'No Future in Photojournalism' Interview: Dan Chung

Dan Chung is an award-winning photojournalist who made his name
shooting for The Guardian newspaper in the UK. In recent years he has
shifted his focus away from still imaging and towards video.

Dan, you made your name as a stills photographer but you’re mainly shooting video now, what changed?

'Photojournalism as a profession has taken a bit of a nosedive in recent years. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to be in continuous employment, I’m not immune to the longer-term trend, which is pretty desperate if you’re talking about make a living. I took a strategic decision to get more into video and it’s been reasonably successful.'

Aftermath - The Japanese Tsunami from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

What sort of work are you doing now?

'Initially I was shooting a lot of web video for The Guardian which I still do, but now I’m shooting more and more for TV, news, plus the odd advert here and there. I took the decision to stay basically within documentary and news shooting rather than go off and try and be a Hollywood filmmaker just yet!'

'I don’t really see a future in photojournalism, if I’m completely honest, as a way to earn a living. But also there are a lot of creative opportunities with moving images that you couldn’t possibly dream of doing with stills. I’m surprised though that relatively few other photographers have made that conversion.'

Why do you think that is?

'I divide my time between the UK and China and it seems to me that photojournalists in the UK have been really slow to adopt video whereas China and in fact Asia in general there’s a much higher take-up and the same is true of the US.'

'A lot of it has to do with what editors are asking photographers to do and my impression is that editors are basically asking for video more in the US and Asia than they are in the UK. I’ve been running DSLR video workshops in the UK now for a year and they’re always packed out, so there’s obviously an appetite there, but it’s early days.'

North Korea's Military parade in Slow Motion from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Was moving to video a hard choice for you?

'It wasn’t really a choice at all. The way I look at it is convert or die. It’s a very steep learning curve but once you get into it, it’s like anything - you get into your stride and away you go. I’m constantly amazed by the fact that amateurs seem to do a much better job of adapting to new ways of working than professionals.'

'If you look at Vimeo.com there’s a lot of really good stuff on there, shot by amateurs. A lot of them have come from a stills photography background, and might have never shot a movie before, haven’t been to film school, and don’t know one end of a video camera from the other, but that doesn’t stop them from going out and shooting great-looking videos.'

What does the future hold?

'The arrival of DSLR video has been a great creative revolution and in the long run I think the beneficiaries are actually amateurs. Maybe they don’t know it yet, and maybe not all of them realise the potential of video. Things like Nikon’s Motion Snapshot mode on the V1 and J1 might seem kind of wacky right now, but maybe in a few years time functions like that will be perfectly normal.'

'I’m very upbeat about DSLR video actually, and I think it’s here to stay. The functionality is getting better and better, and it’s giving lots of people an opportunity to start doing some really creative multimedia shooting, mixing stills and video and everything else.'

Mongolian Racer from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

'We're looking at the tip of the iceberg really. Broadcast professionals have already figured out what to do with this technology and are using it, and are investing in a new generation of more expensive, pro-oriented cameras. For the rest of us, the increase in quality in DSLR video from a new generation of cameras like the Nikon D4 and the Canon EOS 1-DX means is that you don’t need to go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to compete.'

'Increasingly, as an enthusiast or semi-pro videographer, the quality of DSLR video is getting so good that it really doesn’t matter what you shoot on. The technology isn’t the barrier any more, the barrier is imagination.'


About Dan Chung

Award-winning photojournalist and videomaker Dan Chung made his name working as a staff photographer at both The Guardian and Reuters news agency, and has since pioneered the use of DSLRs in filmmaking, particularly in news coverage.

Iraqi families leave Basra via a bridge manned by British soldiers, in March 2003. This photo earned Dan the Photographer Of The Year Award at The Picture Editor Awards 2004. (Dan Chung, Pool Photo)

Dan's many accolades include the Picture Editors' Guild Photographer of the Year 2004, the Nikon Press Photographer of the Year awards in 2002 and he also won the Digital film category in the 2011 Press Photographer's Year.

Dan now lives and works in China, but travels the world on assignment. He also runs the industry blog www.dslrnewsshooter.com

Comments

Total comments: 278
123
erik schmitt
By erik schmitt (Aug 2, 2012)

Video and still photography are two different animals. Stills require contemplation and analysis. Stills have a sense of time being frozen, a moment that is forever gone caught, a sense of mortality. Video because it is moving doesn't engage people in the same way. It is more manipulative and seductive to just stare at and not think about. Rolland Barthes speaks very eloquently about this phenomenon in his book Camera Lucida.

0 upvotes
spider22
By spider22 (Mar 26, 2012)

You know how they say a picture paints a thousand words? imo, stills are the best way to convey ideas in the shortest time, followed by text. It's sad to observe that more and more press is moving from the age old combo of text+pictures to text+videos.

Honestly I rather have text+pics. Simply because video is slow. Not only do I have to look at it (occupies my sight); I have to listen to it(occupies my hearing) and then I have to wait and follow the pace of the narration as dictated by the video without having the ability to fast forward or quickly glace through to get the gist of the idea.

In context of journalism, Give my text and pictures anytime.

ps: i'm not related in anyway to "spiderhunter"

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Jul 27, 2012)

picture is no more than a way to view video.

there is actually no way for us to see real still.
we always see through a pair of video camera.
we don't have a choice.

0 upvotes
spiderhunter
By spiderhunter (Mar 23, 2012)

Winning awards do no necessary mean a photographer is good. It is all about luck, like striking lottery and being shrewd. It also has a lot to do with how one markets oneself. It is that ego thingy.

A lot of photographers like to have that celebrity status. The truth is that the best war footage come from WWII , the identity of whom no one knows. Nowadays, people like to flash their press passes and tell the world "oh i went to the war zone". So what?

In truth, amateurs take the best pictures.

