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Can Photojournalism Survive in the Instagram Era?
|Former Marine Infantry Sergeant Jeff Gramlich with his family in Buffalo, New York. From 'Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, 2011' by Jennifer Karady.|
With newspapers laying off photographers and picture editors, and the rise of 'citizen journalism', can traditional photojournalism survive? Nonprofit news organization Mother Jones has published an interesting interview with photographer Fred Richin, whose new book 'Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary and the Citizen' aims to explore the current state of the profession, and answer some of the questions about its future.
Fred Richin is a Pulitzer prize nominated photographer, writer, and publisher, and former photo editor of the New York Times magazine. Mother Jones describes his new book as 'a vigorous wake-up call to photojournalists to innovate or die'.
In the interview, Richin describes what the recent Chicago Sun-Times layoffs mean for photographers: 'Given today's budgets for journalism, my guess is that quite a few photographers will be fired in the near future. But I certainly hope that many visual journalists will be hired or funded along the way as well - we urgently need their perspectives.'
|An Afghan soldier protects his face from a dust storm. Balazs Gardi / Basetrack.org, Creative Commons.|
For Richin, the revolution occurring in his trade is not all bad news. Richin describes modern photojournalism as 'a hybrid enterprise of amateurs and professionals', but he isn't against the former camp, saying 'many who are making cellphone images [have] a stake in the outcome of what they are depicting. In some ways this makes their work more honest'.
But what photojournalism really needs, suggests Richin, are 'curators to filter this overabundance, more than [...] new legions of photographers'. Richin makes an interesting point about so-called 'citizen journalism', saying 'citizen journalism is not only sending in comments and making images with cellphones but also supporting good journalism, including photography. Citizen journalism is not only the right to self-express but the right to act like a citizen and not a consumer'.