What is Photojournalism?Journalism in which a news story is presented primarily through photographs with supplementary written copy. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language) Generally “photojournalism” refers to still photography, although it can refer to video used in broadcast journalism.
Elements of Photojournalism• Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of recent events• Objectivity — the images are a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict, in both content and tone• Narrative — the images make facts relatable to the viewer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photojournalism
How old is photojournalism?• Started in 1880s• First prominent photojournalist was Jacob Riis (1849-1914), who published How the Other Half Lives, about the slums of New York• “Golden Age”: 1960s-1970s Bohemian cigarette workers in their tenement. (J. Riis)
Famous Photojournalists• Robert Capa (1913-1954)
Controversies• Because photos seem more “real” than writing, there is a greater responsibility to “get it right”• What is (or is not) photographed, how it is shot and edited, what captions say—all these can change the impact and meaning of the photo• Is staging and/or editing allowed, and to what extent?• There are “mild” and “wild” examples of controversial photojournalistic practices…
Mild: Ambiguous ScaleHow high are these constructionworkers? Are they in dangerfrom falling?Without knowing more aboutthe physical surroundings, theemotional impact is lost.
Mild: StagingVladimir Putin waswell-known forstaging photo opsthat made him lookcourageous, adventurous, andapproachable.Photojournalistsshould decideobjectively whatphotos aretaken, not thesubject.
Mild to Wild: Cropping & CompositionWhat you show—and do not show—can entirely change the meaning.
Mild to Wild: Cropping &CompositionWhat you show—and do notshow—can entirely changethe meaning.http://zombietime.com/sf_rally_september_24_2005/anatomy_of_a_photograph/
Wild: Photo manipulation is not only controversialunethical in photojournalism, but also it isunethical. Time magazine’s darkening of accusedmurderer O.J. Simpson’s skin is a famous exampleof this.
Mild or Wild? At what point does photojournalism become voyeurism? What responsibilities do news media have in unfamiliar environments? What does the audience need to see? Images are from http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/04/is-this-photo- ethical/Wild: Photojournalists can becomevultures rather than respectfulnon-participants.What means are justifiable to “getthe shot”?
National GeographicBhutan: Trekking Bhutans Higher Planeshttp://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/photography/bhutan/peter-mcbride-1.htmlA Day With Russias Last Reindeer Nomadshttp://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/photography/europe/russia/gordon-wiltsie.html
How can I be a photographer for National Geographic?National Geographic photographers have college degrees ina variety of disciplines. Most did not major in photography,but all took photo courses. The most common majors havebeen journalism, anthropology, sociology or psychology, finearts, and sciences. Our editors and photographers agree thatit is important to complete a degree in a discipline otherthan photography. Freelancers usually come to us with atleast five years of photojournalism experience or withspecializations such as wildlife, underwater, nature, or aerialphotography. We seek balance and an eclectic blend ofinterests, abilities, and photographic styles in the freelancerswe hire.
Tips Choose a subject you are passionate about—much photojournalism can bleed into documentary photography, which is often ideologically based.
Tips Be discreet. You need to seamlessly and effortlessly blend into your new environment in order to capture it at its most natural. Being a distraction— or worse, a pest—will affect your subjects.
Tips Cover a variety of angles, such as these examples from a piece on the importance of meat in Central Asia. Don’t get stuck taking multiple photos of the same subjects over and over.
Tips Use techniques like juxtaposition to create an emotional impact.
Tips Tell a story. Consider plot, characters, mood, setti ng…all the things that help someone understand the message you’re implying.