Category Archives: animals

VegNews Magazine Using Stock Photos of Meat Dishes

This story is practically old news by now, and I had no intention of publicly weighing in on the matter, but for some reason, I am very bothered by this situation. So, here it is:

April 13th, 2011 – Blogger QuarryGirl received an email tip from a reader who realized that a photo on the VegNews website of a veggie burger was actually a picture of a real hamburger from istockphoto.com. Both he and QuarryGirl left multiple comments on the VegNews site notifying them of the “mistake,” all of which were immediately deleted. In fact, the reader was told that his “inappropriate and mean-spirited commenting has violated the  policy of VegNews,” and that VegNews moderators would continue to remove his comments. After further investigation, it appeared that this was a fairly common practice on the site, and that images were even doctored to remove any meaty elements, such as the bones in the picture of spare ribs below (courtesy of QuarryGirl):

Before

vegnews realribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues   

After

vegribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues

April 14th, 2011 – VegNews released a statement in which they neither apologized nor promised never to use stock photos again (not even non-vegan stock photos). The statement begins with, “The entire VegNews community is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours.” Uhh…sorry? Wait…what? Are we supposed to be apologizing to them?

It continues with a sort-of sob story about how expensive it is to publish a magazine and trying to compete with mainstream mags and nobody was vegan eleven years ago, oh-my-god-how-sad. Oh, and they won some awards from Oprah and Martha Stewart in the process! And basically, they couldn’t have done all of this without using stock photos. Hey, that’s just “industry standard.”

It’s not like I have a problem with using stock photos, in general, but it seems pretty obvious that a vegan audience isn’t going to be to happy when they find out that they’re actually looking at a picture of chicken breast soup and not seitan stew. I think VegNews knew that, too, or they wouldn’t have kept it secret. Usually, if you feel like you have to hide something, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. Another thing that I’ve been wondering about is whether or not these photos, which are supposed to correspond with a specific recipe in the magazine, even look anything like the actual dish. I mean, when I make meals from my favorite vegan cookbooks and sites, like Vegan Dad, the dish I prepare actually turns out looking something like the picture posted on the site.

Which brings me to another point: there are many vegan food bloggers who take their own mouth-watering pictures to go along with the recipes they’ve created. If they can do it without making any money from what they post, it can’t be that difficult to get a decent point-and-shoot and some white plates and snap a picture of the actual dish. There’s no one on the VegNews staff with even a bit of cooking or photography experience who would be willing to make the dish at home and take a picture of it? Even if no one at VegNews could cook or take pictures of food, which would be really strange since that’s such a major focus of the magazine, I would rather go without a picture than see a picture of a dish made of meat that probably looks nothing like the actual creation. Seriously, you don’t need a picture of every dish. Most cookbooks don’t even have pictures for all of their recipes. Same goes for Vegetarian Times, another popular veg mag.   

Is anyone with me on this? Because I was shocked at how many bloggers and commenters defended VegNews’ actions. I first saw the story on Vegansaurus, but I wasn’t terribly surprised with their wishy-washy response because one of their writers also works for VegNews. Pretty apparent conflict of interests, although they don’t seem to think that it’s clouding their judgement. A lot of people think this is akin to airbrushing images of models and celebrities, but I don’t agree. I feel like most people who like to spend their time looking at  celebrities actually WANT to see them airbrushed and made up and wouldn’t like what they saw if the person wasn’t wearing any make-up. In short, people want to be fooled when they see that celebrity, and they allow it to happen. And anyway, when you look at a doctored picture of Jennifer Lopez, you still recognize her as Jennifer Lopez. As someone who loves to cook, yes, I love to see pictures of beautiful food, but it’s just as important to me that the picture is an accurate portrayal of the dish that I am so excited to make. If you have to sacrifice a little bit of the “beauty” to do that, which I don’t see why you would unless the food is just ugly to begin with and then you shouldn’t photograph it at all, then do it.

As a final note, a lot of people are also saying that this issue is distracting from the important matters; that is, animal cruelty, political issues that affect animal matters, etc. Maybe so, but is that the fault of the vegan public or the perpetrator? People were probably assuming they could hold VegNews to a higher standard and wouldn’t have to police a company with ethics as its main focus. To be sure, they are not the first ethics-touting company to screw up, and they are certainly not the last, but I think we have the right to be disappointed that we can’t even rely on people who supposedly share our values to represent us in the way that we would like to be represented.

