PetaPixel

Photojournalism Minus the ‘Photo': A Look Back at Newspapers Before Photography

There was a gap in time between the first newspapers and the rise of something called ‘photojournalism.” Photography was still in its infancy (or not even invented yet, in many cases) when many of the major newspapers came to be, and so the front page that would greet the informed citizen contained only words.

They’re eerie, crowded and overwhelming… and they’re a good reminder of why the words “photo” and “journalism,” when combined, create something pretty incredible.

Below we’ve dug up the first editions of some of the world’s most prestigious and early newspapers. From the New York (Daily) Times to The (Manchester) Guardian, there’s not a single photograph in sight:

Credit: Detroit Free Press designer Steve Anderson

Credit: Detroit Free Press designer Steve Anderson

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: NY Times

Credit: NY Times

Fortunately, we’re probably never going to go back to this. When a significant portion of your audience’s attention span is measured in number of characters and not paragraphs, a few pictures worth 1,000 words each really help get the point across.

No, photojournalists don’t have to worry about having their photos replaced by words today… just crappier photos that are much cheaper to acquire.

(h/t Doobybrain)


 
  • Island In The Sky

    It’s downright heartbreaking to me. I remember newspapers from 20+ years ago when the text was something you could spend time reading. As a result of more and more photos and graphics (getting larger and taking up more space), there’s even less to read. Very sad.

  • Wuz nt Me

    I don’t think the pictures displaced the content. I think the pictures are used as filler because no one produces good content any more.
    Just my two cents.

  • Ridgecity

    If you think about it , thanks to google text is the most important thing now… And thanks to Getty is even a worse for photojournalism.

  • Island In The Sky

    I think the pictures have displaced the content. Back when the trend started it was referred to as the “USA Today-ification” of newspapers, as they were the ones who splashed their pages with bigger photos and graphs – to the detriment of the actual word count per article / column.