Journalism - Specialized Styles of Photography
travel, underwater and other fields of photography are focused on the image. Photojournalism
is a different ball game altogether.
It is visual storytelling. It has a strong
social and cultural context and is a visual form of reportage based on news and
current affairs topics.
in the right place at the right time and understanding the situation as it unfolds
helps a photojournalist deliver material that will interest readers and get their
objective is to pick up contemporary topics and portray a visual story. Photojournalists,
like journalists who report using the written word, attempt to create an understanding
of the patterns or context in which people live their lives.
images strive to portray social changes that impact individuals in different walks
of life. Very often, the pictures do not stand alone.
the best can walk the viewer through a story without having to use words, photojournalism
also lends credibility and depth to the written word and can support a public
interest story with visual proof. The visuals complement and complete the written
reportage on the story.
equipment required by photojournalists varies by the type of story they pursue.
If a photojournalist is picking up images of a town, if the photography is the
type that portrays cultural and historical sites, or if the task is to follow
the campaign trail of a political leader...each of these require a different treatment.
Working by yourself
on a city street or rural area normally calls for lightweight cameras that are
easy to handle and don't draw attention to the fact that you are taking pictures.
Other assignments may bring you to areas where lens for close work, distance shots
and wide angle coverage are necessary. No matter what, be sure that you have plenty
of backup film or memory cards and batteries so you don't run out just as the
perfect shot happens right in front of you!
photographers today are familiar with several graphics programs. Like the darkrooms
of the last century (that may sound ancient, but it wasn't that long ago) computer
based graphics programs are used to clean up pictures before they are printed.
ethics of manipulation
visual representation of contemporary situations is a powerful way to make a point.
The photographer who specializes in photojournalism has to be keenly aware of
the socio-political and cultural scene of a region to be able to shoot the relevant
pictures. Pictures that capture and dramatically present the events or culture
to others outside the region. This raises a tough ethical dilemma.
photographers who shoot with digital cameras use graphics programs to clean up
their work. Like darkroom work in the pre-digital days, the picture may be cropped
to strengthen the focus, lightened or darkened (burned or dodged) to highlight
certain areas, distracting background elements may be "airbrushed" or
removed. All of these techniques change the original picture, but few would question
the motives of the photographer.
problem comes when the line blurs between graphic illustration and an original
photo. How much manipulation is allowed before the photo no longer represents
exactly the situation that produced it. How much alteration to make
the picture better can take place before it becomes an artist's rendering rather
than a photo?