I am not a professional photographer.
I am not a designer of any stripe.
I don’t know nothin’ ’bout magazine layouts or art direction or any of that fancy stuff. I just know what I like. And what I don’t like.
And I don’t like the new Conference Report issue of the Ensign.
It’s all in color. When I opened it the first page I saw was the centerfold–, I mean, the portrait page where all the General Authorities are. I showed it to my wife: “Lynne, check this out; the Brethren are in color now.” Then, as I started flipping through the other pages, I noticed that ALL the photos were in color. All of them. “No, no, no,” I said. “This isn’t right.”
Something I’ve always looked forward to with the conference issues–besides the talks of course–are the photos inside. While I’m not a professional photographer, I do fancy myself something of a hobbiest. I think I know a good shot when I see one. I know a little something about framing. I know that black & white (or sepia) is about texture, tone and mood; color is about…well, color and light. (See? Not a professional.) And I am a big fan of all those sepia toned photos–most of which, admittedly, are more journalistic than they are artistic–that cast a somber spell over the proceedings within the magazine. Not melancholic at all, but stark sometimes and…solitary, without a sense of loneliness. There was art in some of those photos; some kind of meaning beyond the content. Sometimes it was more than just a person sitting in a contemplative attitude, it was a person in the lower left corner of the mise-en-scene with her chin in there hand and a wide expanse of light and shadow before her. These photos helped me connect to the talks–to the messages contained in them.
In this latest conference report all I could find were nice little color photos of the nice people who came to conference to enjoy the talks and the nice scenery. None of it required much consideration beyond acknowledgement of what was captured within the frame. Reportage.
Maybe I’m just being a snobbish amateur, but I liked the art.