Behind the picture
Every morning I start my working day scanning the Getty Images, AP and AFP wires, searching hundreds of images from around the world for striking visual stories to share with Australia. Every morning I am reduced to tears by the latest photos from Syria’s bloody civil war.
Most days, these show blood, guts and severely traumatised children amid the most appalling scenes of death and destruction. No one wants corpses with their Corn Flakes, so we do not publish these images.
As a rule, Australian newspapers do not publish photographs of dead bodies.
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It was only a matter of time before they found the teddy bear.
They were professionals, after all. As the other passengers on my flight to Warsaw filed past, a team of Belurussian customs officers methodically picked apart my luggage, pulling out cameras, phone, computer, hard drives, memory cards and (goddammit) Season 5 of The Wire. As they put each item aside, they offered it for inspection to a man in plainclothes – KGB.
Their faces lit up with satisfaction as they gingerly removed the teddy bear from my dirty laundry. It was about 15cm tall, wearing a handmade frock, attached to a black parachute and carrying a sign declaring “Teddy Bears Support Human Rights” in English and Belarussian. It was also a prize catch.
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It’s the picture that will never get old. In the past few days on Twitter this photo duo has been doing the rounds with this caption: “A newborn baby gorilla at Melbourne Zoo gets a checkup at the hospital and shows surprise at the coldness of the stethoscope.”
It’s not hard to see why people want to share this. Many of us are seeing it for the first time, but it was taken just after the birth of Yakini in November 1999. Why it’s cropped up on social media in the last 24 hours isn’t clear.
The Punch spoke to Herald Sun photographer David Caird, who took these and probably thousands of other pictures of Yakini, over a six-month period when the baby gorilla was being hand-raised after a very difficult birth.
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Critics out there would say that watching the Tour de France in person isn’t worth it. That it’s just a battle to push past the crowds, narrow roads and heat stroke all for a moment’s satisfaction when the peloton passes a toenail in front of your feet and that it leaves you with nothing more than searing sunburn and a bad case of whiplash.
They were watching the wrong road race. The entertainment begins long before the peloton passes through, and if people-watching was a sport, then the Tour de France would serve as its world championships. Here I give you the Tour de France Fan Character Analysis.
Our study starts at the bottom of the Col de Peyresourde, one of the toughest mountains of the Tour, in scorching 35 degree weather. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and as we approach the summit, not a tree in sight. My husband and I ride to the top on hacker 20 year old mountain bikes, borrowed from a friend of a friend of the owner of our hotel. If Thomas Voeckler saw us he’d hand us the polka dot jersey out of respect.
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It’s been a powerful week for visual history which got me thinking about the impact of images on the way we remember events, particularly tragedy. The old adage that pictures speak louder than words is never more true than images that capture loss and horror. They remind us of some of the worst events in our recent history and symbolise the darkest aspects of our humanity: politics, greed and power. It’s impossible to forget them.
This picture has been everywhere this week as we remember the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen Square, and it’s certainly one of the most powerful images we can think of in the history of photojournalism. “Tank Man” is the name given to this photograph that was taken on 4 June 1989 by Jeff Widener, then Southeast Asia Picture Editor with Associated Press in Bangkok.
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Tabby or not tabby? That is the question.
Another key question in the wake of the tragic death of “Meow” the 17 kilo cat overnight, is why oh why did he have to die so young? It’s not like he brought it on himself. He was just naturally big boned and big whiskered. And big tailed and big furred and big, big tummied.
Vets said Meow died overnight as a result of complications from his morbid obesity. Well, those remarks are just plain catty. “Meow” spent his whole life on the high protein Catkins diet, yet still ballooned out to a catastrophic weight.
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Camped on Kangaroo Island once. Great place. Swam naked on a pristine beach and ate the best damn King George Whiting ‘n’ chips you’ve ever had in your life.
Update: last night on the ABC’s Media Watch it was revealed that celebrities were paid $750 to Tweet positively about KI. This article was posted hours before that, purely by coincidence, and we weren’t paid a cent. So there.
Saw rare glossy black cockatoos, koalas, seals, you name it. The seals are hilarious. They waddle up the dunes on the island’s wild southern shore, then roll back down like kids on a grassy slope. Good times.
For me, KI was a wild, sand-between-your-toes, hardly-spend-a-cent kind of holiday. That’s why I was initially bewildered by the artsy ads aimed at an upmarket audience, which are currently in their final week of an eight week eastern states TV run. Well, turns out SA Tourism know exactly what they’re doing.
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There’s something about planes, people working on them, getting things done. People getting things done on planes look like the sort of people you want to get things done for you.
Julia Gillard used to look like that back in 2010 when this photo was taken. She could use a bit of that juice right now. Just look what it’s done for Hillary Clinton.
A photo of Clinton, shades on, Blackberry in hand, about to take off for Tripoli, has not just become an internet sensation but injected a whole new energy into the commentary about her political prospects.
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Here at The Punch, we pride ourselves on our original content. OK, so the prose in our stories might not be Shakespearean, but at least you won’t find us aggregating other people’s stuff and sneakily passing it off as our own. Except for today.
Aggregation is what good websites do when they become lazy, and what lazy websites do all the time. But we can’t resist. We have found the world’s best website and we need to share it with somebody. You’ll break out into a sweat. In fact, you’ll break out into a sweater when you see…
The absolutely amazing thecosbysweaterproject.com !!!!!!!!!
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Life is far from dull in the Northern Territory. Or if it is, we’ll never know. And that’s all thanks to the awesome team at the NT News, the Darwin newspaper celebrating sixty years of printing the zaniest, craziest and downright weird stories most of us will ever read.
The Northern Territory has just one per cent of Australia’s population. That means celebrity, sports and major political stories are few and far between. So the NT News quite sensibly turns its attention to its huge backyard. And that backyard is filled to the brim with scary, bitey creatures.
These are the kind of stories that everyone wants to read, but most newspapers bury on about page 13. On the NT News, they’re fodder for the front page, and that’s the way their readers like it. The Punch loves it too. On the 60th birthday of Australia’s most fun paper, here’s our tribute to your fine journalistic skills. Keep up the top work.
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