Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photojournalism -- Art or News?

Interesting article here about whether Photojournalism is Art (with a capital "A") or not.

I thought about photojournalists a lot while writing Heads, which has one as a character. I researched them, read some of their books, and saw a bunch of them in person at the World Photo Tour, which comes to the Annenberg School of Communication here at USC annually.

They do take thousands and thousands of pictures. But then they pick a few to send in to editors. And then (hopefully), the editor's will choose one or two, from all the photojournalists who are sending stuff, to publish in their newspapers and magazines.

And you can't discount the photo spread and photo book, either. That's part of a photojournalist's work. Newspapers may be all about the single shot, but a number of magazines will print a series of photos that tell a story. When you look at a photo book, you can really see the artistry involved. Photojournalists are storytellers. Journalists are storytellers. They are framing the truth for us as accurately as they can. The worst of them are junk dealers. The best of them? I think they're artists.

Book recommendation of the day: Requiem, edited by Tim Page. It's a beautifully put together photo book that charts the progress of the Vietnam War through the earliest days until the bitter end. All photos were taken by photojournalists either killed or MIA during the war, and the book tells the story of their lives and dedication along with telling the story of the war. Seems like art to me.

PS: I do appreciate the attitude of the photojournalist in the article. Or "wire guy," as he calls himself. He seems very down to earth.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Certainly if you've ever perused an old copy of National Geographic, you can appreciate a photo-journalist as artist.