I was watching a taped program, Egg, on PBS today. The episode featured a photographer, Joseph Rodriguez, who described himself as documentary photographer. The segment focused on his work with former gang members who were trying to reform their lives. It also covered his work with young adults in youth correctional facilities in California. Come to think of it, there was a featured essay by him in the May issue of Sun Magazine. Getting to the point... The program featured his style of photographing, which consisted--at least in part--of actively engaging his subjects to get just the right shot. There was nothing subtle about it. 'Turn your head a little to the left, now down... that's great.' 'Now stick your finger out so the baby can grab hold of it... wonderful.' This all struck me as very odd since he described himself as a documentary photographer. It begs the question: What's allowed in a photographic discipline that claims some greater adherence to reality & objectivity than other forms of photography with no such claim (e.g., corporate advertising). I understand that photojournalists who want to be taken seriously within their profession must at least put up the appearance of being 'objective.' Therefore, it's assumed a photographer won't stage manage a shot. I recall an incident a fews years ago where a photographer won a top prize for a photo he took of a firefighter dipping his helmet into a pool with Malibu in flames in the background. It later came to light that he had, directly or indirectly, suggested his subject do something he might not have done otherwise. In other words, he intervened in the shot. The photog had his reward rescinded as a result. My question is: Are so-called documentary photographers held to a different standard than their phojo colleagues? To what degree is a documentary photographer a photojournalist? What's the difference, anyway? Where do people like Joseph Rodriguez fit in? How common is his technique? Is it still regarded as legitimate documentary work? Legitimate photojournalism? When, if ever, is intervention acceptable? I confess that after having seen the program, I can't look at Rodriguez's work the same way. I don't trust what I'm seeing. I underwent similar disillusionment when I learned that a favorite photograph by Bruce Davidson was staged (small girl levitating in front of cemetery). I'm genuinely curious what others think about this. And I don't meant to provoke another tired discussion about objectivity in photography. (Yes, everyone knows no one can be _truly_ objective...) Rather, there is a difference between discriminating between moments and stepping into the moment to arrange a shot. What do you think.