'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.'
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.'
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.'
'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
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.
Now that our Panasonic Lumix S1R has final firmware, we couldn't wait to get out shooting with it - and we also tried the high-res mode, which combines files to get 187 megapixel images. Because sometimes, 47 megapixels just isn't enough.
DroneShield has announced a partnership with NASCAR to use its trifecta of drone-disabling technology at events held at Texas Motor Speedway.
In this article, travel and landscape photographer Mitch Green encourages us to spend more time in the the field.
the lens lacks any electronics whatsoever and is constructed entirely of glass and metal. Of course, that comes at the expense of weight — this thing weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.43lbs.
Drones can be useful tools in urban areas, where they're utilized for everything from news reporting to building inspections, but flying in these areas requires careful preparation. Here's what you need to know to do so safely.
Hasselblad has released a new cable release and USB double battery charger for its X1D medium format camera .
After a report published by NBC News, Flickr has taken heat for allegedly letting IBM 'scrape' photos for use in its facial recognition datasets. But the problem isn't what it seems on the surface.
Samyang has announced the impending arrival of the AF 85mm F1.4 FE lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Some Photoshop shortcuts are simple and obvious. Others, not so much. Here are 15 shortcuts that are actually useful.
Twitter has redesigned its in-app camera for easier access from the timeline screen.
Independent cinema lens manufacturer SLR Magic has announced it will offer all of its existing MicroPrime range in the Fujifilm X mount and has even created a Fuji-specific 12mm lens.
We've updated our buying guides with three more cameras: the Canon EOS RP, Nikon Z6 and Olympus E-M1X.
CFexpress 2.0 cards will come in three different form factors, each of which will offer different maximum speeds.
Lensbaby has added a third tilt lens to its Optic Swap system, this time a 35mm lens, adding to the existing 50mm and 80mm options.
Sigma has released firmware updates for a number of its lenses as well as its EF-E adapter to address various errors and features with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
We've added the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400 to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide. These two mirrorless models pack in a lot of features for just $900 body only.
Instagram, Facebook and other Facebook-owned services are down for users around the world.
Think Tank Photo has unveiled its new Vision series of shoulder bags, including the Vision 10, Vision 13 and Vision 15.
The OPPO Reno series will be launched on April 10 but some details have already been spotted on the web.
Insta360 has unveiled its latest camera, as well as a new VR headset app and a specialized smartphone cover that makes it possible to view 3D video on standard smartphones.
A fresh crop of ready-for-anything compacts has been added to our buying guide – just in time for Spring Break.
At the Hydrogen One launch RED promised a range of bolt-on modules designed to expand the device's feature set. However, there is now doubt if those modules will ever be released.
Due to growing concerns about drones around regulated airspace, no-fly zones in the United Kingdom will be more than four times larger than before starting March 13.
Huawei clearly hasn't learned its lesson and once again has been busted for trying to pass off DSLR photos as images taken with one of its upcoming smartphones.