Tuesday, 28 July 2009

KOJ 3433 Photojournalism

Many of my students are still very confused with the terms photojournalism and photography or photojournalist and photographer.

Photography is the art of taking great pictures involving correct use or technique of the camera and the lens as well as the clever manipulation of the digital images using appropriate software. Composition, lighting, shutter speed or whatever elements that make great pictures are important in photography. Usually a photographer can plan what to shoot or how to shoot it. But in photojournalism, everything is often unexpected making the camera the other eye of the photojournalist.

If you want to be a good photojournalist, make sure you carry your camera wherever go and keep your eyes open and your ears clear of the wax. Look, listen, shoot, look, listen then shoot again and again and again. If you have a DSLR, always adjust all your DSLR settings to AUTO. These include auto focus, auto ISO, auto WB, etc. because if there is a spontaneous event, then you may not be able to record the moment with the manual selection on your DSLR. Too late, too costly!

Now tell me which one of these two pictures below is photojournalism?

Picture A

Picture B

You may have time to compose your shoot in Picture A but not in Picture B. You don't even have a second to think alas to adjust your camera ISO, speed or the aperture. When you see it, just shoot. That's why I suggest everything to be in AUTO. We are not talking about the art of photography here but the stories and emotions of the brief moments captured as images.

Photojournalism evokes emotions such as sadness, anger, frustrations, etc that trigger the awareness and the need for change. Take a look at these pictures. Tell me which ones will move you to change?

If you are a photographer you take this picture to please the world.

But as a photojournalist you make the whole world weeps!

A photographer takes pictures for remembrance.

A photojournalist makes the world leaders remember their sins.

Photojournalism is difficult. It takes patience, courage, luck and sometimes insanity. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it kills. How many photojournalists died while doing their assignments? Since the invention of the camera until the era of DSLR, wars, crimes, politics, natural disasters etc have killed countless number of photojournalists.

And tell me how many photographers died when they clicked on their cameras? That's why photography is too easy compared to photojournalism (sorry photographers).

If you are a photographer, this memorable visit must have been an item in your bucket list.

But if you are a photojournalist, you wished you were here when it happened!

In photography, cameras, lenses and all those paraphernalia really count. But in photojournalism, the world is counting on you. So that you change people to make the world a better place (sounds like MJ's song).

OK! Class is dismissed! See you next week.


  1. This is a FANTASTIC blog. I love photography, and this post made me really understand how blind I was! Thanks for the insight!

  2. Mcm 1 jam je kelas ni Pak Ngah?...

    I agreed that photojournalism is not easy. Each photo must be able to tell their own story without any detail writing or supporting article.

    Sayangnya masa amik degree dulu, faculty x tawarkan course photojournalism... :p

  3. Karma Queen,

    Thanks for the kind comment. Hope you'll be a great photojournalist someday (although someday is not a day of the week, hehehe)and I'll be proud to say "Hey, I know this photojournalist, she posted a comment to my blog!". Who knows.... hehehe.



    Kenal ke Karma Queen ni? Kalau nak belajar jadi photojournalist yang boleh menang hadiah Pulitzer, maka kena selalu beara dalam keadaan berisiko tinggi.

  4. wah. new knowledge. makes me happy. XD

    um. i had never actually wondered what differs one term to the other, since i wasnt much into photography/photojournalism. more of a fan of the end product i am. but this one's really good.

    i guess i could try to see pictures with more of an understanding afterwards.

    keep writing, sir. you're cool!

  5. Pak Ngah, saya x kenal sapa Karma Queen tapi dah visit her blog this morning for the 1st time...lol..mcm bagi report la plak..lol..

    I just wish that i can be photojournalist (which i think nothing is impossible if i really want too)..and definitely like to cover story kat high risk places...tp ada ka org nak htr women photojournalist?...i think i stick with my current profession je la dulu..

  6. Maria,

    Ramai orang perempuan jadi freelance photojournalist, tau tak? Some wrote beautiful articles with vivid pictures in famous magazines like NatGeo, Discovery, etc.

    Pak Ngah kalau dah pencen nanti nak jadi freelance lah. Nak tau bagaimana rasanya.

  7. Max J. Potter,

    The sincere phrases of a language and the vividness of a picture tell a story about a life called truth.

    ceh, ceh, ceh, berfalsampah lah pulak Pak Ngah ni.

  8. fuh lama roslan tak singgah blog pak ngah ni..adeh..tak pasai2 upm kene cuti mengejut..huh...kolej pak ngah ade ker kes dak2 suspek kene ni pak ngah?

    em suke la tgk gambar2 pak ngah shoot..anak pak ngah tu masih wat kelas fotografi lagi???

  9. Lan,

    Kolej 14, memang ada student yang suspect H1N1. Pengetuanya pun suspect jugak.

    Hari Khamis yang lepas Pak Ngah kena masuk wad emegency, Hospital Serdang kerana jangkitan paru-paru. Memang teruk.

  10. yeke pak ngah?? now ok dah??
    teruk nyer camtu..lan demam2 gak pas balik rumah awal2 cuti tuh..

    hope pak ngah ok skg..

  11. maria tgh cari peluang nak jadi part time writer for any magazine...ada satu opportunity but for australia's magazine...co-write dgn few other writer about malaysia...harap2 jadi.. :p

  12. Bagus tu Maria. Hope you'll grab that opportunity.