The Guy Behind the Guy: Reprint of Gefter Interview


As shooter and an editor in film and video, who is definitely better in the latter than the former, it happens every day that you will see a photograph that makes you think, “Damn. I hate that I can’t do that.” Surely, that’s within every profession. I’m just telling it how I see it. So, okay. Stupid point. Reason it’s there is to serve as a segue into this reprint of a 2001 interview with Philip Gefter, former page one photo editor of the NY Times. In it, you have one terrific peek into the workings of how that big image gets chosen to be on that big page every day. But more than that, the photo editor has a lot more work cut out for them in the world of thought-via-image than, say, your regular designer, and thus, tons to say for you, if you aren’t lucky enough to be in said position. Followed all that? Point being, a photo editor often has to tell a story in one glance, THE photo editor, always has to tell the story. It makes for some quality reading, the next time you’re worried that people aren’t going to get the Bud Light ad you’re laying out with the flatulent groundhog. Here’s a nice quote:

Gefter makes a point of distinguishing between pictures that are simply “illustrative” of a few event, and pictures that are “edifying” – that is, pictures that are not merely additions, but illuminating in themselves, integral to the report. “A photograph on the page can edify when it opens a window on a story rather than simply being a proof of the story,” he explains.