Elements of photojournalism and photography

Academic book review


Essentials of Photojournalism and photography,

Edited by Sunny Udeze,


Rhyce Kerex Publishers.

Photography seems to be an all comer vocation now. This is especially so because of the growing number of GSM cell phones in the hands of users. A tool it is that continues to evolve from being a smart phone to higher application types like the IPod, Iphone and Android including the BlackBerry brand.

With a full blast of multimedia support applications in these phones, the user is able to record images. And the photography comes to the viewer much as the same; image on paper. This was what the writers of the book: Essentials of Photojournalism and photography, enunciated. And a picture is still worth a thousand words.

So, the act of photography is a serious profession. And it requires requisite training for the professional to equip himself with both personal skin and adequate knowledge of the photographic tool; the camera. A trained photographer understands the photographic techniques.

This is what each of the six contributors to the book that was edited by Udeze outlined. The techniques would include a proper understanding of the camera, how it functions, knowing how to compose an image on the camera, making a good use of the lens and how much light exposure an image requires to a point where the aperture can be sufficiently manipulated to achieve the best illumination for the image. These are the same guide that the video cameraman is espoused to do his recording of any scene.

But while the photographer is given to mere composing and snapping of the ‘‘aware photograph’’ and sometimes does the ‘‘semi-aware photograph’’; all these are different types of photography, the photojournalist comes on differently.

He combines all of the afore-mentioned types with the ‘‘candid photograph’’ which gives the images factual voices because of the telling nature; an active perception of the scene. This requires of the photojournalist to have ‘‘speed, instinct, anticipation, ingenuity and presence’’, to get images snapped in the instant of the moment to retain an active telling voice of the image[s].

In the entire twelve chapters of the book, the contributors gave a rather expository outlook of the role and influence pictures have on the viewer. It is such an unequivocal authority stamped on the mind, much stronger than words alone can wield. There is an impelling order it demands when it is connected to the scene, a sense that is created on the audience when accompanying the news report.

The pin point emphasis is that picture alone has a universal language and interpretation which cannot be confused. Indeed, there is the need to give pictures a good storage, proper captioning, and not ignoring the need to engage in an effective sourcing from agencies when it is needed together with understanding how to properly arrange the picture to tell its messages.

The contributors differently asserted that while photojournalists are photographers the same cannot be said of the photographer in the reverse order. This is so because it is not all photographers that have the tacit discipline off required of a photojournalist. The modus of operandi is just not the same with the discipline of journalism eluding the mere photographers.

In fact, photography started in the 1770. At that time the killing of five Boston Patriots by the British was capture in pictures. Then there was the 1774 sociological cartoon which got wide admiration. It was Matthew Brady who popularized photography, giving it a wider spectrum of use in the field of journalism.

He took picture of Abraham Lincoln with the purpose of reconstructing the public impression of Lincoln. And that act, singularly drove Lincoln into the admiration of the America electorate who voted massively for Lincoln and he won the presidential election.

And in using picture in the journalistic sense requires that the photojournalist be guided by the need to take pictures that have human angles. He must also respect the privacy of the people in the picture and seek their consent before giving it a wide publicity as a news item.

This will steer him away from needless confrontation with the sedition articles and indeed the ethics of journalism practice. But the more bizarre the picture, the more newsworthy sense it attracts making its cost higher. But it must be within the borders of copyright.

The contributor asserted that it is increasingly difficult to see any journal of whatever nature without the evidence of what the photojournalist has done. And the alluring effect of pictures.

The book does have some typography errors and blurrily printed pages. But the effort truly has added to academic knowledge as it is written purely for instructional purposes.


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