Too many minorities?

Last summer when I was interning in St. Cloud I was introduced to the concept of mainstreaming, which, as explained to me in a nutshell, was putting minorities in photos when possible, or better reflecting the diversity of the community. Some of the photographers took exception to this policy, not because they don’t want to photograph minorities, but because they search for moments, rather than waiting on a particular person for a moment that may never come just because of the color of their skin. I can understand this, I don’t really think I look at what a person’s ethnic background is when I am taking pictures, just what they are doing, what the composition looks like around them, etc.

Recently at the Register, it appears someone has felt that we have had the opposite problem. Apparently there have been too many minorities featured in some of our prom galleries. Too many? I would argue that minorities are not featured as much as they should be in our paper. I can only think of a couple Black History Month stories in February (I’ll have to check and see just how many there were, I imagine there were more). As such, I don’t think that a few minorities in a photo gallery is really going to hurt anyone.

The galleries in question I believe are the Scavo Prom and the Hoover Prom. In the Scavo gallery, there are 23 images. Ten of those images have a minority in them. However, four of them feature either the king and/or the queen, who were both minorities. Not photographing them and including them in galleries would be like not including multiples of David Beckham because this is America damn it, and he is English! Hoover, as far as I can tell from all of those school information sites, is 60% white. In the 17 image gallery, there are ten images with a minority in them, and four of the ten feature both white and non-white. I should also mention that the slogan on Hoover’s web site is “Many Nations One School.” Ironic? Hoover is also featured in a window advertisement for the Register in the skywalk about coverage of diversity (I am pretty sure it’s Hoover, but it could be North… I don’t go in the office much).

Did the photographer go too far in misrepresenting the demographics of the school? How often do galleries actually represent the demographics of their subjects, be it school or city to a T anyways? Do I have to worry more about who I am photographing and not what I am photographing?

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