Photojournalism is Subjective NOT Objective

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Photojournalism has long been considered to have a tradition of reflecting the truth. It has been a major element in newspaper and magazine reporting since the early 20th century. It was probably only about a century ago when people believed that what they saw in photographs was factual. This impact of visual image as seen by the viewer was based on the old belief that "the camera never lies". Wheeler says that photojournalism has "acquired a special standing in the public mind, a confidence that photo can reflect reality in a uniquely compelling and credible way." (Wheeler T, 2002, p. 3) This acquisition is formed by a creation of a powerful picture, which is the combination of both truthfulness and visual impact. "In general, photojournalism is defined as a descriptive term for reporting visual information through various media such as newspapers and magazines." (Newton J, 2001, p. 3) The mid-20th century saw the rise in photojournalism. As Wheeler (Wheeler T, 2002, p. 3) mentioned, "by World War II, America had become a certifiably visual, predominantly photographic culture." Photography is a form of visual representation of events to the public. It is traditionally defined as ‘writing with light'. Photography was more than factual recording of truthful observation. It could be an expression of emotional reaction to life. Although photography has always been thought of as the capturing and the reflection of truth, the discussion of ‘manipulated photography' is often brought up. However, before any debate of manipulated photography, one must begin with the "recognition that photography itself is an inherent manipulation." (Wheeler T, 2002) Ever since its beginnings, photography is subjective, it is not absolute reality and... ... middle of paper ... ... impact of a photo illustration on an audience is far more powerful than a description through words. "Modern imaging technologies have given us new and powerful ways of handling photographs." (Ang T, 2000) Professional journalists have altered mass-mediated photos for reasons from tabloid sensationalism to political correctness. This is due to the fact that they believe the alterations are obvious enough to be instantly recognisable or so minor as to be ethically insignificant. Whatever the case is, the misuse of imaging technologies causes photo illustrations to loss its credibility and objectivity, thus destroying the status of photojournalism. As emphasised earlier, photography itself is a manipulation from its beginnings, this process of manipulation is further enhanced by imaging technologies. Hence, photojournalism cannot be claimed to be neutral and objective.

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