In a brilliant move to highlight the importance of photography, the French newspaper Libération published its Nov. 14 issue without photographs. The layout is unsettling in a necessary way. The issue is formatted as if it had images, but there are only empty frames. The move emphasizes how integral photography is in telling the news. Some of the best journalism has the perfect marriage of text and images, and a newspaper without photographs is a newspaper not worth reading.
Interestingly, the end of the issue has a flat plan that shows only the images as they would have appeared, but this time, there is no text. While some of the images may be striking, they inevitably fall flat without proper context. Photography isn’t dead, and this should serve a boon to news photographers everywhere. And photographers in general, really. It would be interesting to see the New York Times try that. The Chicago Sun-Times took a step towards that already as Stephen Colbert articulated in the best possible way.