Photojournalism: Capturing Moments in Real-Time

The digital age has had a dramatic impact on the way each person interacts with the world community and photojournalism captures moments in real-time. Photojournalists were early revolutionaries in blazing a trail to capturing and sharing moments in real-time. The Associated Press (AP) were pioneers in shrinking the world by sharing photos of events as quickly as possible using Wirephoto, a technology that they were heavily invested in to capture and share the photos of their freelance photographers around the world.

Wirephoto machine (photo credit: Sandstein)

Photojournalists used carrier pigeons, the Pony Express, the mail, trains, planes ships, and automobiles to send their photos. The Wirephoto changed all that and cut the time between shutter clicks and published photos dramatically. Less than four decades after the introduction of the Wirephoto on January 1, 1935, Michael Grecco became intrigued by his first black and white film camera.

The Camera Shrinks the World

The digital photography revolution coupled with internet technology has made it possible for today’s photojournalists to capture and share moments in real time. It has also opened the opportunity for every person to be a photojournalist among their circle of family, friends, colleagues, and associates thanks to social media.

Photutorial published an article- How Many Pictures Are There (2024): Statistics, Trends, and Forecasts which estimated that by 2030, there will be over 2.3 trillion pictures taken every year. These 2.3 trillion captured moments will document ordinary life along with extraordinary events.

As an AP photojournalist in Boston during the advent of Punk Rock, Michael Grecco captured original everyday life as well as extraordinary concert photos. Those printed black-and-white photos offer a rare glimpse of the punk lifestyle. Unlike the photojournalist in the digital age, the 35 mm photographer did not have unlimited film to capture every moment in time. Framing, lighting, angles, aperture, backgrounds, environments, and subjects were calculated to achieve dynamic artistic photos.

The Cramps photographed by Michael Grecco.

His time as a black-and-white film photographer laid the foundation for Michael Grecco to grow with technology and become a pioneer in the digital age of photography.

Michael Grecco in 1985, seen covering the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas, as a staff photographer for the Boston Herald.

Michael Grecco covering an Anti-KKK rally in Boston in 1983. The police had decided to attach the press to get them out of the way, then attack the protesters to remove them.

Instantly Critiquing Captured Moments

A significant impact of growing with the technology that affects the captured moments of Michael Grecco is the ability to instantly critique his own work. No more waiting for hours to see the output. The photographer only has one chance to capture the moments of live happenings such as concerts or events. A digitally captured photo can be viewed, critiqued, and instantly taken again by professional photojournalists.

In the hands of Michael Grecco, a digital device allows him to instantly compensate and adjust how he captures moments in real-time. Mastering the art of photojournalism is a never-ending quest that is constantly expanding by applied technologies. AI, VR, AR, and the maturing space age continue to have a profound impact on photojournalism and its ability to make the world and universe smaller.

New Storytelling

The transformation of photojournalism by the digital revolution is in its infancy. Digital cameras introduced in the 1990s are primitive compared to today’s choices.

New storytelling techniques will be possible in the world of photography as technology expands to include AI, VR, and AR in digital cameras. This will create new challenges for photojournalists and open the doors to ethical questions about staged digital photos presented as reality. Times are a’ changing for photojournalists. What will not change is photojournalists’ commitment to capturing moments in real time.