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.