Behind the Scenes Photos of Media Circuses

photo of newsmaker on top of motel roof
Casey Anthony Trial
Orlando, Florida, 2011

Editorializing by the press is often a subject that is much debated in public forums. The reality in media today is it is driven by much less righteous intentions than delivering well-balanced coverage of current events. In search of the truth is more aptly to be in search of more money these days, where news organizations pander to the public’s insatiable appetite for gossip and sensationalism. Christopher Dawson, a New York City based photographer decided to turn the cameras around, and focus, so to speak on the news gatherers themselves.

outside courtroom during britney spears trial
Britney Spears Trial
Los Angeles, California, 2008

This project he initiated in 2000 hopes to capture the media’s growing fixation with tabloid journalism. While major events are unfolding elsewhere in the world with potentially profound effects on an oblivious and uninformed general public, news gatherers instead lavish time and resources on inane subjects like a Kardashian’s outfit, Mr. Bieber’s latest rant, or some other celebrity’s latest display of vulgarity. All in the name of wider circulation, more advertising dollars, or higher viewership levels.

person dressed in chicken costume in front of courtroom
OJ Simpson Trial
Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007

This ongoing project is dubbed Coverage, and shows the reality of how some powerful news organizations have prostituted themselves to the public’s voracious desire to soak up the absurdity of the rich, famous, or notorious. It is also a graphic presentation of how valuable news assets are disturbingly wasted on a daily basis. Apparently some of our journalist friends have strayed quite a ways from their original mandate.

outside courtroom lindsay lohan trial california
Lindsay Lohan Trial
Beverly Hills, California, 2010

Dawson writes,

“I’m interested in the bizarre transformation that this massive enterprise brings to the landscape, and the means by which information is being produced and distributed at this important juncture in our history.

Each picture in the Coverage series is titled after the famous subject, though he or she is absent from the frame. In aggregate, the titles could function as a survey of who commands attention in early 21st Century America, while the images look at the assembly-points of public fascination.”

outside courtroom during michael jackson trial california
Michael Jackson Trial
Santa Maria, California, 2005

Dawson’s device of choice is a 4×5-inch view camera, which he points on scenes where individual people are “thrust into the forefront of the nation’s attention”.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.