Essay on Photojournalism and the New Visual Storyteller

Essay on Photojournalism and the New Visual Storyteller

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Photojournalism and the New Visual Storyteller

Storytelling has always been a part of culture; from Native American cave paintings, to the first edition of the bible that Gutenberg pulled off his printing press, people have used the technology to their advantage. It allows man new ways to get ideas across. We also live in a visual culture; from the stained glass windows that depict biblical scenes, to the millions of billboards that line highways across America, we have always used pictures to express ideas. In 1937 Henry Luce started a magazine that utilized the technology of modern printing presses. He hired photographers who used small 35mm cameras, and so began Life magazine. It advanced a profession called photojournalism, telling stories with pictures. From that point on America fell in love with the picture. That was sixty years ago and many young people including myself still think that they will be photojournalists and take pictures for Life Magazine. The possibility still exists for visual storytellers to communicate, but it is a changing climate that is going to digital cameras and digital video. Those who embrace technology and learn they are limited only by their imagination will live; those who do not are doomed.

In Australia in the mid 18th century a strange new animal was discovered, the Platypus. Biologists had all their books written and all animals placed into their specific categories: mammals, reptiles, and fish, etc. This new Platypus crossed over into many categories. The zoological community was shocked; they had to change the way they thought because of this new beast.

To Dirck Halstead, a senior White House photographer for Time Magazine, this was the perfect analogy for the...


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...e than the book ever could, and a graduate student at the University of Michigan used the site for help on his thesis.

Television and the Internet are powerful tools that photojournalists have at their fingertips. I no longer dream to be like the photographers that I grew up loving. Imagine Robert Capa or Eddy Adams with a video camera over his shoulder. After the Spanish soldier was shot he could go in for his last words, or Adams interviewing the Viet Cong soldier after he executed the man on the street. The possibilities are endless.

John H. White, a photojournalist for The Chicago Sun Times for thirty years now says, “I believe the greatest picture hasn’t been taken, and I intend to take it.” As a visual journalist I now say, I believe the greatest picture hasn’t been taken, and I intend to take it, get video, and a sound byte to go with it.

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