Photojournalism: Picturesque Persuasion; And How It Shapes Journalism

Posted on February 4, 2011 in Media

By Neha Bhandarkar:

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” -Ansel Adams (Late American Photographer, Environmentalist)

Despite of the advent of new media, the value and role of photography and photojournalism continues to move us through its abstract and intuitive control. The visual element in the field of journalism has an extremely significant importance to news.

Photojournalism which is one of the most important branches of journalism is there to tell a story through the form of images. Pictures are informative, and relevant to society, as well as always available for informing us of what is happening around the world. These images also possess the quality of being intentional. The circumstance, context of the images, and its significance are directly connected to the story it’s telling.

The incorrigible influence that a picture has on its viewer is not just about the photographer’s point of view that he or she has tried to include in the picture taken, but it also tends to have various other unfolding meanings which can be concluded through a picture.

Photojournalism as part of the news media plays a major role as pictures give a visual representation to whatever is given in newspapers as news. It tends to summarise the event and gives a better understanding to it. This makes reading the newspaper more effective because it gives the readers an idea of what it must be like to witness these events as they are describing. This is especially true of those who seldom watch the news, or read the newspaper. These images become their key to understanding the stories that are being reported in the news. Photojournalists have a responsible role to play in a newspaper or news channel. Through the form of their photographs they let us in on the situations and the happenings that are taking place around us. They offer us a glimpse of the people, their actions, places, scenes and things of daily life that are captured in their cameras. In this way we are aware of the issues that our society is facing today.

The revolutionary aspect of technology has further made the influence of photojournalism more pronounced. The speed in which the news travels globally these days, the usage of internet and the improved quality of printing expertise has made the role of photojournalism, a more noticeable presence.

The passé question whether a picture really speaks a thousand words, has multiple perceptions attached to it. The reason for which is the photographer concerned, the circumstances in which the picture was taken, etc. Some of the best and the most influential photographs taken since early 1900s in the absence of photo-shop and other such software have densest of meaning and incidental values attached to it. It has encompassed war, beauty, labour, joy and every such element that turned remarkably historical in that era. To name a few, First Flight (1903), Migrant Mother (1936), The Kiss (1945), JFK Assassination (1963), the famous Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning photo that turned public opinion against the Vietnam war Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla (1968), Apollo 11 Moon Landing (1969) are some of the famous pictures that made a noteworthy change to the world in some or the other way directly or indirectly.

The pictures have a million things to say, and they give people a chance to empathise. The perception with which the picture is captured has a deep implication behind it and the value that it gives to the incident further expands the veiled meaning and hence its value.

The field of journalism in every way persuades and shapes the peoples’ opinion and gives them an insight into a particular issue due to photojournalism. The photojournalists have a major responsibility to play so as to present an objective image which accompany an issue and helps the public understand the meaning behind the words.