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  1. #1
    Senior Member LightBright's Avatar
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    Question Photojournalism dead?

    Im a aspiring photojournalist. But I cant help but get a sour stomach when I read articles stating photojournalism as a thing of the past. Most of these online articles say that the media is using more video screen shots rather than actual photographs.
    And others say photojournalist's are going to be a dieing bread because of regular people with mobile cell phones cam's or beginners with dslr's :cryin:
    Example: the situation in Iran where there is a media blackout, but were still seeing video's and pic's

    What are your thoughts on this issue? Personally I know it will still be considered a valuable profession, cause to some its art. I just have my doubts thats all.
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  2. #2
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Crisis in the press

    The golden age of photojournalism was back in the 50's when the professional photojournalists and the printed press had a monopoly of the medium. Since then the printed press in general has lost its dominance with the arrival of new technologies:

    - Television to start with
    - Now Internet and readily accessible technology like mobile phones

    You just have to adapt to the situation. If your outlet is likely to be an Internet web site then you don't need images with high definition and the ability to do video would be a definite plus. You can't beat the guy with the cell phone who happened to be in the right place at the right time but you can tell a better story than him
    Charles

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  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    Charles is absolutely right. If you're looking at doing this professionally then it's a business decision. Obviously you're passionate about it since there are a lot easier ways to make a living... If they're using stills from video, then learn video.

    We've all seen stories about newspapers and magazines going out of business and there are plenty of un- and underemployed photographers out there these days. Will the average guy walking down the street with his cell phone replace a real photographer? In some ways no, in some ways, yes. The old advice of how to shoot good pictures of "F8 and be there" applies here; if the newspaper or magazine only has one or two (or no) staff photographers then they can't be everywhere at once. A borderline usable shot is better than no shot.

    It'll be interesting to see what "normal" is ten years from now with this. However, there's no reason you couldn't do this as well as "classic" PJ work as a side line for personal projects.

  4. #4
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    The A word

    Quote Originally Posted by LightBright
    ....Personally I know it will still be considered a valuable profession, cause to some its art.
    What do you mean by "it's art"?

    Go round an Art meeting (example Paris-Photo) and there are no pure photojournalism photos. There are photos by photojournalists but they go beyond photojournalism into something else. Eugene Smith is the prime example but then he was Eugene Smith.

    You can do a good job in reporting what happened and be recognised by your pairs but to me that's being a good artisan, not an artist

    BTW - two things we haven't mentioned that are to be deplored:
    1. The use of stock photos to "illustrate" an article and relieve the boredom of a page full of text.
    2. The tendency to shoot a news picture with people's backs turned so they aren't recognisable and can't sue the newspaper for invasion of privacy.
    Charles

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  5. #5
    Senior Member LightBright's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    "You just have to adapt to the situation. If your outlet is likely to be an Internet web site then you don't need images with high definition and the ability to do video would be a definite plus. You can't beat the guy with the cell phone who happened to be in the right place at the right time but you can tell a better story than him"

    "Charles is absolutely right. If you're looking at doing this professionally then it's a business decision. Obviously you're passionate about it since there are a lot easier ways to make a living... If they're using stills from video, then learn video."

    Ive seen many companies collapse because there slow transition to newer technologies. Definitely do not want that to happen to PJ, better get a video camera and work my butt off



    "You can do a good job in reporting what happened and be recognized by your pairs but to me that's being a good artisan, not an artist"


    Well when I say art, to me it means creativity. I strongly believe any medium weather its writing or photo journalism can be considered art solely based on the fact that there are so many variables/choices to be maid, and like you said "a photographer can tell a better story".


    I agree with you in someways, it is a way of just documenting. But if you take 5 or 8
    pro-photographers in the same exact location and time, everyone will have different photographs and ultimately, different stories.
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  6. #6
    banished Don Schaeffer's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    Become a video cameraman instead. The film-maker has replaced the still photographer.

  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Report from the field

    I was at Paris Gay Pride yesterday.
    - I didn't see any pro photographers (I was the only person using fill-in flash on a sunny day).
    - I did see a number of pro video teams

    OK I didn't see any newsworthy political figures either, they may all have got their pictures and gone, but it's unusual, just the same.
    Charles

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  8. #8
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: Report from the field

    Interesting. I was at NY Gay Pride today, and here in NYC, the still photographers still vastly outnumbered videographers.

