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Photojournalism. Every Picture is a Story.Posted by Darren Smith
As photojournalists, we really are capturing moments in time. Usually, very significant moments. Which is why photojournalism and news photography play a huge role in media. It was in this field earlier on in my career that I began to document noteworthy public figures and momentous events. I took pride in being a critical source for reporters, journalists, or broadcast commentators. And it molded my work ethic and my ability to think on my feet.
As a photojournalist at the Boston Herald, I began to find some national success. My images started becoming the stories – rather than merely adding a visual to the narrative. In fact, there were a couple of times I was covering noteworthy news stories and had outshot the photographers at People Magazine, so they picked up my work.
It was as a photojournalist that I gained a better perspective of how authenticity validated my reputation as a source for trustworthy picture-taking. I recognized how pictures affect others’ viewpoints and how people prefer to see the world through vivid, yet factual, photography. And covering such diverse perspectives and vantage points helped shape my own view of the world from that point on.
We Make the Images. And the Images Make Us.
Journalism photography molded me. I was held to a high professional standard. The quality of my pictures represented my efforts to become a visible participant in global news stories. Learning camera angles and frame-by-frame storytelling – while in the moment – were invaluable tools. So I highly recommend to those just starting to learn camerawork this way.
Between 1978 and 1987, I worked as a photojournalist for the Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, and The Associated Press. Among my most memorable coverage was of Hurricane Gloria, which I later won a Boston Press Photographers Award for my work. I also have received the LA-based Photo District News Photography Annual Award six times for cinematography between 2002 and 2009 on topics that have given me a real-world perspective on picture-taking proficiency.
Characteristics of a Photojournalist
I always felt a great responsibility as a photojournalist because my clients needed images that aroused catchy captions. For many print sources, it was also necessary to generate imagery that supported professional marketability based on the characteristics of the pictures. There was also pressure to strive for a high standard because clients required ready-to-publish imagery for their newspapers, magazines, journals, websites, or periodicals.
Working in photojournalism required a lot of dedication to be ready when events unfold, so it teaches photographers to be prepared to work at a moment’s notice. It taught me to show up, do the job, and to always do my best because others are counting on me to produce quality work.