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The art of telling a story
bringing the birth of photojournalism. although one of photojournalism’s greatest set backs had been resolved.”. he previously he worked as a surrealist painter. However. determined to ‘trap’ life. it was now possible to print images in the news.” The small compact nature of the Leicia Camera meant that photographers could remain unseen in a crowd or street. who came up with the idea of ‘halftone’ . One of the most famous photojournalists of all time is Henri Cartier-Bresson. often called “The father of modern photojournalism”. as negatives could not be reprinted. like Stephen H. for example the daguerreotype process invented by Jacques Daguerre in 1829 took around half an hour to develop. This is what Bresson loved most about the instantaneous nature of the Leicia recalling that he “prowled the streets all day. As a modern artist. in 1850. Many people tried to develop Talbots idea by using different methods. Bresson instantly took to photography. and in this essay. Bresson was one of four co-founders in Magnum Picture Agency. by Horgan. the invention of flash powder meant that pictures could now be taken indoors. Bresson spent most of his time in India and China when photographing for Magnum. feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce.using small dots of black and white to make up the illusion of tonal range in a photo. and in 1887. the original was always the only copy. FoxTalbots new method meant photos could be reproduced. the renaissance period. and photography as a whole. the issue of portability still had not. unlike previous cameras that prompted fake and unnatural behaviour. Bresson took up photojournalism photography soon after the first 35mm Leica was invented. to preserve life in the act of living. saying “I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant. photography was very much a handcrafted medium: the only methods of producing images where very slow. an agency that quickly became involved with events in photojournalism all over the globe. Horgan. Up until 1850. Bresson’s career as a photojournalist really started after the Cartier-Bresson’s “Desicive Moment” war. enabling more and more locations and mass production were becoming available. and therefore used more often in journalism. The idea of photojournalism has been around for almost as long as photography itself has however in the very early days dating back to the mid eighteenth century photojournalism was very scarce. and produced some groundbreaking photojournalism that is still recognised in the photography world today. I intend to explore how far this short statement goes in the world of photojournalism. the first half tone picture was reproduced in a newspaper. and it was here he became infamous for his coverage of Ghandi’s funeral in 1948 and the . The 1930s to the 1950s is sometimes referred to as “The Golden Age” of photojournalism photography. interested in modern art and particularly. This method proved virtually useless for photojournalistic photography. the arrival of Henry Fox-talbot’s ‘Callotype’ An early daguerreotype image method meant that negatives could be reprinted hundreds of times over. photographic technologies. and other texts. From here onwards.“An image is worth a thousand words” reads the well known phrase. On March the 4th 1880. It was not until 1925 when the first Leica 35mm camera was developed that photojournalism really took off. in 1947. and even longer to process. but photographers could only shoot stationary objects.
The Golden age was very important to photography’s evolution into what it is today. everywhere. It is argued that editing photojournalistic pictures. In my project. however there are also convincing arguments against. but is photojournalism art? There are two convincing sides to this debate. even if only for a second. at every event. shutter speed. and is arguably as bad as the spin-doctors in the newspapers today. however film is still used in experimental. Others argue that a good photo is one that has been thought about. as it is still being used today. and the feelings of the individual in the street. a photographer chooses. due to the huge increase in point and shoot photography.a collection of his greatest images from East to West. mostly because of the newfound portability. Digital has replaced film as the norm for commercial and amateur photographers. brushes. which was key to the shoot I used the MF camera for. more and more photographic work has become the result of a computer chip. cameras that will do all the work for you in a click of a button. surely it becomes art? Furthermore. how can this be art? Along with the improved technology of cameras. In the world as we know it today there are millions of cameras. Finally. weather its is painted or photographed. programs like lightroom and Adobe Photoshop have become readily available. is not photojournalism at all. In my opinion. which in my opinion is a great way to sum up this great photographers photojournalistic career. or aperture. than the idea of photojournalism as an art form is a not very convincing one. and the added detail gained from a larger negative would help in the contrast between the in focus subject. on every phone. Towards the end of Bresson’s career in 1952. The film era of photography has proven itself as one of the great movements in photography and