In response to Satoshi Kanazawa's conspiracy theory about who might have taken Joe Wilson's picture at the moment of his outburst at Obama's congressional speech, I suggested in an earlier post that it might have been taken with a high megapixel camera like the Gigapan Epic. I confessed in that post that I know next to nothing about photography but was mesmerized (as were millions of others) by the exquisite resolution in the composite inaugural photograph that was created with hundreds of high res cameras. See and play with it here. I then invited others who are more tech-savvy than I to offer other possibilities in response to Kanazawa's question. And indeed they did!
Kanazawa did not leave a way for readers to comment on his post directly, so I began receiving lots of comments in response to him as well as to me. Two very interesting things happened. The first was this. I received a comment from the photographer's brother that quickly solved Kanazawa's first question! Here it is:
The Good: Here is Who Took that Photo And How
"My brother, Michael Reynolds, who works for EPA, European Pressphoto Agency was one of two photographers who happen to be at the right place at the right time. Michael Reynolds and another photographer from Getty took those pictures.
My brothers photo is not being used as much as the photo taken by Getty image but both photographers took instantaneous shots. Links here are treated as SPAM so I cannot include the direct link. An image from my brothers perspective can be seen at (this site);
My brother stated he was not aiming at anyone but was adjusting his settings with his camera at his side when he immediately took a shot and was able to catch the incident that lasted less than a second.
Therefore, no tin foil hats necessary. No conspiracy theories in which this was planned. Sorry, it was not staged. No there was no broad swath of constant photos taken only to be cropped down. This was professionals doing what they do best. I hope that clears up some of the questions about how and who took those shot."
Thank you, Michael Reynolds' brother!!
The Bad & Ugly
The second thing I learned (being a neophyte in the blogosphere) is that blogs are a great place to instantly observe the best and worst of human behavior. I got a bundle of rude comments (since I left my post open to discussion) that attacked Kanazawa vicariously through me. Since they couldn't respond to him directly some even started confounding the original conspiracy messenger with me and called me names. Some generalized their pot shots to most PhDs (behind a wall of anonymity, of course). For example:
"Seriously, are most of you either functionally damaged in some way, or did your supposed educations not kick in? That goes for the good doctor who sparked this incredibly, not just ignorant, but entirely disingenuous question. For supposed Phds, you might think that Google might be your first stop to answering a basic question of photography"
I also saw a quickly degrading interchange between commenters who began to attack all Democrats or Republicans with wild, accusations. My little post was now a mudslinging arena. So I deleted the post, rather than host a gladiator spectacle.
The lessons I learned from all this were twofold
1. Whatever the communication medium, we've got to keep the lines of reciprocal communication open if we hope to get to the bottom of things (thanks again Michael Reynolds' brother!)
2. When we keep reciprocal communication channels open, we risk being attacked, so rules of decorum should be honored, supporting statements with evidence is helpful and a thick skin comes in handy. My skin is getting thicker as I write...
Be sure to read the following responses to this post by our bloggers: