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Inside Column: State of the headshots

Adam Fairholm | Friday, February 2, 2007

Hello, dear reader. I am writing today about something that is important to me, and I have decided to write this in inside column format. I’ve decided to position my words in a column-like shape to talk to you about the sorry state of headshots in The Observer.

You may remember my other inside column (the second of three, if you are into collecting my inside columns) of Fall 2006, when I discussed the importance of having the proper headshot to go with your article in our student newspaper. I think you’ll agree, articles without headshots suck.

Since my column’s appearance, I have seen a larger number of headshots in The Observer (directly attributable to me), but I have also seen a steady decline in quality. This is disturbing.

CASE IN POINT: The issue of Tuesday, January 30th is strewn with awful, stupid headshots.

EXAMPLE A: Jonathan Klinger’s article on fair trade in the Viewpoint section has with it possibly the worst headshot in Observer history. It appears to be cropped from a larger photo of Jonathan (or, if I may, Jon) near a coral reef. However, this cannot be so because he is wearing a suit. Ridiculous.

Further more, his head isn’t even filling the frame of the headshot. There is a limited space in which to make a headshot IMPACT. I suggest you fill it, Jon.

EXAMPLE B: Marty Schroeder’s article on Super Bowl commercials. The way his head is slightly cocked, but not cocked all the way, makes me distrust him and his motives. His stare suggests something to me of a secret, not unlike the Mona Lisa. I don’t want to stare at the headshot and try to figure out what he is thinking; I want it all in the article. Give me a headshot that says,”no need to look here, it’s all in the article.” Marty, take your half-cocked Mona Lisa smiles and leave them at home.

But do not lose hope, dear readers. Among strewn piles of senseless crappy headshot rubble, there are some shiny good things. The edition of Wednesday, January 31st, in the Viewpoint section features a very well done headshot of Katie Palmitier. Neutral background, full frame, and the perfect facial expression. Wow.

While there are many terrible headshots in the Observer, not enough articles even give their writers a chance by including them. Missed opportunity. Recall Ken Fowler’s passionate polemic against that Selena Roberts woman or whatever. Now imagine Ken’s column with him staring right at you looking SUPER serious. HOLY CRAP! I’ve met Ken (nice guy) and he could do it, no problem.

So I call on you, the readers, to demand more headshots. Write in, and – oh whatever, this’ll probably get cut off at the end anyways.