photojournalism. as I wanted to emphasise loneliness in a crowd. there is also the issue of desktop image manipulation. and it’s not the camera that does the real work. This means the temptation for people is ever increasing to retouch and edit their photographs to make them more appealing. he published a book called Images à la sauvette or `‘The Decisive Moment’ . and canvases he or she uses. and the ability to take multiple photos on a film roll.last of the Chinese civil war in 1949. and the blurred people in the peripheral. I chose to experiment with medium format film. Some people argue that this gets rid of the though and planning that goes into a photograph. Like point and shoot cameras. and niche areas of photography because of its unique qualities that don’t exist in digial photography. One of Bresson’s final quotes which is published in this book read “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”. rather the eye of the person behind it. and in some cases. if people can simply ‘snap’ anything from any event without any thought. and if thousands of people come to appreciate an image. . to manipulate the image to an extent where the message of the photograph is completely different. Endless techniques and hardware mean that the possibilities are just as vast as in conventional art. more interesting. the last convincing argument for the case of photojournalism as art is in the infinite possibilities of the final image a photojournalist produces. All the above are convincing arguments for photojournalism as an art form. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photos of world events were published in the most famous galleries around the globe. as it is no longer about the recording of an event. finding original ways to express a feeling or emotion within the boundaries of a medium. much like Cartier-Bresson throughout his career. even to change lighting or exposure. (like a poetry type) could be considered an art form in itself. some of the most famous galleries all over the globe are photojournalistic photographs. supporters of photojournalism as an art form say that working within the unwritten rules of photojournalism can be compared to writing Haiku poetry or a Bauhaus painting. the film. just like an artist chooses the type of paint. both of which have valid points. Firstly. the black and white image which the medium format film I used produced would add to the connotations of loneliness.
enabling a much more productive shoot. aperture. with better. I took full advantage of this positive feature of digital photography when I was shooting in Croatia: Much like a photojournalist. the maximum number of pictures a photographer could take was 24. this is balanced by the constant increase in demand for more and more better quality photos that sell newspapers. Who knows what the world of photojournalism will be like in 10.Although some could argue the impact of a digital revolution is a negative one. Finally. or 50 years time. I could take up to 30 minutes to scan one high resolution negative. however. things might very well be as different as it is now compared with photography’s past. I predict however. and perhaps one of the most important advantages of the digital revolution is the ability to share. Being able to view images on the job also means it becomes easier for photojournalists to make sure they have covered the whole event. Max Crame 3666 . the speed from shoot to edit is vital in a heavily competitive field. or composition and move on to the next image. large memory capacity means that photographers can spend more time taking photos and have less chance of being stuck loading a film or card when a ‘decisive moment’ occurs. One of the main advantages is instant feedback: seconds after a photographer has taken the image. getting all the pictures they need for their story. this could mean the end of photojournalism as an art. and this is made so much faster using digital technology. his editor can then give him live feedback as to what he needs to be shooting. instead reeling of 10 average ones. smaller cameras which can instantly share content has enabled more people to be influenced and inspired by more pictures. photographers need to send their shots to their editors whilst still on the job. but is more and more pictures necessarily a good thing? If people don’t take the time to put effort and meaning into one photo. and send it to an editor. before digital was invented. Photography has come along way since the days of Henry Fox Talbot. I was shooting candid images in the street to try to tell a story. instant images. he or she can review it. make changes in shutter speed. nowadays memory cards are so big in capacity that thousands of images cam be stored with out having to stop shooting. Before digital. In the journalism business. the breakthrough of digital imaging has great advantages to photojournalism. Having instant feedback of the lighting and DOF of my images meant that I could quickly change settings to make sure I didn’t miss out of a spontaneous even or ‘Decisive moment. The second major advantage is an unlimited film roll. now photographers like Vincent La Foret use workflows to automatically download photos from the memory card. or 36 per roll of film. and upload them to a shared folder for the editor to process with in minutes of them actually being taken.
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