Magazine and newspaper stories have traditionally revolved around the writer. A writer would pitch stories and was almost always the architect of the piece. When the story needed visuals, a photographer or illustrator would be brought in, often after the story was finished. This order of operations placed the writer in the driver’s seat.
The primacy of the writer was reflected in the leadership of the publication where editors, responsible for direction and content, rose from the ranks of authors. During the nineteenth century, when publications were gray tomes celebrating the written word, this was a perfect arrangement. Artwork accompanied the story, augmented it, clarified it, attracted attention to it, but always served a subordinate role. Photography was the appetizer to the article’s main course — the words. Read more…
This striking photo, taken by Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin, has been making the award rounds recently, sweeping up first and second place trophies for the photog’s mantle. According to the description, the photo portrays a “former Marine Corps sniper,” and is part of a series of photos taken in a rough part of Rochester, NY called “The Crescent.”
Pellegrin’s ethics, however, are now being called into question by a BagNewsNotes article, which points out that the man in the photo, Shane Keller, was neither a sniper nor does he live in The Crescent — he was headed to a shooting range at Pellegrin’s request, as part of a portrait shoot. Read more…
On April 8, 2011, Senator Jon Kyl was quoted on the Senate floor as saying, “If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
This is not a post about abortion or Planned Parenthood. This is a discussion about veracity and why it matters in photojournalism. In fact, about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion-related. When Sen. Kyl was confronted with the facts, his office responded with “his remark was not intended to be a factual statement.” Read more…
Here’s a slightly-oldie but a very-goodie: New York University photography professor Fred Ritchin gave this keynote address last year at the “What’s Next?” event put on by Foam. He shares his thoughts on the past, present, and future of digital photography and how it impacts the world around us. Read more…
The New York Post sparked a firestorm of controversy last week after publishing a photo of a man about to be struck by a subway train. People around the world were outraged that a photographer decided to photograph what had occurred, that he had sold (or, in the photographer’s words, licensed) the photo to a newspaper, and that the paper decided to publish it with a sensationalist front page story.
The New York Times found an eerily similar story on its hands this week, but its handling of the situation — and the subsequent public reaction to the article — has been drastically different. Read more…
Corbis, one of the largest photo agencies in the world, has agreed to acquire Demotix, a crowd-sourced citizen journalism photo agency that was founded in 2008. Corbis had already picked up a piece of the young agency through an investment last year, but now it has decided to purchase the whole company outright. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Read more…
Yesterday we shared a piece by photographer Kenneth Jarecke on why Instagram isn’t fit for photojournalism. Now, from the other side of the aisle, Jeff Bercovici of Forbes writes that Time had great success after hiring five Instagrammers to document Hurricane Sandy:
The resulting collection on Lightbox, Time’s photography blog, was “one of the most popular galleries we’ve ever done,” says [Time DP Kira] Pollack, and it was responsible for 13% of all the site’s traffic during a week when Time.com had its fourth-biggest day ever. Time’s Instagram account attracted 12,000 new followers during a 48-hour period.
One of Benjamin Lowy’s photos even ended up getting selected for the cover, although it’s one of three covers Time is running this week [...] While the level of resolution isn’t perhaps what might be achieved with a camera, says Pollack, “It reproduced beautifully. There’s almost a painterly quality to it.”
Pollack tells FolioMag that the decision to use Instagram was based on distribution speed rather than aesthetics.
A couple months ago we shared an app called Foap, which allows people who take pictures with their phone to put the images up for sale for $10 a pop. If Foap is the bane of microstock photographers, then Scoopshot is the bane of photojournalists.
It’s an app that helps phone photographers easily sell their images to news organizations. After all, when a local story happens, it’s often random passersby that are on the scene first with phones out and camera apps loaded. Read more…
He pulled up to the little media circus and found his three colleagues. No one was sure what was happening. Cars had come and gone all day, the others told Rec. No one knew if Kaczynski was there, or had been taken someplace else.
As they spoke, a white Ford Bronco came out of the trees and passed by.
The windows were tinted and you couldn’t see inside. Two local high school students who were hanging around shouted, “That’s him!” and jumped in their car.
None of the other photographers and journalists at the site took the bait. The four UM students huddled. Ely thought he could make out the silhouette of a man “with hair sticking up all over the place” in the back seat. They decided to break with the pack and follow.
Newsweek ended up purchasing 1-week exclusive rights to their highly sought-after photos for $26,000, and the images have made over $40,000 through the years.
Shirking expectations of both its size and location, the paper has produced some of the country’s best documentary photography and most thoughtful presentations since the late ’70s.
[...] The paper, a tabloid instead of a broadsheet, has created a following mostly because of its now-famous Saturday photo stories, which combine thoughtful reporting and powerful photography. They’re run ad-free and take up the entire front page plus five additional pages inside, sometimes more.
[...] Because the new Saturday cover features were driven by photography, it was often the photographers who were out finding the stories instead of the other way around. This earned them a newfound respect that has since trickled down.
Today, photographers not only have a real voice in the Saturday features but also in the entire news cycle, bucking a trend of second-class citizenship that still plagues other photojournalists across the country.
Despite the financial downturn in the journalism industry, the paper has had no layoffs and has given its staff a raise every year.