A Photographer’s Intent: The Trent/McMinnville UFO Photos
Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
Lance Moody and Paul Kimball excoriated Anthony Bragalia’s earlier piece about the famous Trent/McMinnville UFO pictures in Mr. Kmball’s Other Side of Truth podcast, linked here, a few days ago.
Lance and Paul were furious that Anthony was remiss about a LIFE photo’s origin or provenance.
I’m not going to renew that imbroglio, but in the course of the discussion here from and within Paul Kimball’s podcast with Mr. Moody, there was broached the idea, from me, and Mr. Bragalia (in his piece) that the LIFE photographer by shooting this photo…
was hinting that the Trents had hoaxed their photos, and this was how (in part): the boy on a ladder, beneath the wires seen in the original photos.
This was a photo taken at the same time by the LIFE photographer, replicating the oil drum shot in the original above:
Mr. Kimball, citing his experience as a film-maker/photographer thought the LIFE photographer was merely accumulating many shots, to make sure he had some his LIFE Editor wanted.
I wrote that photographers sometimes are making a point with the shots they take, keeping a few for their personal portfolio while hoping others will make print and their point, whatever that point may be, even one diametric to the piece being published.
Mr. Moody, also like me, involved with news media (photographers, still and video) agreed that photogs take many photos, some to hold, others to make a statement, and those for their editors or companies and the pending piece to be published.
To make that point, I cite this, from The New Yorker [July 29, 2013, Critics Notebook: Eye on America, Page 11] about the great American photogapher Walker Evans, whose work is being shown in the permanent-collection gallery at New York’s MOMA:
“… Evans was never a strictly objective observer; for all their blunt simplicity, his photographs are sharply opinionated.”
That’s how I’ve found new photographers in my work at various newspapers and TV stations; Mr. Moody too, it seems.
Therefore, the idea that LIFE’s assigned photographer for the Trent family felt there was hokum involved in the Trent snapshooting and tried to convey that with his out-of-context “boy-on-a-ladder” photo is not outrageous; it was a subliminal hint, I argue, as does Mr. Bragalia, that the photographer wanted to convey, while appearing to be just an objective LIFE shooter.
That’s the gist or main point of Mr. Bragalia’s Trent piece, which can be read with its update about the provenance controversy at his private blog – bragalia.blogspot.com
What’s your take – not on the Oberg brouhaha, but the idea that the LIFE photographer was trying to tell us something?