Of course to those who are lucky to win some awards, or who are already there, they feel safe to say "oh there is no future for PJs" or tis, tat or the other. It is like "now we are developed country, the developing country cannot cut trees because they contribute to deforestation or they must restrict their emission of CO2 (so that their industries will forever lack behind).." Or "we have nuclear weapons but you cannot develop them".

It all about preserving one's dominance.

0 upvotes
firemachine69
By firemachine69 (Mar 17, 2012)

Photos are easy to manipulate: Video is not.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Mar 17, 2012)

You must not have surfed YouTube lately =)

0 upvotes
Aysiqrk
By Aysiqrk (Feb 23, 2012)

The keyword here is “journalism” – stills or videos are only tools. New ways to audience – web – shift event presentation to video. Whenever it is easier to render an idea or impression by moving pictures stills become less profitable

0 upvotes
Alex Notpro
By Alex Notpro (Feb 18, 2012)

Comparing videos to photos is like comparing phone calls to emails. They are not interchangeable. Videos and phone calls are for people who are not very busy. Perhaps high unemployment has caused a momentary spike in the popularity of video?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
wilson
By wilson (Feb 22, 2012)

No kidding. But in the context of the article, newspapers are dying and moving to the "web". These sites would rather pay for VIDEO, not stills. So yeah, there's no comparing the two technically, other than the fact that if Dan Chung refused to shoot video and only shot stills, he couldn't make a living of it in a few years. That's the point. It's especially poignant coming from an award winning still photo-journalist.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 23, 2012)

You forget that people aren't just sitting in front of computers watching these videos. We now get videos on our smart phones and tablets which we have with us all the time now. Plus, there is wifi everywhere these days. Whenever I have a moment in my day, some downtime, wherever I am I can whip out my smart phone, read some news, watch some video. To say that it's mainly unemployed people who watch video is absolutely ridiculous.

I also watch how younger people consume news these days. For whatever reason, they have a distrust of the written word or selected photos, because they don't trust it. They would rather watch video and see for themselves what happened. Remember, this is the video/Youtube generation, where everyone has a video camera in their cell phone. Today's generation expects video. If a news outlet doesn't have video, they'll just find it elsewhere-- because someone is going to have video of it somewhere because video is so ubiquitous now.

0 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 27, 2012)

Wifi is in many places but when traveling abroad in Europe I find that it rarely works adequately except in a handful of places. Even in my office which is 20 m from a wifi hotspot it doesn't work I have to go to the corridor (fortunately 3-3.5G does work). With my iPad half the video content online isn't even useable.

I don't think Alex meant that all people who watch online video are unemployed, but I agree with him that people who are busy doing their job do not have time for that. Did you read below the post by someone who said that online video content at media web site constantly underperform expectations in clicks. Do you have data to prove that this is not the case, except for a handful of "hit" videos?

The unusual exception is a worldwide catastrophe of other such events, in which case people do pay attention to video as well as other content.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Gidenkidenk
By Gidenkidenk (Apr 2, 2012)

T3 is such a troll. Just stop talking.

0 upvotes
polarhei
By polarhei (Feb 15, 2012)

well, I think he is too negative to view something.

Currently now, there is no any 36X24 3-Layered CMOS in the production line, so this continues.

one more thing,chemical reaction are less relying on battery.

0 upvotes
BahPhotog
By BahPhotog (Feb 16, 2012)

Huh? Are we talking something different here?

1 upvote
gogo2
By gogo2 (Feb 14, 2012)

Make love, not war.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 13, 2012)

How does Chung deal with rolling shutter? Is deep focus or small aperture a better approach when you can't get your war zone subjects to pose and act neatly? How does one "hit the dirt" while carrying a D800 DSLR? Do people in his field see any roll for mirrorless devices?

0 upvotes
Amancio Couto
By Amancio Couto (Feb 13, 2012)

We need, but at the present time is not easy. For a long time i have done, but more my person in the war.
The world changed.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 13, 2012)

why we have been shooting stills is more because of the technical constraints. before shooting we used to play fencing which is also a beautiful art that most people won't care now.

God made us with two video cameras which is a proof that video is thing and still is not.

even if it's the still that we want, we still have to shoot multiple shots in high speed, the brackets, AEB, AFB, sweep panorama, ... video for better quality.

video could mean higher quality, feature rich still.

no video, no still.

0 upvotes
aruk5
By aruk5 (Feb 13, 2012)

what he is saying sad and also true of times! I think to a certain extent digital cameras are to blame for death of photojournalism. Ever since digicams became smaller and affordable almost everybody out there has one and usually they manage to click pics of some happening event and send it to the media even before photojournalists can reach that place to shoot the said event! Plus there are a truck load of amateur photogs whose skills match up to the pros and manage to click some great pics of an event and send it to the media!

1 upvote
njb311
By njb311 (Feb 13, 2012)

I agree that digital cameras, or more specifically the ubiquity of cameras, have a lot to answer for. And I say it like that, because cost pressure on the media means they will pay less money to a random member of the public who "happened to be there and took a photo" than a professional photographer who goes/is sent to cover an event.

Sure, some amateurs have good skills. But taking money out of a more or less fixed (or declining) pot means less for people who make their living from photography. The exact same can be said of bloggers and internet amateurs taking attention away from professional writers and broadcasters.

Unfortunately, the end result is a fall in standards overall.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Feb 13, 2012)

Best thing any pro photographer can have is a partner with a proper salaried job!!

2 upvotes
Bear Bag Hanger
By Bear Bag Hanger (Feb 12, 2012)

I hope he is wrong, as well as the people who pay for his services. It just takes too long, even under ideal conditions, to view multiple videos. If true, then the people loose a valuable source of information and will in the end know much less about the world.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 12, 2012)

Wow, how quickly people forget the past! Maybe people have forgotten, but at one time photojournalists used to use film. And film took a long time to get the image out of the camera into a presentable form (the film had to get back from the field, it had to be processed, images had to be selected, those images had to be printed, and finally got into any publications they would appear in).

