Sunday, January 29, 2006

What is photojournalism?

Journalism is the work of gathering, writing, editing and disseminating news stories via mass media.

Photojournalism is journalism that presents news stories primarily through the use of images, photos, pictures.

Photojournalists emphasize recording and communicating current events by documenting occurrences and the world around them. Drama and emotion, suspense and excitement, beauty and ugliness are part of photojournalists' daily agenda as they create images that become part of history.

How is it different? Photojournalism differs from fine-art photography, which concentrates on self-expression through photography. Fine-art photographers explore photography as art. They engage in historic studies, criticism and gallery exhibitions. They seek technical proficiency to further the aesthetic and social concerns of visual communication.

Photojournalists also differ from photographic and imaging technologists who use traditional and digital imaging tools to create highly perfected conventional and non-conventional photographic images.

The photojournalist's work falls someplace between the works of the artist and the technologist. While the artist and technologist take the time necessary to perfect the qualities they seek in their images, the photojournalist often has to forego technical and artistic perfection and shoot quickly as worldly events are brief, ephemeral, episodic, fleeting, impermanent, momentary, passing, short-lived, temporary, transitory and volatile.

The recording of a photo that successfully tells a story about a person, place or event, rather than the technical or artistic merit of the image, is the measure of photojournalism work.

Photojournalism documents life in a universal way that transcends cultural and language bounds.

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