More takes on the matter:
QuarryGirl
Vegansaurus
The Discerning Brute
This Dish is Veg

The Best Thing

Thanks to my pal Becca, I was able to watch the most amazing thing ever. And now I will share it with you!!

This tops anything else you could ever teach a parrot. So just don’t.

scott

FILMS 09012010

hey suave dudes! happy september.


so suave ^^

here are some FILMS i’m looking forward to.

MICMACS

this inventive, beautifully shot trailer makes me so excited to see the film. i love how dark and theatrical it looks. from jean-pierre jeunet, the guy responsible for amelie and delicatessen (not to mention alien, resurrection), comes this very interesting story about a man with a bullet in his brain.

WINTER’S BONE

a young woman is forced to find her missing father, a meth cook, who has posted the family’s property for his bail. this trailer doesn’t look that intriguing, but the film has received fabulous reviews, including two prizes at sundance (grand jury as well as screenwriting), and four stars from ebert.

127 HOURS

ok dudes, i’m going to be honest here. i love james franco. a lot. i also have a very tough time taking him seriously (meaning: i can’t). i could NOT STOP LAUGHING while watching this trailer, although i find aron ralston’s story very compelling. that being said, i do like danny boyle, and i do want to see this film. but i hope james franco doesn’t smile through the whole thing, because if he is, i will be too.

I AM LOVE

this film follows a russian woman (tilda swinton) who marries into an aristocratic italian family. it seems to be a story of love, sex, and deception, and the trailer has some heavy symbolism (the bird unable to escape near the end of the trailer). apparently, swinton learned to speak italian with a russian accent, although i am a BIT concerned that they only included one line of monologue from her. however, like winter’s bone, this movie has gotten great reviews, so i’m definitely looking forward to seeing it.

stay tuned for FILMS PT 2 tomorrow!

as always, LOVE LOVE LOVE

nataliebeth

news with natalie 08302010

time for an update! here are the most important things of the day (if you happen to be looking at the world through a kaleidoscope, like i am).

ONE: corgis on a treadmill? why??? check out this adorable video. i know there are really only two corgis…but are there really only two corgis?! YOU decide!

TWO: iowa contributes to national news? this is definitely newsworthy. iowa state used their carillon to play lady gaga’s BAD ROMANCE. the video is over five minutes long (which may be longer than the actual song), so don’t waste your time watching it. just revel in the fact that iowa is once again leaving its mark on this amazing nation.

THREE: angry man tries to pay his property tax with 33,000 pennies. i love this story so much, but that’s really all there is to it. he went to the treasurers office and tried to pay his $330 property tax, in pennies, but was DENIED. justice? where is the JUSTICE? if you want to read more about this amazing story, check it out here on gawker.

FOUR: oh my godddd, can you even handle this photograph? i love this so much, mostly because of this quote: ‘once the shock wears off, i’m sure she’ll say yes.’ yeah? are you sure? who is this guy anyway? it doesn’t matter. anyway, in reference to this photo, i say mostly because let’s not forget his amazing pants, tan, or tattoos. his dead stare makes me wish he was asking me. but i digress.

FIVE: this faaaantastic gem of a german man, thilo sarrazin finally broke the silence about jews, and said that ‘all jews share a certain gene.’ yeah? cool! maybe we should put them somewhere where they can all be together, comfortably. maybe…in a…camp! sorry thilo, someone already thought of that. read more on that here.

well, that’s that! see you next week for news with natalie!

love always,
nataliebeth

news with natalie

here is a new feature I am working on AT THE MOMENT. it is called news with natalie and it is the news.

here is today’s RUNDOWN.

swine flu is over! if you didn’t get a vaccine, finally you can go outside! no one overreacted about this pandemic AT ALL. be careful!

WAIT. a dramatic video containing a car crash on a RACETRACK? this does sound dramatic! click through to see the drama! see it?

one last thing–if you haven’t seen EAT PRAY LOVE, don’t! you MIGHT want to check this out, though:
EAT PREY LOVE
it does look like an absolute delight.

i love you.

nataliebeth

Laconic Oration – February

Laconic Oration is a blog full of interesting/inspiring images. It’s a baby created by Natalie and me.

Every month, I take a handful of my favorite images from the month and post them here. For example: January, December, November, October, and September.

Enjoy!









scott

Laconic Oration – January

Natalie and I maintain an image-blog over at laconicoration.tumblr.com.

Here is a very small taste of what was posted there in January:




















i’ve also posted samples from December, November, October, and September. However… you could always just stop over to the site itself

scott