And in spite of all that (it took a long time, especially by today's standards), people were still able to get plenty of information and learn plenty about the world. With today's technology, I think we'll do fine. Besides, it's not like a "photojournalist" is *exclusively* going to be shooting video. They'll also be shooting stills, and they can spit those out very quickly, with the video material to follow later. No big deal. The world will not "lose a valuable source of information" and we will not "know much less about the world." Video adds to the information and knowledge.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 12, 2012)

You also have to remember that video footage *already* gets into the news channels very quickly. You act like video and news are a new thing! LOL. It's not. The only difference is that it'll be the photojournalists that will also be able to shoot video because now they all have DSLR's that can do both stills and video!

2 upvotes
IRC
By IRC (Feb 13, 2012)

I believe Bear Bag Hanger is talking about the end user experience and not the production side.

I certainly avoid video as much as possible because it's quicker to get the information from text and stills. It takes too long to watch the videos and wait for the tiny amount of information they generally contain compared to text.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Feb 13, 2012)

"for the tiny amount of information"

LOL. Ironically that's one big reason why video is growing in value in photojournalism, while the photo is depreciating in value in photojournalism. From a journalistic and informational point of view a video offers *more* information than a static photo. In other words, if video had never made its way into DSLRs, the value of photos produced by photojournalists wouldn't have sunk. But when the same photojournalist can come back with a video, which can contain so much more visual information because it isn't just one frame from an event, obviously editors and news organizations would rather have the video-- or at least photo+video. Or to think of it another way, think of the difference in informational value between the Zapruder film of JFK's assasination, versus just one frame of the Zapruder film. What if Zapruder was shooting photos rather than shooting movie footage! Imagine how much less visual info we would have had from that event!

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Feb 13, 2012)

Plus, you have to understand that for today's multi-tasking media-consuming generation, it wouldn't be unusual for people to just click on a video while reading the text. The video becomes background. You read, look over at the video, read a little more, etc. That's just the way this generation is wired. For example, Nielsen reported that "70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners said they use their devices while watching television." I know I certainly do!

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/19/nielsen-51-of-ipad-use-is-in-bed-or-in-front-of-the-tv/

The media multi-tasking is already widely occurring. So the ability for a digital magazine or newspaper to offer text, photos, and video simply fits with how today's generation consumes information. And if you don't offer information that fits with how today's audience consumes information, then they'll just go elsewhere for that information (hence the decline of print newspapers and magazines).

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 13, 2012)

Is there any more "valuable information" in a 10-second gathering of still photos than there is in a 10-second sound bite? Is a story that takes any longer than 30 seconds to tell not worth watching or hearing? Some sports events or celebrity news fit that demand, which is why many people prefer those topics to others, but not for much else.

0 upvotes
spider22
By spider22 (Mar 26, 2012)

Reading text while playing the related video in the background isn't exactly multitasking. it's just doing the same task, using 2 different senses. This is my biggest problem with video, not only do I have to look at the screen i have to listen to the video as well. not to mention wait for it to play out.

Whereas with text and pictures I can read the article browse through the gallery, all the while listening in the background something else, like music, news or podcasts. Same can be said with audio exclusive media, e.g: I can drive while listening to a audio book, but I can't watch a movie while driving.

As an additional bonus with text+pictures, I can quickly glance through it without having to watch the whole or at least 1/4 the video to get the gist of the idea.

Videos just takes too many sensory resources to enjoy.

Instead of providing more info with videos; videos are more likely used to simplify complex matters into a more palatable form. This is the strength of video

0 upvotes
PeakAction
By PeakAction (Feb 12, 2012)

Please, I've been hearing the "photojournalism is dead" thing for twenty years, during which time my work as a photojournalist has only gotten busier. Photographs and video clips, for the most part, are not totally interchangeable within a medium; they will each always have a place.

3 upvotes
One Moment
By One Moment (Feb 12, 2012)

Isn't the problem that nobody is willing to pay good money for still photography any more, period? Advertisement, sensational events, celebrities and weddings excepted? High quality printed media are disappearing, web images are decreasing in size and quality, so what's left?
I don't think video is going to be lucrative in the long run, either.

1 upvote
Tape5
By Tape5 (Feb 12, 2012)

I can scan my eyes over 20 wall mounted photographs in one minute, and appreciate the photographers’ artistic and personality characteristics and also experience the photos aesthetically. To learn the same about 20 videographers and where they went, I need a day. The artist is always more opaque in video. Video gives the viewer an illusion of being in a different space, but it fully controls what you are allowed to see or hear and because of this, one can seldom experience a deep seated private aesthetic moment with video when represented as art. Photographs do not do that as one is unaware of what lies outside their frames, and they are silent.

8 upvotes
GURL
By GURL (Feb 13, 2012)

"Video gives the viewer an illusion of being in a different space, but it fully controls what you are allowed to see or hear and because of this ..."

That a videographer often controls what the viewer will see in a much more restricting way than a photographer would is a meaningful but seldom emphasized difference!

Need a proof ? Look there: http://neunzehn72.de/wp-content/panos/hamburg-landungsbruecken-gigapixel/

0 upvotes
thebloke
By thebloke (Feb 12, 2012)

Agree with @Gasman66, it just seems like the direction Dan Chung's heading right now because the technology is available. @Holgs I too always tend to skip video preferring still images unless specifically looking for video. There's no arguing the demand for the interactivity will continue grow blurring the line between all imaging disciplines but each will still have their own niche markets.

2 upvotes
Doug
By Doug (Feb 12, 2012)

Imagine.
No photo.
Video only.
Imagine.

1 upvote
CedricL1984
By CedricL1984 (Feb 13, 2012)

Ohh NOOOOO!

2 upvotes
Holgs
By Holgs (Feb 12, 2012)

Funnily enough in reading this article, I'll look at the images, but won't bother clicking play - video requires a much more intensive interaction than still images. When I do press play, the odds of watching to the end are probably about 1/10.

