“To ignorephtojournalism Is to ignorehistory. – Howard Chapnick, president, Black Star PhotoAgencyWhatis photojournalism? Photojournalism isusing images to communicate the news. Since the mid nineteenth century it hasshaped the way millions of people see the world (Stewart 2017). Will photojournalism be the only creditablesource of images of world culture in years to come? (Newton, 2013) Photojournalism is a term created by Frank Luther Mott;he was a Historian and Dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.(Collins 2018)Oneof the main differences between photojournalism and other forms of photographyis that the subject has no say in how the photographs are constructured orused. (Light Stalking, 2012)Inthe early stages of Photojournalism, War Photography and Photojournalism had astrong link.
Photojournalism only developed due to the improvements intechnology. Early Photographs wereprinted using engravings. The IllustratedLondon News was the first publication to make use of the technology available.TheAmerican Civil war was one of the first wars to be captured on camera. A mancalled Mathew Brady received permission from President Licon to travel to thebattle sites to photograph the brutality and horror of war. Due to technologicallimitations Brady could not photograph his subjects in movement. Thesecond half of the nineteenth century saw a shift of focus in photojournalism. Itsmain focus was no longer on War and Disaster Photos.
For example a man named JohnThomson along with journalist AdolpheSmith depicted the life of peopleon the streets of London. From 1876 to 1877, Street Life in Londonrevolutionized the field as images were used instead of words as the dominantmeans of story telling. (Stewart 2017).
Theinvention of the Lecia 35mm Camera revolutionalised Photojournalism. This isknown as the Golden Age of photojournalism. (Stewart 2017). Newinventions along with greater public interest pushed photojournalism to newheights. It occurred between the 1930’s and the 1960’s. There are many famousphotographers during the Golden age such as WalkerEvans, Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks.
Before this a photograph of professional qualityrequired bulky equipment but the invention of the lecia camera meantphotographers could capture photos anywhere at anytime. This meant thatphotographs were no longer staged or posed. The new invention allowed photographersto capture events as they really happened. Photojournalism became more portable thanever. The beginning of the 19th century leadto the invention of Photojournalism magazines. The life Magazine was one of the most famous photojournalismmagazines of its time. Henry Luce founded life magazine. The pictorial lifemagazine was launched on November 23rd 1936 Luce truly believed thephrase “A picture can paint a thousand words”.
(cite this) Thefirst cover of the magazine depicted the Fort Pec Dam in Montanna by Margaret.Bourke.White. The magazine made history as it was as it portrayed politicalproblems and issues through the visual form of photographs. From 1936 to 1972LIFE’s covers portrayed the largest news stories of the 20th century(Rothman and Ronk, 2016).
From World War II to theassassination of President Kennedy. The most remarable trait of LIFE magazineis the fact that it covered the biggest new stories through photography alone. (Rothmanand Ronk, 2016)Life had a smalllife span of thirty-seven years, however it made an extradinaory impact duringthis time. (History as it Happened, 2007). Womenbecame leading figures in the Golden age of Photojournalism. Margaret Bourke-White becamethe first American female war reporter.
(Stewart 2017). As perviosuly mentioned she become the firstphotographer of the first ever LIFE cover. (Rothmanand Ronk, 2016) DorotheaLange is resposible for one of the most renowed photographs that documented TheGreat Depression. It is known as “Migrant Mother”. The photographdicpicts a young “desparate” and “hungry” mother surrounded by her children.
The women look past the camera with worn and worried eyes. Lange photographed over 160,000 thousand images for the ResettlementAdministration but the “Migrant Mother” stands alone as one of the most iconicphotgraphs of it’s time. (Rothmanand Ronk, 2016) ModernphotojournalismIronicallymajor attention to photojournalism only took off in the late 1960’s and 1970’swhen photography was beinging to fade as one of the major modes of mass media.Television began to rise in popularity and photography began to fall. Leadingto the closure of majour photojournalism magazines such as LOOK in 1971 andLIFE in 1972. However as television grew in popularity critics began to dicussthe impact of photojournalism.
Examples include Pierre Bourdieu’s early work onphotography as a Middle-brow Art (1965) to John Berger’s series of books onpictorial communication. This is sometimes refered to as a period of “HighModernism” for photography scholarship. (Brennenand Hardt, 1999) Cartier-Bresson had a huge social impact on photojournalism.
Bresson isfamous for his phrase ” the decisivemoment” This is captured in one of his most famous photographers depicting aman leaping a millisecond bedsore his foot hits the puddle. This photo was onlyachievable due to the invention of the Leica 35 mm camera However photojournalism has changed over time due to technoligical andsocial impacts. In the early stages of Photojournalism the auentivity of aphoto could always be gaureteented. However today with photoshop only a clickaway the authenticity of the photo cannot be gaurenteed. For example the winnerof World Press Photo competition in 2015 prize was revoked when thephotographer sumited wrong captions of his work. The photographer cited wronglocations of his photos.