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August 08, 2006


I thought we were all going a little too fast with all the stuff about staging. But it's easy to get swept up.

So I'll just say "Hmmmm...," which is nice and noncommittal, so if any of this blows up, it had nothing to do with me. I'm just saying, "Hmmmm..." Means nothing at all.

Hmmmm.... More on Passion of the Toys. Is he "salvaging" the toys and putting them into his suitcase, or is he planting the toys, taking them out of the suitcase?

Hmmmm... I don't know. I'm just sayin' "Hmmm...." That's all. This would strike me as juicier, except that I can't figure out any very strong reason to say it must be the one explanation rather than the other. Except... well, it just seems pretty strange to me to go looking around the rubble scattered over a block looking for toys. I mean, okay, you see that absurd Minnie Mouse Slublog first found, lying clean on top of rubble; but what makes you think, "Hey, there's one toy. There may be more scattered about. Let me go get my Lucky Toy-Scavaging Suitcase. It's my understanding they move in packs."

On the other hand, if you're deliberately conniving with a propagandist to photograph planted toys, why photograph him taking the toys out of his propaganda suitcase?

Just nothing here really to push me one way or the other. Except, you know, that Minnie Mouse atop the pile of rubble looks downright absurd.

Thanks to Ralph.

Hmmmm... #2. Adnan Hajj seems forever to be taking the exact same pictures with the exact same fellow photographer, a guy named Issam Kobeisi. A lot of shots you might think were Adnan Hajj aren't, they're this other cat, Kobeisi. Because they keep taking the same pictures-- it gets confusing to remember which guy took which shot.

My Pet Jawa takes a flyer and proposes they're the same guy. I don't know if I buy that; it just seems unlikely. I would buy it easier if Kobeisi sold his pictures to AP, for instance-- then we could guess that Kobiesi is an alias of Hajj, and he's selling pictures to Reuters as Hajj and to the AP as "Kobeisi." Makes sense, right? It's just a petty scam, get paid twice for each picture, once by AP, once by Reuters. Put one over on the Infidels.

But that's not the deal. Kobeisi keeps selling pictures to Reuters, too. Why the hell is Reuters paying two photographers to travel the country in tandem, taking the exact same pictures of the exact same subjects at the exact same time, and then paying for near-identical photos from both?

Maybe photographers buddy-up for safety reasons? But it's one thing to travel together; it's another thing to then stick together while actually on scene, shooting nearly identical photos as each other.

Check it out. These guys are very frequently in each other's presence at the exact same time. Seems like an inefficient deployment of scarce resources, no?

Rusty points out that "Issam Kobeisi" hasn't published a single photo since Hajj was fired.

This is odd, but I suspect it will have a kind of mundane-scam sort of answer, like that it's just a petty bit of embezzlement from Reuters. Like, I don't know, Hajj has a buddy who buys pictures from him for Reuters, but they didn't want to give it away that they were buying way too many pics from one guy, so they invent this other guy and then the buddy buys "Issam Kobeisi's" photographs for Reuters, too. Hajj sells pics twice to Reuters and gives his picture-buying buddy a kickback.

Still: Hmmmm... It does seem strange. But maybe a photographer will come in here and say, "Oh yeah, we always double-up on hazard duty, and our agency is obligated to pay us both for the pics."

But in that case... why isn't Kobeisi taking photos anymore? Can't he find a new photo-buddy?


It's just confusing, is what it is.

Less confusing: ZombieTime sums up the four sorts of shenanigans Reuters and the stringers/Hezbollah-friendly shutterbugs are accused of. Just to keep things straight.

Hat-tip on the last to Riehl World.

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posted by Ace at 11:41 PM

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