    All points in this discussion have been very interesting!

    Megan

  9. #9
    Senior Member LightBright's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    "OK I didn't see any newsworthy political figures either, they may all have got their pictures and gone, but it's unusual, just the same."

    That is unusual, all the events ive been to always had photographers even after its finished.

    "Interesting. I was at NY Gay Pride today, and here in NYC, the still photographers still vastly outnumbered videographers. "


    Now thats what I like to here lol!
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  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Report from the field

    Quote Originally Posted by megan
    Interesting. I was at NY Gay Pride today, and here in NYC, the still photographers still vastly outnumbered videographers.

    All points in this discussion have been very interesting!

    Megan
    Still photographers I agree vastly outnumbered people shooting video. I was talking about professional still photographers.

    Something that's been bothering me from the start - how do you define a Photojournalist? My guess is that it's someone whose output is intended for publication short or long term. He has a press card and a duty to inform the public.

    Looking at my photos I find I included in my count of professionals doing videos I included someone who was doing a video for a political organisation. Now that's not photojournalism..
    Charles

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  11. #11
    GB1
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    I sort of agree, but not completely. I think the number of photo journalists will shrink for the reasons you described, but the position will not "die", not by a longshot. It's a bit like them saying when the word processor programs came out that we would all be writers now, since it's so easy to write a book. Well, the number of submissions has probably increased but I doubt there's more books being published.. more bad submissions, undoubtedly. I think that applies to what you see in Iran - crappy but usable photos, from a place where we would otherwise see nothing since they're restricting the media. Sadly, I think it will reduce the price publishers will pay for photo journalism, just because of all the available garbage that is flooding the market, which will probably force a lot of companies out of the business.
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  12. #12
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    there will always be a market for a well composed well exposed high resolution shot of news pieces. It just happens that that economies of scale and the improvement in digital video and web mean that it is cheaper to pay one video journalist than a photographer and a camera crew. Especially when you consider what is capable from camera such as RED or the video you can get from a high end DSLR like the EOS 5. I started out in photography and naturally fell into video. In my opinion there aren't enough videographers who truly understand the craft of photography or how to read light. If you choose to stick with stills, you just need to be better than average joe with a cameraphone. If you choose video you simply give yourself more options for the package and sale of the news you create.
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


  13. #13
    Senior Member LightBright's Avatar
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    "Something that's been bothering me from the start - how do you define a Photojournalist? My guess is that it's someone whose output is intended for publication short or long term. He has a press card and a duty to inform the public.

    Looking at my photos I find I included in my count of professionals doing videos I included someone who was doing a video for a political organisation. Now that's not photojournalism.."

    ------That’s a hard word to define. I think it’s someone who can tell a story using strong composition and other photo techniques professionally to cater to local and worldwide news out lets.

    "It's a bit like them saying when the word processor programs came out that we would all be writers now, since it's so easy to write a book. Well, the number of submissions has probably increased but I doubt there's more books being published.. more bad submissions, undoubtedly."

    ----------That’s a great analogy GB1....

    "there will always be a market for a well composed well exposed high resolution shot of news pieces. It just happens that that economies of scale and the improvement in digital video and web mean that it is cheaper to pay one video journalist than a photographer and a camera crew. Especially when you consider what is capable from camera such as RED or the video you can get from a high end DSLR like the EOS 5. I started out in photography and naturally fell into video. In my opinion there aren't enough videographers who truly understand the craft of photography or how to read light. If you choose to stick with stills, you just need to be better than average joe with a cameraphone. If you choose video you simply give yourself more options for the package and sale of the news you create."

    ---------Exactly, It is all about media and sound, video and stills are all important. I think ill stick with a dedicated still camera for my stills and buy a video camera for vids. I heard a story one time that a local news company fired all there staff photographers and replaced them with videographers to take vids and pics. But they found out it was easier and they got better quality stuff when they brought back there photographers and taught them video. I agree with you about being able to read light. Learning photography first will give others and me a better chance when we enter video.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Photojournalism dead?

    video is great but being able to just look at the photograph and seeing what is going on there the subjects eyes is far more superior then video. that can never be replaced
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