In a sensational U-turn, a major banking chain has EXCLUSIVELY revealed to Southend News Network that they will not be proceeding with a planned bank branch closure in Thorpe Bay. A senior source has mentioned that this was due to the bank being ‘incredibly moved’ by a photo that appeared in a local newspaper of a man looking ‘very sorry for himself’ outside the branch in question.

The image appeared in local press and online, and it shows a concerned customer who will clearly be greatly affected by the closure of his local branch. This is just the latest in a long line of unfortunate situations that have been resolved with the publication of a sympathy-attracting image that involves someone who will clearly be a victim of the headline’s main content. Since the start of 2015, attention-seeking and needlessly dramatic featured images have contributed to the solving of 12 murder cases, the reversal of 15 bank closures, 24 disappearing pets being found, and 87 driver prosecutions for speeding excessively past schools.

According to a local expert in photographic image sympathy perception, the key to using a photo in this manner is all about the angle. Dr Martin Aperture, head of the School of Photographic Image Sympathy Perception at the University of Barling Magna, said, ‘It is a proven scientific fact that the higher the angle that is used, the more people will see the image and think ‘Oh blimey – something needs to be done, and quick!’ For example, if a Post Office is closing down, three skillfully placed local people in a photo in front of the Post Office will make people realise that the vital community facility will need to be saved. This technique works well when photographing the elderly as well, and many press photographers carry a step ladder around with them to make sure that the subject of the photo looks really, really, really small.’

We asked Dr Aperture about politicians using a similar tactic. He said, ‘Local councillors often make it their life’s work to be photographed in front of as many trivial landmarks as possible, and this gives the impression that they are actually doing something constructive with their lives. Having said this, most of the time it is just done with Photoshop anyway – no public servant could possibly have that much free time on their hands.’