What the still photo does for journalism-

In the article, “What the still photo does best,” Hank Klibanoff depicts a world becoming more dependent on photo journalism and video and how one picture can capture the viewer’s emotion immensely.

It is so doubt that with the evolution of smart phones, flip cams, and cameras, that it has become much easier and more acceptable to shoot video or photos of events taking place.  And although, the typical person doesn’t have any photo training, we are able to depict history making events at any moment in time.  A trained photographer is not always on the scene to snap something.  However, still photos will be able to capture and cultivate the human experience rather than any video.  Although a video can be watched over and over again, we can also stare at photos for a long time and really try to get inside of what was really going on in that place and time.

Vice President Joe Biden, joined by daughter Ashley Biden, left, wife Dr. Jill Biden, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, react to a joke made by performing artist Jamie Foxx during “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House,” a concert celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of Motown Records, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The quality of the still photo and how it can be refined and edited will always have it’s place as well.  In screen shots of video, you cannot clean them up.  Even though Neda Agha Soltan’s death was recorded on video by a cell phone, the screen grab doesn’t capture how trying that moment in time was.  However, the fact that someone did record it and then was forwarded to become national news is incredible.  To really capture my emotion and reaction, I would rather not see a screen grab and watch the video. Events such as these needs to be documented to become the news.

There is a reason that Brian Storm has a photograph by Charles Moore hanging in his office depicting the emotional scene in Birmingham of a black woman and two black men being pounded by a fire house.  For Storm, it more than likely is daily reminder of what this country went through to get to where we are today when it comes to the social injustice of blacks back then.  And really, you can’t get that everyday from your office if it’s not in still photo.

President Barack Obama receives a leather-bound 2009 edition of the "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States" from David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, center, in the Oval Office, Feb. 25, 2011. Joining them are staff from the Office of the Federal Register and National Archives and Records Administration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It is unsettling that Webinars are starting to replace typical workshops and classes for photo training.  After spending a large amount of time in my first career, developing Webinars and introducing them to my staff became second nature.  However, at the end of the day, I saw what Webinars can’t do for several individuals.  It still cannot provide that one-on-one approach that so many of us need.  Sometimes convenience cannot take the place of thorough-ness.  I think that for something as important as photo-journalism, we cannot afford mistakes.  Most of the time, we only have one chance to depict history and because someone chose convenience over getting it right the first time, is sad especially if it’s the only chance we had to get the shot.


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