I can scan a news story and images in seconds to get the message, whereas with video I'm forced to go at the pace of whoever has made it - usually online this is just too slow.

Journalism distribution channels may have changed, but stills are still very important, possibly more so now than ever before.

If you have the skill to capture a story or message in one frame, that will always be valuable, but you might have to look outside the print media for your income.

10 upvotes
RLewis
By RLewis (Feb 12, 2012)

Totally agree with Hogs. Well said.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Mar 17, 2012)

That's because most of us are here to be entertained, not to be informed.

0 upvotes
Gasman66
By Gasman66 (Feb 11, 2012)

I disagree. Dan has made a decision to "get more into video" as he calls it, so naturally is going to look for evidence which justifies his move. There also could be an ulterior motive in that he wants to boost enrolments at his video photojournalism classes.

What impressed me most about his videos was the HD quality. But while they were informative (potentially) they were not moving, and had little artistic merit. Yet any magazine or newspaper with the award-winning still photo on the front page would have me buying it - be it in paper format or on-line.

If a photographer could churn out a picture like that every day, I can't believe they couldn't make a pretty darn good living out of it. If stills photojournalism is in demise, perhaps it's the talent of the practitioners that is partially to blame also.

2 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (Feb 13, 2012)

He states his classes are already packed out, so I see no reason to suggest unwholesome motives.

However, I agree that when we adopt a new position we look for evidence to support that position, perhaps filtering out evidence to the contrary.

I'm not sure that applies fully here though. You can't deny that most major newspaper websites feature video content and as we move to iPads to consume newspapers and print dies, this trend will only increase.

It wasn't a dip in the talent of film photographers that caused the move to digital, but rather a new technology, so why suggest that photojournalists are are even partially to blame here? Once again, it's technological shifts (from print to tablets).

No need to play a specious blame game.

0 upvotes
mscore
By mscore (Feb 11, 2012)

Its not that photojournalism is dead. Journalism itself is being slaughtered. Big Media offers entertainment instead of analytical journalism because it sells better. Nothing wrong with that.

But A clip of video with narration has nothing on a well written article, illustrated with photography or not. Just as TV news is still no source for understanding current events.

I watched the video on mongolian racers and totally enjoyed the cinematic experience. Very impressive and far better that the routine news footage we are used to. But ask me something about mongolian racing and I know nothing much. Except that they restle and kids race and they won a tv. How trivial. Not the case had I read a National Geographic article about it.

7 upvotes
tmy
By tmy (Feb 13, 2012)

I very much agree. Most TV news with short clips is hardly the place for a full exposition on anything. and more and more these days, short video clips on the web are no different. Just as a single photo will only show so much, whereas a full photo essay will show more, be those in magazines of the major papers like NY Times , or those with the Observer or Times etc in the UK, or Nat Geo.
But the way modern society is faster paced and most news is "consumed" in short bites, more and more pieces on TV or print news read more like Public Relations releases and "entertainment".
there is still a place for in depth TV documentaries and "proper" journalistic articles in print media, but definitely is more of a minority.
Though, having said that, in the days before the net, I remember that papers like The Guardian and the NYTimes were always much lower in circulation than their tabloid brothers, The Sun or the New York Post.

0 upvotes
tmy
By tmy (Feb 13, 2012)

And FoxNEWS was always pretty high up there in the popularity stakes, though "news" in that was pretty debatable!

0 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (Feb 13, 2012)

There's nothing wrong with media companies offering entertainment instead of analytical journalism?

And your rationale is that it sells better?

Can you think of no value greater than money, such as a better and clearer informed electorate?

Of course these companies need to turn a profit, but if it's at the cost of not fulfilling their function (to INFORM the electorate), then journalism, which is a foundation of the democratic system, becomes mere pointless distraction.

Here's a fine example where the demands of capitalism (not to make a profit, but to MAXIMIZE profit) run antithetical to the whole democratic process.

Furthermore, ... oh, wait, Whitney Huston's just died. And there's video! Gotta run.

1 upvote
Lights
By Lights (Feb 11, 2012)

I think eventually a blend of both will occur. As the newness of video wears down, and the permanence of the still photo is again realized. There seems at least to me a need and use for both, but the pendulum is swinging at present and probably will continue for a while. It's hard to work for 'hard' print sources that no longer exist or are dying..Newspapers, magazines. Yet there is a certain transience in video and a certain permanence to stills.

0 upvotes
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 11, 2012)

The technology is important and the ubiquity of cameras capable of producing quality images and transmitting them to the world through the Internet is vital too, but the real problem is the shrinkage of print (mainly) and other outlets that pay for quality PJ work. The market is dying.

Perhaps the article is misleadingly focused -- perhaps the headline should point us to thinking about PROFESSIONAL photojournalism rather than photojournalism per se which anyone can do any time they like if they have the appropriate training , formal or informal.

4 upvotes
DuncanDovovan
By DuncanDovovan (Feb 11, 2012)

I think Dan is confusing his own growth and development into video with a generic development or need.

The picture above is a good example that Journalism with videos and stills are 2 related skills. Just like color and b&w are 2 disciplines.

For example, I think this would be hard to capture in video: http://news.yahoo.com/arab-spring-shot-wins-world-press-photo-award-100153864.html

0 upvotes
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (Feb 11, 2012)

There's certainly room for both stills and video. A short video can capture a news event as it unfolds from moment to moment. But for me nothing stirs emotions quite like a still. It makes you stop, look, wonder, think.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Mar 17, 2012)

And I wonder if the girl is sad because she lost her apple juice, or maybe she's tired, or maybe her diaper needs to be changed. The thought that usually comes to mind when I see photos is, "How am I being lied to?" The picture itself is great, but without context, it means nothing.

0 upvotes
Carl Sanders
By Carl Sanders (Feb 11, 2012)

p.s. love the work Dan and recognise a technique that we will incorporate!

