Photojournalism- A Story Through Snapshots

Photojournalism is a peculiar and powerful form of telling a story through pictures. It was originally created for print magazines and newspapers but is now available in multimedia as well. Photojournalism can be of different types. From covering breaking news and photographing war scenes to forming visual narratives, it helps emblaze the issue with great depth and clarity that only few mediums can attain.

The term “photojournalism” was first coined by “Frank Luther Mott”. He was a historian and dean of the University of Missouri, School of Journalism. The invention of the first 35 mm camera, the Leica led to the birth of modern photojournalism in Germany in 1925. In addition to this, the invention of first photojournalism magazine took place in Germany as well. In early days, after 1890, pictures were published directly. From the beginning of 20th century photographs started to get out in publications like newspapers and magazines. On the other hand photo magazine was basically a compilation of isolated pictures.

A similar type of reporting was established in United States. Henry Luce, already successful with Time and Fortune Magazines, conjured up a new general-interest magazine relying on modern photojournalism on 23 November 1936. It was called “Life”. The first photojournalism cover story was an article about the building of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana. “Margaret Bourke-White” photographed this, and in particular the life of the workers in little shacks residing around the building site.

Carol Guzy is one of the most renowned American photojournalists of all time. She has won the Pulitzer prize. Over the years, she has captured Kosovo refugees, famine in Ethiopia, civil unrest in Haiti, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the tragedy of south Florida’s Hurricane Andrew. Steve McCurry is an American photojournalist. He took a picture of a 12 year old Afghan girl. Her picture became so famous that in 1985, National Geographic magazine printed it as their cover. The picture is called The Afghan Girl. Murray Becker was an associated Press photographer. His pictures of the burning airship Hindenburg and a weeping Lou Gehrig are among the most celebrated in journalism. Roger Fenton is one of the first war photographers. He is particularly known for his coverage of the Crimean War.

Azhar Jaffri is a veteran photojournalist. He is a living legend of Pakistan whose work is the truest and undeniable form of history of this country and its struggles, documented through his pictures. He was awarded Presidential Pride of Performance in 2014. Javed Nasir and Syed Mehdi are also very renowned photojournalists of Pakistan whose work has been admired by masses. Faseeh Shams is a Pakistani photojournalist based in Lahore, Pakistan. His work has been published in BBC, Newsweek, Routers, CPL and many other International publications.

Mere interest and need do not make a master piece, essence of passion is very important. Being a photojournalist is anything but easy. One has to strive a lot. It takes atleast a decade to be fully established in this field. This profession has a lot of adventure, thrill and risk. Photographers explore different areas, experience all sort of beauty and ugliness. This field might appear heroic or fancy to others but photographers put their lives on the line for the sake of sharing pictures with the world. It’s not just reporting that is very dangerous but after effects is also very harmful. Christian Poveda, a French-Spanish filmmaker and photographer who documented gang life in El Salvador was found shot dead in his car in 2009. Shortly before his death, Poveda had completed the documentary, “La Vida Loca”, which followed the lives of Mara 18 gang members. His body was found in the region controlled by the same gang.

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