WHAT IS PHOTOJOURNALISM?
Photojournalism is the process of using photography to tell a story rather than relying on text. While a journalist uses their pen and paper to tell stories, a photojournalist will use their camera to capture the visual representation of a story. It was said to have started in 1853 when Carol Szathmari, a Romanian painter and photographer, documented the Crimean War with her engraving technique. This technique was also used for the American Civil War to print the photographs of Mathew Brady in the publication Harper’s Weekly. Then with the invention of the 35mm Leica camera in 1925 and the first commercial flash bulbs in 1927, photojournalism began to flourish. The “Golden Age” of photojournalism is from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. The 35mm cameras were small and light enough to give the photographers freedom to shoot content they couldn’t before.
In todays’ society, with the boom of social media and the Internet, a photojournalist’s job has evolved from just working for newspapers.
A photojournalist can work for several different mediums and the pay varies. Television photojournalists made an average wage of $45,000 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Photojournalists working for newspapers, magazines or book publishers earned average salaries of $41,000. Clients for photojournalists could be National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Fortune, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and many more.
There are also organizations that represent photojournalists like the American Society of Media Photographers, National Press Photographers Association, and Professional Photographers of America. The benefit of joining one of these organizations is that they can connect you with potential jobs and international clients. It can cost anywhere from $110 a year and up. A photo agent is also important for a photojournalist to have because they are working to get you more jobs and market your photography. They also utilize social media to gain attention not just for new work but for the story behind the photographer.
A contemporary photojournalist that I admire is David Guttenfelder, who is currently working for National Geographic. He is a photojournalist focusing on global geopolitics and conservation. Until recently, he spent his entire professional career working and living outside of his native United States. Guttenfelder had spent 20 years as a photojournalist for the Associated Press, during which he was based in Nairobi, Abidjan, New Delhi, Jerusalem, and Tokyo, covering news in more than 75 countries around the world. I would also like to work for National Geographic or the Associated Press one day and go into different countries to photograph harsh situations or to show what is really going on in some of these countries. I’m the type of person who isn’t afraid to be put into dangerous places or situations, so I would like to photograph war as well.
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