0 upvotes
Carl Sanders
By Carl Sanders (Feb 11, 2012)

We embrace the video option with stills cameras, the great situation now is that video is incorporated into camera bodies and allows use whilst on location. We look forward to the purchase of a Nikon D4 and D800E. It will soon be popular as photographers realise and shoot both on an assignment.

0 upvotes
wkay
By wkay (Feb 11, 2012)

of course videojournalism is the way of the future, much easier to cram advertising down your throat..

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 11, 2012)

Yes, God forbid newspapers and magazines should actually be able to make money by selling advertising space! Writers, editors, reporters, and photojournalists should all just work for free.

0 upvotes
globethrottle
By globethrottle (Feb 11, 2012)

If the ads where there just to cover salaries for the, in this case journalists, they would not be that annoying as in some sites. This site would be a good example how to do it tho.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
EcoPix
By EcoPix (Feb 11, 2012)

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble but there's a "new golden age of photojournalism" predicted by the director of photography for a new Aussie based global newspaper, Mike Bowers. He's in an ABC radio interview, if I'm able to post the link for interest.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/mediareport/the-global-mail/3796514

0 upvotes
Nutsfortubes
By Nutsfortubes (Feb 11, 2012)

There is nothing like a still image to tell a story! What a sad state we are heeding to.

1 upvote
panos_m
By panos_m (Feb 11, 2012)

The thing is that an image by itself cannot tell a specific story. That is why every news photo needs additional text to explain what is happening in the photo. Video is much better. Add narrative and you are done. Way better storytelling than photo+text.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 11, 2012)

Can't really agree with that. In video, the creator of the film controls the viewer's time. With stills and text, the viewer can read and look at the picture at their own pace, returnining to areas of interest at will - immediately. With video there are often delays (online) and you can't switch between parts so easily. What's more people's literacy will be reduced by watching videos as it is "easy" and requires no active participation so it's lucrative to an uneducated, passive person but then we become mere organsms being fed whatever the creator of the material wants. I almost never view video online, instead preferring text and photographs. And hard copy material as well. Because I want to retain control of my time in as far as possible.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Feb 11, 2012)

Ilkka, this is a generational thing. The older generation probably has a greater fondness for the static photo. The newer generation is perfectly fine with consuming stills or video-- with probably a greater affinity for video. No need to denigrate video, or "people's literacy", or implying that "people's literacy will be reduced by watching videos". All that is silly, older-generation FUD.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 11, 2012)

It's not FUD. The more time you spend watching pre-digested pre-processed information without any interaction, the less you are interested in finding out more about things, reading, and thinking. To the younger generation the only source of information is a google search. Anything harder than that and it's largely beyond their reach. I'm not saying that they "cannot" read - it's that they don't want to. Of course, I'm not saying that everyone is like that - I am just giving my reasons why I personally do not like video. It's like tapped to an iv rather than eating yourself. A still photograph lets you meditate about things while a video is just passing feed, no time to think or see all angles, the only one is the video maker's angle. There is a reason why most young parents that I know don't let their kids watch TV. IMO TV and video because of their lack of interactive options are old-fashioned media. The internet is in many ways much better, but a little too easy for the user.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Feb 11, 2012)

Ilkka, it's FUD. Every generation thinks the next generation is worse, dumber, lazier, duller, shallower, less capable, etc, etc, etc. LOL. You're merely showing your age and your shallow, stereotypical bias. The next generation will inherit the future, and they will develop technologies that the previous generations could hardly even dream of. And you'll just take your FUD to the grave. LOL.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
panos_m
By panos_m (Feb 12, 2012)

Ilkka I was speaking strictly photojournalism. To inform about the event. Take for example the earthquake disaster in Japan last year. The hundreds of images I saw cannot tell what one shocking video of the tsunami hitting the coast can tell. That is what I will always remember not the photographs. Unfortunately? in my view journalism is not the forte of image stills. I seem them mostly to have a second role which is mainly to support the text describing the event.

0 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 13, 2012)

Well, I agree that most everyday newspaper photos have a supporting role rather equal contribution with text. But if you look at the best photos in any given issue of TIME, they can be quite striking. Best photos of the year of TIME, Newsweek, NG, they become symbols of the events and the state of humanity and life. I suppose people are different - I remember the photos of people in the ruins, not so much the shaky video. Well I do remember the video of the water coming in, it's effective in sinking in what happened at that moment, but it's not artistic. The photos of people standing or sitting on the ruins, and of the destruction, well there is nothing that video would add to that. The advantage of the stills is that it is a random access medium (video is sequential access) so you can look at it as long as you want to, get in the feeling and emotion and details, in video everything is a passing moment, not carefully composed, has little detail, the emotion on faces is not as clear.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 13, 2012)

"The advantage of the stills is that it is...you can look at it as long as you want to, get in the feeling and emotion and details, in video everything is a passing moment, not carefully composed, has little detail, the emotion on faces is not as clear." ---

This clearly shows your blind bias for photos. Yes, people may look at a photo for "as long as they want to", but the truth is that most people will only give it a brief glance. They don't sit there staring at it to "get in the feeling and emotion and detail". The reality is that, for many people these days, it's the photo that is the "passing moment".

As for video, good video can be "carefully composed" just like good photography. In fact, since a lot of good video in the future will be shot by good photographers, there's definitely going to be a crossover in style. Also, video can have just as much "detail" and "emotions on faces" as photo. After all, video is, in essence, multiple "photos" in sequence.

0 upvotes
Dan
By Dan (Mar 17, 2012)

When I want to learn how to do something, watching a video is FAR more helpful than looking at a bunch of stills.

0 upvotes
Joel2
By Joel2 (Feb 11, 2012)

All professionals have to adapt to remain valuable in the marketplace. This is because, in every industry, the tools that professionals use to do their jobs are changing. As long as someone has talent, and is willing to learn the new tools they will remain valuable. Print media is diminishing, so the demand for stills is decreasing making still images worth less. It is hard to think of an industry that hasn't shifted in some way due to technological advancements.

