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Old 02-16-2005, 05:56 PM   #1
marlene
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Default Flippin' mug shots

No, it's not a euphemism, I'm really talking about flipping mug shots.

One of my clients frequently asks me to flip them horizontally (in a newsletter that contains several mug shots of the writers and contributors) because she doesn't like people to be facing the edge of the page. She wants them to be looking toward the binding, says that's the correct way to orient mug shots, and they should be flipped if necessary.

I have been refusing to do the flippin', though, because it just plain seems wrong. Faces are not symmetrical, and hair would be parted on the wrong side, birthmarks would be relocated, chipped teeth would be moved, etc.

Although I've always won these battles thus far, I'd like to have backup! I have never heard of anyone flipping faces because they're gazing off-page.Has anyone?

mxh
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
I have been refusing to do the flippin', though, because it just plain seems wrong.
Good for you!

First, the proper term is "flop" the photo--one flips flapjacks. <G>

Second, she is right that generally, photos shouldn't lead the readers eye off the page.

Third, there is a famous (well, as famous as these things get) libel case, where a newspaper flopped a photo of a baseball pitcher and he sued and won. The flopped photo made him appear to be a right-handed pitcher instead of a left-handed one, and right-handed pitchers (at least, at the time) were considered less-valuable--thus his earning potential was diminished by the photo

Generally, reputable news organizations have strict policies against altering photos in any way--including flopping.

   
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:19 PM   #3
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I read someplace that many portrait photographers used to flop the negatives before proofing them. The customer was used to seeing his/her face in the mirror, so the photo looked more normal if flopped.
Makes sense.

   
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:44 PM   #4
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Although I've always won these battles thus far, I'd like to have backup! I have never heard of anyone flipping faces because they're gazing off-page.Has anyone?
Nope, me neither. Just say, "NO!" There's the same convention about car shots - they're not supposed to be driving off the page. But flopping is cheating - bad, bad, bad. You can't get away with it with race cars anyway because they have visible writing on them. ;-)

   
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:48 PM   #5
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Interesting ... did the photographer then print the final portrait correctly? Because the subject is the only person who would be used to seeing his/her image that way. Everyone else sees what the camera sees, so unless the subject is the only one who's ever going to see and enjoy the portrait it would seem kind of silly to print it flopped.

   
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franca
Nope, me neither. Just say, "NO!" There's the same convention about car shots - they're not supposed to be driving off the page. But flopping is cheating - bad, bad, bad. You can't get away with it with race cars anyway because they have visible writing on them. ;-)
I have a feeling that we get flopped photos of production cars from Europe, Japan and North America to put the driver on the right. <g>

   
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Old 02-16-2005, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
First, the proper term is "flop" the photo--one flips flapjacks.
Right -- now that I think about it, when I worked at newspapers it was called flopping. I had been using the Quark and Photoshop term.

So I am doing the Right Thing? Refusing to flop, though it causes a flap when the editor flips?

mxh
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Old 02-16-2005, 09:05 PM   #8
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There's the same convention about car shots - they're not supposed to be driving off the page.
Reminds me of when the Yew S. Post Office changed its logo a zillion years ago. Someone had noticed that the pony (in the old pony-express logo) on the employees' sleeves was running in the wrong direction.

Or am I imagining all this?

mxh
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Old 02-17-2005, 04:36 AM   #9
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>>says that's the correct way to orient mug shots<<

Ho ho - first time I have heard that one.

I think the points you make a very valid i.e. Faces are not symmetrical, and hair would be parted on the wrong side, birthmarks would be relocated, chipped teeth would be moved, etc.

Have you pointed this out to your client? Has she considered how the people affected would feel?
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Old 02-17-2005, 07:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
So I am doing the Right Thing? Refusing to flop, though it causes a flap when the editor flips?
Absolutely!

Everything that Don said, and perhaps even more emphatically. It is unethical to flop a photo.

Yes, it is nice to have people looking into the publication — or directly out at the reader, better yet — rather than out of it, but you cannot redraw them to suit the layout. Get another picture or leave that person out if that concern trumps all the others.

When I get a chance I’ll rummage through a few books — see if I can get you a good citation. But you are on firm ground.

   
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