide on the image until late in the afternoon, so we are sure we have seen everything on offer and have chosen the best. It amazes me that sometimes the front page can be completely up in the air until the very last moment when it all miraculously falls in place. Those days leave you reeling with the feeling that you’ve only just gotten away with it, a combination of being high with exhilaration and completely shattered. The question of what makes a good front page picture is I think answered by how immediate its message is. It is all about impact and how we can make the Guardian stand out against competition on the newsstand. For my colleagues working on the website these concerns are from another era, but for me this way of thinking about how pictures function when printed and left out in the real world are what makes the job so interesting.

Today, in pictures

Passing through the Guardian's exhibition space to start the day.

Passing through the Guardian’s exhibition space to start the day.

Pages from today's paper hang on the wall from last night's final run through. The front page picture later changed when new pictures came in from the mass singalong in Manchester to remember the victims of last year's bomb attack.

Pages from today’s paper hang on the wall from last night’s final run through. The front page picture later changed when new pictures came in from the mass singalong in Manchester to remember the victims of last year’s bomb attack.

Today's paper with a joyous front page picture.

Today’s paper with a joyous front page picture.

Meanwhile royalty continue to be pictured on most of the other newspaper's front pages.

Meanwhile royalty continue to adorn most of the other front pages.

Standing room only in morning conference.

Standing room only in morning conference.

At my desk scrolling through pictures, endless pictures.

At my desk scrolling through pictures, endless pictures.

The walls in the office are full of the Guardian's heritage. Original door frames from the Guardian's Manchester office line the corridor to Kath Viner's office – our editor-in-chief, and a facsimile of the first ever Manchester Guardian from 1821 hangs on the wall.

The walls in the office are full of the newspaper’s heritage. Original door frames from the Guardian Manchester office line the corridor to Kath Viner’s office – our editor-in-chief, and a facsimile of the first ever Manchester Guardian from 1821 hangs on the wall.

The flat plan coming together at the end of my shift.

The flat plan coming together at the end of my shift.

Editors, designers and sub editors, all hard at work in the final push of putting the paper together.

Editors, designers and sub editors, all hard at work in the final push to get the paper finished.

I make my way out of the building as colleagues work to put the paper to bed.

I make my way out of the building as colleagues work to put the paper to bed.

The evening sun beckons.

The evening sun beckons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two festivals // two exhibitions

Peckham 24

Enjoying the sunshine in the courtyard at Peckham 24

If you ask me the real buzz around photography in London this weekend was south of the river, at the fringe festival Peckham 24. Now in its third year this diminutive festival is well in its stride. The old factory buildings and derelict spaces housed small but thoughtfully curated exhibitions and was the perfect antidote to the heady commercialism of Photo London, held in the grandeur of Somerset House. Two stand-out shows were held in the Copeland Gallery space – My London, curated by Emma Bowkett and Concealer, curated by Tom Lovelace.

johnny

Jonny Briggs, The Silent Image (My ear poking through a photograph of Freud’s garden). Part of My London.

jhv

Penelope Umbrico, Everyone’s Photos Any License. Screenshot 2015-11-04 14.22.59. Part of Concealer

Peckham 24 also hosted talks in a room with the best windows I’ve seen in a long time.

Peckham 24

Audience listen to Hannah Hughes, Daphne Talmor, Jonny Briggs, Bruno V Roels and Yamini Nayar in conversation.

FOAM

Foam Talent at Beaconsfield Gallery in Vauxhall

Tucked away from the luxury apartment buildings rising up around Vauxhall station lies Beaconsfield Gallery, an artist run space in a former Victorian school. This is where Foam has for the third time presented its show of artists to look out for under the age of 35.

FOAM

Video still from Alinka Echeverría, Fieldnotes for Nicephora, 2015

Visitors fill the Somerset House galleries

Visitors fill the Somerset House galleries, photo by Kristina Sälgvik.

Over at Photo London the trick to staying focused and in good humour is to dip in and out (that is if you have the luxury of a weekend ticket). Of course I attempted to see it all in one go and left in a predictably stupefied state.