1 upvote
EcoPix
By EcoPix (Feb 11, 2012)

It was technology that changed PJ into camera-phone internet uploads, it was technology that changed pj-ists into videographers, so maybe technology will change the future of stills photography and its role.
I'm thinking of the D800 and the fact that we'll now have 36mp cameras around our necks. Sure, shoot the little 1080 vid for the internet, but the stills from this camera are in a different world of seeing. It can be cropped to show things we couldn't even see while videoing, and those crops will look fine on internet pages.
So now, the still image can have a roll that is impossible for the video. Make a video of a war scene. Make a super hi-res still. Show the video, then show a tiny crop from the still of a mother and child caught in the fighting, that the video could never see.
It's technology and its creative imagination and the future is wide open for both mediums.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Gidenkidenk
By Gidenkidenk (Feb 11, 2012)

Until we start having interactive newspapers, we need to keep up photojournalism. But, this is still pretty nice.

0 upvotes
David Dobreski
By David Dobreski (Feb 11, 2012)

In my opinion, photojournalism has a good 150 years left or so, until the transition to video is fully complete.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 11, 2012)

Riiight. It's going to take 150 years to "transition to video." LOL I think technology is moving a *bit* faster than that. I bet you also thought that film had "a good 150 years left or so, until the transition to digital is complete!" You didn't happen to work for Kodak, did you? LOL.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 10, 2012)

I have huge respect for Dan, but don't understand his logic. Stills photojournalism has lost its economic base as agencies and crowdsourcing have whittled away the need to pay for professional material. It seems probable that video will follow the same curve, just a bit later. As he says, there are already many amateurs exploring video with impressive competence. They will eventually seek publication for a byline, as with stills.

As for professionals being slow to transition from stills to video, it's a different medium. Those who are most committed to stills are least likely to change simply because they don't have the same fascination with the moving image. Dan is an excepton.

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 10, 2012)

Adapt or risk extinction -- or unemployment. That's all it comes down to. If someone doesn't have the "same fascination" to adapt to changes in the environment or market, that's their prerogative. A company like Kodak was "most committed to" film, and a whole lot less committed to adapting to the changes in the market that were happening all around them...and we all know how that ended.

2 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 11, 2012)

Yes, you are right, extinction - or at least loss of most income - awaits those who don't adapt.

Whilst it's true that old media are dying, it's far from certain that new media have any sort of sustainable model capable of supporting content creation. So far it does not. With very rare exceptions like the WSJ the people making money are aggregators, not publishers and certainly not creators. Unless that changes somehow, by acceptance of paywalls perhaps, then PJ stills and video both have a lean future. Sure, there will be sponsors and corporates to work for, but that's PR, not PJ.

1 upvote
bladerunner912
By bladerunner912 (Feb 11, 2012)

Tony has more eloquently summarised the points I attempted to make earlier. The issue is not simply about video or stills but making money as content creators.
Tony gets it, but I'm not sure many of you do.

0 upvotes
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (Feb 10, 2012)

Old news - anyone who has been around journalism in the last decade knows the days of a still shot or two sufficing for a story (or a career) are over. Publications want great photographers who can also take/edit video, write, create their own stories, and work independently. The evolution of the DSLR into a stills and video camera simply eliminates the dedicated video cameras; the profession changed 10 years ago.

0 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 10, 2012)

..and anyone who's tried to do both at once, and/or write and/or interview, knows that this mostly leads to mediocre, compromised results. Entirely different bits of brain are involved and different modes of thinking, never mind having to be in 2 or more places at once, juggle sound, narrative, light and unfolding events. It's an idiocy imposed by accountants who think there's no great skill in any of it, that one person can accomplish in a few hours that which formerly needed 2 or 3. They can't.

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 10, 2012)

Tony, I think this is a case of the bar being raised for photojournalists. So many people can take good photos these days. It's just not good enough to be able to take a good photo anymore. If you want to be a successful professional "photojournalist", you now need to be able to capture compelling still images and video images. Those that can cut it will be successful. Those that can't cut it won't be so successful. And simply saying, "But I can't do both! It's too hard!"...isn't going to cut it. Rise to the challenge...or go home.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 11, 2012)

"So many people can take good photos these days."

No, they can't. They're miscalibrated. I once saw a transcript of a conversation between HCB and Koudhelka, about how many really good photos they managed to produce. They both concluded about 1 every 9-12m.

I agree that a pro's job is that of filling whitespace between the ads, and that degree of good is seldom required. But if we don't aspire to it and work at it, we certainly can't achieve it.

I speak as someone who has worked professionally as a photographer and occasional writer for 30 years. I can do both, but it compromises both. Like cooking and painting. If you're doing one you aren't doing the other, you miss stuff.
I seem to recall Dan Chung saying he found it frustrating trying to shoot stills and video for the G. a few years back.

It's really a ROI issue, driven by the publisher's quest for ad revenue eyeballs. Please don't dignify it as some sort of revolutionary new form of creativity.

3 upvotes
gs0161
By gs0161 (Feb 11, 2012)

This all stems from a hundred years of "just buy the camera and press the button" marketing. People think that anyone can just stand there, push the button and shoot a video. Yes they CAN do that and it can be put on a website.

But if you want to go any further and you're doing it alone then you need dozens of different skills, many of which have no relationship with still photography at all. Because a video is a series of shots that have to go together seamlessly. The shots have a relationship to each other. There is camera and subject movement and there is sound.

0 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 11, 2012)

Precisely.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 11, 2012)

I think this is a generational thing. The younger generation is much better at multi-tasking and handling numerous fast-paced sources of external stimulation. Just watch any younger person playing Call of Duty 3 or any of the other high-paced video games that would probably fry the brain cells of anyone from the older generation. The younger generation is going to be able to handle shooting videos and/or stills just fine. In fact, they won't even know of any cameras that *can't* shoot both stills and video. It's something that they've grown up with, just like smart phones, tablets, social media, etc. To them, it will seem like second nature. And eventually, the older generation will just have to step aside and let the younger generation take over.

