Fox in Focus:

Passing the 'breakfast test'

Lloyd Fox
The Baltimore Sun

When I walked into the Operative Experience lab in North East, my first thought was: this is visually amazing. It was a photographer’s dream.

My second thought: will this pass the “breakfast test?”

The “breakfast test” has been a journalistic phrase used to decide if something is too graphic to be published on the front page of a newspaper. The idea is to think how a reader would respond to an image while eating breakfast the following morning.

The Operative Experience designs and builds anatomically accurate, high-tech simulation dummies that breath and bleed on cue. They are used to train medical and defense personnel on how to keep victims alive in a variety of situations.

Advice: Shoot first and figure out the usability later. It is wise to keep the “breakfast test” in the back of your mind, but don’t let it dictate your entire shoot. Let editors make the final decision on which ones can run.

The story that accompanied these photos was about the “Stop the Bleed” campaign. The movement’s goal is to train citizens on how to help others during an emergency situation. This includes training on how to apply pressure, pack wounds and use a tourniquet.

The verdict on the images? I was told all of them passed the “breakfast test.”

Fox in Focus posts will typically appear weekly in The Sun’s Darkroom blog. You can follow Lloyd on Instagram at @lloyd1fox and Twitter at @lloyd1fox. Sign up for our weekly Darkroom newsletter at baltimoresun.com/newsletters.

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