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky, Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2, Carrara, Italy 2016

Burtynsky’s six metre wide mural of the Carrara quarries contains triggers for augmented reality film clips that play on an app when a device is held up to the image on the wall.

webber

Marton Perlaki at Webber Represents

A wonderful collection of Henry Wessel's at Thomas Zander

A wonderful collection of Henry Wessel’s at Galerie Thomas Zander

Further along The Strand in a disused brutalist office building is the exhibition A Shade of Pale, curated by Carrie Scott. Although the show is conceived as an exploration in photographic series that reject linear readings, my overarching impression was about the impact of colour, no doubt accentuated by the cool, concrete location.

180

Marco Walker’s pop art-esq cut-outs explode from a disused safe.

John Pawson's Spectrum

Architect John Pawson‘s chromatic series Spectrum is like walking though a designer’s colour and pattern reference book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaza

The photography that has been most on my mind this week has come from Gaza. It has made me think about the experience of looking at disturbing imagery. As a picture editor I look through a lot of photographs each day: by the time I leave work at 7pm I have generally seen approximately 25,000. And on any given day, that feed – which features everything imaginable, and unimaginable – there will be a number of upsetting images.

We view the images that are sent to the Guardian from agencies and individual photographers as a grid of thumbnails. It is a jumble of pictorial juxtapositions. I start scrolling through them at midnight, saving anything that catches my eye. I am looking at formal qualities – composition, light, colour, dynamism – as well as subject matter – the people or events that are in the news. These are all things you learn to recognise from a five-centimetre wide rectangle.

Screengrab from The Guardian's picture grid taken on Monday 13th May

Screengrab taken from The Guardian’s picture grid at 8.40am Monday 14 May

Monday morning was fairly typical, a mixture of entertainment from the night before and pictures taken over the weekend. But slowly images from the protests in Gaza against started to stream in. Protesters were reacting to the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, on the eve of the Nakba anniversary the following day. At first there were the images we have become used to, of Palestinian men in T-shirts and jeans throwing rocks and running through clouds of black smoke from burning tyres. But then as the day progressed, there were more and more images of injured people, then bodies being carried away. Over 50 Palestinians died on Monday, the deadliest day in years. The harrowing scenes we witnessed on our screens in the office in London were taken by photographers who were right in the middle of the chaos. Despite being press and wearing flak jackets, they were putting themselves in significant danger. Only last month Palestinian photographer Yasser Murtaja was shot dead covering demonstrations.

The Guardian front page, Tuesday 14 May

The Guardian front page, Tuesday 15 May

Over 1000 images were sent in from Gaza. The images of the protests and the injured appeared alongside others of Ivanka Trump, pristine and glamorous, surrounded by suited politicians and diplomats celebrating the opening of the embassy. The contrast was shocking. So instead of our standard single image on the front of Tuesday’s paper we had two. It was not the most elegant composition, but it was a bold statement that was impossible to misread.

It is surprising how many disturbing pictures you can look at before one jumps out and chills you to the bone. For me it tends to be when a child is involved and there are moments when I need to step away from the screen. It is rare for these images to be published, but there are cases, as with the picture of Alan Kurdi, when the significance of the image is so great that it has to be shared. We are all to some extent numbed to images of suffering, especially when we have seen a lot of pictures from an ongoing tragedy or conflict, but that is when I believe there is an argument for publishing something you would rather look away from. Sometimes we need to be woken up to what is happening. Needless to say there will be a serious discussion involving lots of people about the ethical questions around publishing such an image. When it comes to photographs of conflict we feel more justified in showing death, but people will always deserve privacy and respect. A public funeral may seem like a fair event to picture, but should we be distributing a dead person’s face around the world?  Shouldn’t a family mourning the loss of a child in a morgue be allowed the privacy to do so? Equally though, an image of dead children, for example, can sometimes be seen as evidence of their being used as human shields. It is almost always a case of using your gut instinct and asking yourself if an image feels like an intrusion or a necessity. And how it might be interpreted – or misinterpreted – from a political perspective.

Discussion is important in figuring out how we should tell a story, but it is also important for us as a way of dealing with the images we look at. I am almost always working with another picture editor and we talk endlessly about the images we are looking at. It is impossible not to voice a reaction to something that grabs you. It is vital that we have strong reactions to images and aren’t just completely numbed to them, because we have to be able to put ourselves into the mind of the reader, coming to that one image afresh.