You'll see. In the very near feature, it's just not going to be a big deal. The things that you guys are describing as daunting skills that are difficult, if not impossible, to master will seem second nature to the young bloods.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
i_dream
By i_dream (Feb 10, 2012)

I think a Photograph makes you to stay still and think. Also it builds the feel.

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 12, 2012)

But the reality is that most people these days just give a momentary glance at photos. If you really want people to "stay still and think" and to "build the feel", show them a video. They are a lot less likely just to glance at a video. They want to stay and see what happens, see what unfolds before their eyes. Photos, on the other hand, are static. That's why most people just take in a photo in a second or two.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Catalin Stavaru
By Catalin Stavaru (Feb 10, 2012)

I don't know much about the subject but I must say that the presented movie and picture are both stunning !

0 upvotes
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Feb 10, 2012)

That is very enlightening and interesting reading article Dp-review.com especially by a professional like Dan.

0 upvotes
TomUW
By TomUW (Feb 10, 2012)

Repeatedly using the term "DSLR Video" makes this article sounds like it was sponsored by an SLR manufacturer. oh wait....
He keeps going on about "DSLR Video". There are SLR still cameras that also shoot video, that videographers choose to use sometimes. Just like there are chefs that choose to use Shun kitchen knives. But there is no meaningfully useful term "Shun Meals". Nor is there any such meaningful thing as "DSLR Video". Very irritating and irrelevant to anything I can think of. As a videographer that is not doing still photography, what does it matter that the tool used could shoot stills via SLR technology? Likewise I've never said to a chef "Nice meal! What brand of kitchen knife did you not use?"
I really don't think a point of the article is that SLRs is the wave of the future for video news.

2 upvotes
jamooreBPPA
By jamooreBPPA (Feb 10, 2012)

Dan what you mean is 'No Future in Photojournalism' for you!
You know I love but sometimes you do talk rubbish.
After http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_of_Man in 1955 they said Photojournalism was dead and its corpse is still twitching.

http://www.worldpressphoto.org/photo/2012alejandrokirchukdls1-al?gallery=2634
Now that is Photojournalism .

3 upvotes
PzSniper
By PzSniper (Feb 10, 2012)

Wow..that's a punch in your stomach... so touching, thank you for sharing. A video can't catch these moments...

1 upvote
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (Feb 10, 2012)

I agree to an extent - the article comes across as somewhat ego-filled "I've done it so it's dead and what I'm doing now is the future". Video will never replace photography; just as photography will not replace video. The obvious fact is that editors/owners want more content for the same price so they can charge more for their online sites as they continually become the primary revenue stream. That cheap content is video ... unfortunately it's often very poorly shot and edited at the local level.

2 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 10, 2012)

Dan's right. The ecology of PJ has collapsed. Yes, there is a living still at the high end, albeit precarious. But how do people get that good without years of survival, practice and learning? The bread and butter stuff that sustained them, from whom a few stars might eventually emerge, has largely evaporated. It is not sustainable any more. And OK, yes, some are wealthy enough or have wealthy parents, to become trust fund professionals. But really, great photos get made despite the business nowadays, and I bet half the WPP winners are really struggling to make ends meet.

1 upvote
peter42y
By peter42y (Feb 11, 2012)

I am no expert in the subject but I am sure photography will not die entirely.
For thousands of years people have been depicting the world around them through painting , still images.
Television did not kill radio completely. Neither did it kill photography. This website by instance is hugely popular and it is mainly a still photo website.
he importance of photography might decrease indeed but I believe there will be always people around that will enjoy to watch , take pictures.

0 upvotes
WalterPaisley
By WalterPaisley (Feb 10, 2012)

Even if one had a serious desire for a career in photojournalism today, the entry requirements would be well beyond most, e.g.: degree from top school(s), internship(s) with top media organizations, connections, etc etc.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (Feb 10, 2012)

I couldn't disagree more; none of those things will get you jobs with top agencies and/or publications. One thing will, above all, get you a job in the business of photojournalism: stellar results (photography/video/stories).

0 upvotes
Tony Sleep
By Tony Sleep (Feb 10, 2012)

Correct up to the point you used the "job" word. There are almost no jobs in PJ now, and fewer remain by the year. You work as a freelance, ad hoc on commission, or via agencies, on spec at your own cost and risk, or not at all. This is at best a precarious existence. The days of company kit, car, salary and expenses are long gone.

0 upvotes
gs0161
By gs0161 (Feb 10, 2012)

Video and stills are two completely different things. I've seen it suggested that people can stand there shooting HD video and then somehow pull out a perfect still from all the frames. What they probably can do in most cases is pull out an average, often blurry, frame which is poorer than the shot a stills photographer would get in the same situation.

A video shutter speed that gives smooth motion (1/50th sec), is often too slow for a nice sharp still. And despite 25 frames per second, the shutter may be closes at the ideal moment.

Then there's the camera position and framing. Video shots don't need to exist in isolation because they are edited together with other shots. The best position for a particular video shot may be not good for a still at all. For instance if you're shooting an interview you can't just cut in a low angle on one person because in a video that can suggest a power relationship when it's edited (yeah film school really isn't important).

2 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Feb 10, 2012)

I don't get your argument. No one is saying those things should be approached in the same way for motion and stills. If you understand shutter speed, you will understand why you would want 1/50 for motion and why you wouldn't want that for some stills.

Its like the principles of a diesel engine in a car vs a ship. Totally different applications but the same fundamental principle. If you teach someone how to work on a car diesel engine, they can apply 90% of those principles to working on the much larger ship engine.

