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Colleges & Universities Cover

Currently my younger brother is going through the college process and he has a magazine that illustrates the “Plain Pictures of Ordinary People” section of Becker’s “Photojournalism & the Tabloid Press.” In this section of the article, Becker discusses how most pictures in press are of ordinary people in everyday surroundings. Becker also says that sometimes these people are holding objects that seem a bit out of place, though they hint toward the context of an article. Another point, she makes is that these people display intense emotions. These many elements that Becker describes are captured in the cover of this magazine. For instance, the cover image is of two students, ordinary people, outside on a sunny day, an uneventful situation. The girl is clearly posing with a few books in her arms, which feel a bit out of place. Further, both students are grinning from ear to ear, exaggerating the emotion of happiness. This is quite common among tabloid press nowadays & typically theses posed photos do not feel genuine because they aren’t.




It is interesting how Becker defines “ordinary people” in his article, as you mentioned, simply unassuming people placed in ordinary surroundings. Though on the surface this may be “ordinary” I would argue that the highly posed and stylized depiction of college students, who by the way are way too old looking to be in college, makes this photograph out of the ordinary. Is it possible for a photograph to both support and contradict a principle such as Becker’s “ordinary people” at the same time? I guess I’m agreeing with your last thought Scott that these photographs are not genuine and thus in my opinion they do not genuinely depict real people as a news photograph would.


I agree with Casey in her comment about defining ordinary people. It is interesting that college brochures and magazines such as this mean much less when you are applying to colleges, but in my experience, I find them much more interesting now. When I receive the Connections magazine from Nazareth where I did my undergraduate degree, I now recognize those individuals on the cover and realize their significance which prospective students may not see.


I agree with Casey as well. I have noticed a lot of college magazines has individuals on front pages representing their significance in whatever they have accomplished.


The stylized “average” person depicted in a such a fashion reminds me a lot of celebrity tabloids. This photo reminds me of when you flip open the magazine and see how stars are just like us, despite being fully made up, in designer attire and clearly posed pumping their gas. These people are far too polished to be the ordinary college kid, but it creates the illusion you can be like that too.

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Ethan Mellor

Thanks for the info Scott! Had never thought about the meaning of the photos in the magazines.

Gaynell Dekrey

Thanks for sharing. My momma used to say “Everything happens for a reason” :)

Sara Sutcliffe

12/23/2016 Love the site– extremely user-friendly and lots to consider!

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