On 08. September 2015 the yellow press „BILD“ published their print and online daily edition without pictures.
For a yellow press paper with big headings and visualizing images as key elements an edition without pictures is a great statement. Trigger for not printing images were the media discussions on the rousing picture “BILD” published of the drowned three-year-old refugee. Whereas “BILD” was criticized for being disgraceful, “BILD” argued that the picture would document the world as it is, and that the world would not be pixelated.
The effect was enormous: Different papers and readers commented on social media with the hashtag #BILDohneBilder about the image free edition. Though it is a difficult task to show reality and respect human dignity on the same time. However, it has a great effect on readers, when the news is not accompanied with a picture. It looks empty and meaningless. It appears that the significance of pictures is first wholly appreciated when missing. The picture-less edition of “BILD” enhances the power of pictures impressively.
On the other hand side, there was also critique on the image-less edition: Especially for the branch of photographers the “BILD” edition would appear as cynical. The association of photographers “Freelens” confronted the Axel-Springer Verlag with their current habit to only offer photographers so-called “buy-out contracts” giving the publishing house all copyrights for the picture to be repeatedly published with one single fee. The picture market seems to be saturated and photographers have difficulties making a living by the royalties of their printed pictures. Even more concerning is the carelessness of society in taking the right for granted to post every picture found in the Internet.
As important as visualizing the messages of articles or posts, as obvious should copyrights and image licenses be handled. For more information on image rights you are heartily welcome to read our blogpost „Illustrate your Blog – but don´t forget the Image Rights!“
What do you think of “BILD” showing the ”power of images” by not printing them? We are curious to hear your opinion!