0 upvotes
gs0161
By gs0161 (Feb 10, 2012)

Believe me I do understand. I earned 50% of my living as a photographer working for national magazines for 15 years using manual cameras. I have also worked as a cameraman and editor using video and 16mm film.

The fact is that some people ARE making out that still photography is dead because you can grab a few frames from video and that's one part of the whole DSLR thing.

I think you're wide of the mark suggesting that 90% of the same principles apply to both stills and video. Some do things apply to the cameras equally (focusing, exposure). But a video editor will not thank you for handing him/her footage that has been shot by a stills photographer who isn't trained in video because it won't contain what is needed: cutaways and reaction shots, two-shots that don't "cross the line", establishing shots, decent sound, background atmosphere recordings to help with editing and so it continues...

2 upvotes
Thomas Traub
By Thomas Traub (Feb 10, 2012)

As long as photo-journalists make photos for papers and as long this photos in this papers dont move like a movie in the newspapers like they do in Harry Potter, there is still a place for still

;-)

2 upvotes
golfzilla
By golfzilla (Feb 11, 2012)

Sorry Thomas, newspapers distributed on that stuff called "paper" are dying quickly. Net news distribution venues have videos embedded as a normal thing. Same goes for magazines.

0 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 11, 2012)

They may be on the decline (I don't know the data but there is no shortage of papers and magazines on the shelves so the industry still exists; I often read the Economist, Time, GEO, NG etc. and the quality is fine) but no one is willing to pay for online content so there's only advertising money in it. Quality of online content is poor compared to paper content on top newspapers and top newsmagazines. Video content on newspaper websites is probably the worst of all, with no skills and little editing evident. So it might as well not exist - no one is going to watch that shaky stuff. At least on TV the footage is usually watchable, made by professionals.

So since there is no money for production of online editorial content the paper versions are really the ones that can sustain the cost of making content. "On the decline" is better than having no money (for content production, fact checking etc.) at all. If the paper magazines and newspapers die, so will most fact checked content.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Thomas Traub
By Thomas Traub (Feb 10, 2012)

If I would get a film-camera, I would immediately sell it ....

I think that making stills and making films are two complete different things, linke riding a horse or riding a bike. Nothing is better or worse, these are two different things.

But he is right, when he says, that the barriere is not the technique, it is the imagination and that means it is the photographer himself.

1 upvote
gs0161
By gs0161 (Feb 10, 2012)

This is just the usual hype about equipment I'm afraid. When I was interviewed by Channel4 News in 2000 the guy used a DV camcorder costing, I would guess, around £2,500. But now we're supposed to believe that the advent of DSLRs that do video and that cost £5,000 has made a diffference? That guy had the job because he was talented and had learnt skills that could be applied to any video camera.

I've carried a camera and a camcorder for years. How much would it cost these days for a camcorder that gives quality TV would be happy with? Much less that a £5,000 DSLR!

It's about the person behind the camera, their ability and having the skills. They don't need to go on a "using a 30-year-old video camera" course to be able to use that camera and get good results. Nor do they need to do on a DSLR course to use that for video.

And if you don't have the basic creativity then no course is going to help.

0 upvotes
Hatton Photo One
By Hatton Photo One (Feb 10, 2012)

Hi,
Take a look at the winner of the World Press Photo Award by Samuel Aranda and you can see why the "still" is not dead. Video has it's place right next to stills.

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/world-press-photo-winner-announced
Chung needs to make a living but photjournalism is not tied to money. He is right about anybody can now capture the moment because everybody has a camera phone with them. This is great news because now we won't miss an important moment because there were not enough AP photographers to cover a story.

0 upvotes
Essai
By Essai (Feb 10, 2012)

the guy is 100% wrong...

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Feb 10, 2012)

Well, then prove him wrong. Be a stills-only photojournalist for the next few years and report back to us how things worked out for you a few years from now.

3 upvotes
Essai
By Essai (Feb 10, 2012)

ok

2 upvotes
moimoi
By moimoi (Feb 10, 2012)

Fortunately, there is still room for photojournalism...I disagree with Chung's comments as he suggested that photojournalism is a dying breed. The fact is that photography and video are two complementary medias, but I doubt that one dies for the other. There are simply captured moments, for which video will never be able to replace photography.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-16979784

This article probably aims at putting some dynamic into the discussion photography vs. video, but nothing more.

If photojournalism has no future, then the world photography as we know today will be very boring indeed.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 10, 2012)

Photojournalism has a future, yes. But only the photojournalist who can also handle video will have a job, unless he is the owner's son-in-law, niece of a board member, or the CEO's recently-appointed "special personal advisor" met on vacation somewhere.

2 upvotes
moimoi
By moimoi (Feb 10, 2012)

Yes, I do agree with you. But the title was written in a way, which actually does not apply what it is really happening.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
koolbreez
By koolbreez (Feb 12, 2012)

Chung did not imply photojournalism was dying period, he stated that as a way to make a living photojournalism does not do it by itself, he had to expand his revenue sources to make a living.

This is because everyone has camera with them nowdays, and supplies photos to news agencies. This has greatly reduced the amount of money being paid for the same photograph that was being taken 10 years ago, or in some cases even less.

This first became the case in the stock photography market, and has now flowed over into the photojournalism market. There is no longer the prices being payed for a photo as there used to be, so much so that it is extremely difficult to depend on photojounalism as your sole source of income. That's all he's saying. He's not saying photojournalism is dead, quite the oposite. There are more photojournalists now than there ever were. They just aren't depending on it as their sole source of income.

1 upvote
mike55
By mike55 (Feb 10, 2012)

Photojournalism is dying because corporations have taken over the newsroom. The editors today don't know difference between the news section and the opinion section. What they report as news is just a biased opinionated piece of fluff.

1 upvote
Essai
By Essai (Feb 10, 2012)

"Photojournalism is dying because corporations have taken over the newsroom. "

you think this is something new ? Really ?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 278
123