Why is journalism, and in particular photojournalism, integral to modern day society? Conley and Lamble say this:
“Journalism is an honourable profession as old as democracy and as new as the most recent news story posted online. Its academic pedigree or methodology is shared with history, law and literature. Journalists are historians, recording a community’s best and worst moments. They give a town, city, state, nation-sometimes humanity-a sense of self. Journalism is society’s rendezvous with expression, marshalling community debate and creating its forum. It asks analyses, explains and ponders. Sometimes it is provocative. Often it is irrelevant-prodding and poking the soft underbellies of the pompous and self-important. Collectively, the media represents a metaphoric package of alarm bells. It is a forum for ideas and opinions. It is a mirror reflecting society back to itself.”- David Conley and Stephen Lamble (2009).
Photojournalism is important because it tells a story that words may not necessarily be able to. “A still photograph, unlike a moving image, freezes the action and the captured momentary image can sum up the complete flow of events (Darr, 2007). Photojournalists can capture the most amazing, traumatising, heart-wrenching and uplifting moments in time that will be documented and become part of history. There are many examples of these types of images, from famine to terror to documenting natural disasters. There are many examples, my favourite can be seen here by Pultizer Prize winner Kevin Carter inSudan.
Kenneth Irby explains in his blog post that “the content of a picture, not just its artistic quality, conveys powerful meaning and emotion to readers.”