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Picture This!
The Inside Story and Classic Photos of UPI Newspictures

by Gary Haynes

      In a digital world, we’ve come to take photos for granted, whether we’re taking them or looking at them. Reading the brief history and looking at the undoctored photos, many only achievable by great bodily risk, is a whole new perspective.

Picture This! Features over 200 photos by UP (United Press, and later United Press International) photographers. To fully appreciate the photos, you have to realize that some of these award-winning shots were taken while standing shoulder to shoulder with cameramen from other companies. In a non-digital world, there is no do-over, and these shots show it. You only get one shot of the Hindenburg exploding, John-John Kennedy saluting his slain president father, or Patricia Nixon winking at Vice President Spiro Agnew. Some of the photos have been seen before because of their spectacular newsworthiness, but the new captions give a better understanding of just what made them so impressive.

Gary Haynes gives a concise, yet descriptive history of UP (United Press), its evolution to UPI and finally, its demise. Packed into twenty pages of narrative is a fascinating glimpse of newspapers at the turn of the 20th century, and the correlating rise and decline of the UP wire service. Through Haynes’ eyes we see the nitty-gritty of newsgathering and the fierce competition to beat the other guy and get the picture first - in this case, AP (Associated Press). There were few players in the game, but AP was one of the major players, and UP, for all its lack of staff and mismanagement was another.

UPI (United Press International) photographers seemed to know how to get the shot when there seemed to be nothing to get! After the Frank Sinatra-Mia Farrow wedding, the couple stood outside for a photo shoot. While AP photographers and others were busy shooting the couple, a UPI photographer (Gary Haynes) got the shot that attracted attention - a telephoto close-up of Mia Farrow wearing her nine-carat engagement ring. UP was a maverick, and the people who worked for the company knew how to run outside the box. You can almost hear Frank Sinatra singing My Way.

The Book

Bullfinch Press
September, 2006
Nonfiction/ Photojournalism
More at
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The Reviewer

Tara Manderino
Reviewed 2006
NOTE: Tara Manderino is the author of Soul Guardian, Whisper My Name, and The Heir.
© 2006