Chronological Stages Of Photojournalism Essay Research Paper

Chronological Stages Of Photojournalism Essay, Research Paper


The origins of photojournalism can be seen in documentary photography as early as the 1870?s. People were interested as to what far away countries looked like and what famous people looked like but never had the chance to see them. Photographers such as Roger Fenton went out and took photographs of the English troops in the Crimea. Over the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Matthew Brady brought together many photographers including Tim O? Sullivan to cover the American Civil War (1861-1865). Tim O? Sullivan went on to document Nevada and the Rockies. All used collodion plates.

Documentary photography then progressed and went on to show the lives of the poor. Dr. Bernado hired professional photographers to take photographs of the boys who were brought in to the homes and then these photographs were mounted onto card and sold to raise money for the homes. John Thomson in 1877 published a book, Street Life in London; it contained photographs of the poor people in London.

There are many elements that contributed to the beginnings of photojournalism, the 35mm camera was the main breakthrough and avid new photo reporters were eager to go out and take photographs. Editors of newspapers and magazines began to see the potential of photography and how it could make the sales of their newspapers and magazines rise. The idea that people could look at the news instead of reading it meant that many more people could understand what was going on in the far reaches of the world. Compulsory education for children of up to 10 years of age started around 1880-1890?s, this meant that far more people could read although not perfectly but enough to read the captions placed beneath the photographs.

People at the time were fascinated with how people lived in other parts of the world and to be able to see the actual thing instead of just reading about it was a fantastic thing. People of all classes could view the entire world from the pages of newspapers and magazines. The birthplace of photojournalism was in Germany with the advancement of technology, manufacturers started to look into producing better quality lenses. Germany already had the most sophisticated printing technology and this was absolutely necessary to mass-produce thousands of prints for weekly magazines. They researched designs on new types of glass. In 1914 Oscar Barnack was a designer working for Leitz a German company which made microscopes. He designed a camera for his own personnel use which used a 35mm wide film made for movie cameras and within the next ten years Leitz developed the model and put it on the market under the name Leica. This was the

true beginning of photojournalism, armed with a compact and reliable camera photographers could take amazing photographs without any hassle.

The camera in the foreground is the

1924 model and the camera in the

background is a 1960?s model of the

same camera. The name Leica came

from Lei/tz and ca/mera. Press

photographers were not keen on the

35mm format as when enlarged a

coarse grain pattern appeared.

It was not until the 1930?s-1940?s

that emulsion technology improved.

Photographers became spontaneous with the new Leica 35mm cameras. Gone were the days of studio photography and posing, instead photographers could go out into the streets and take photographs of everyday situations. As there was not any more waiting for the long exposures people went out and if they saw something which was good they could point and shoot. This was revolutionary. You could see how the reporter felt by the way he composed his photograph and by what the actual subject was.

The 1925 Ermanox was a 6 x 9-cm plate and had a max aperture of f1.8. This camera was popular as used with sensitive plates it would give almost instant exposures using indoor light; there was no need for burning flashpowder. This camera used glass plates that had to be removed after each exposure. Therefore people began to take ?candid? photographs and this improved many newspapers and magazines during the 1930?s. During the 1920?s a large number of mass-media magazines all illustrated with photographs flooded onto the German market. Before the development of the Leica and the Ermanox photographers had to drag around a large plate camera, many editors did not know of these two new cameras which had been developed. Kurt Korff editor of the Berlin illustrated Newspaper (BIZ) realised that the conservative press photographers had came to a dead end although it did have its achievements.

In 1921 the Communist Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) was founded, one of its many contributors was John heartfield. He was famous for his new style in photomontages, meanwhile in Hungary another magazine Erdekes Ussag was another early example of photojournalism. In 1923 the Munich Illustrated Press (MIP) was first published its editor was Hungarian Stephan Lorant. The BIZ and MIP soon reached a circulation of half a million. Many more magazines followed such as; the Hamburg Illustrated and the Frankfurt Illustrated there were also a small amount of other magazines on the market.

The Berlin Illustrated Newspaper was in lead of all the other magazines, which was due to the serial novels that were aimed at the middle-class reader. The cover of most magazines were dominated by a large photograph, AIZ, Picture Post and New York?s Life had the cover completely dominated by a large photograph while the BIZ had a white border around the edges due to a technical reason. This made the magazines more attractive and made then stand out from the racks of endless magazine and newspapers. If it were not for the editors who were willing to experiment with the new cameras and explore new areas these magazines would not have been possible.

Instead of words telling a story the photographs took over and the story would be based around a theme of photographs. Erich Salomon was the BIZ most talented photographer and a Jewish doctor. He became well known when he published pictures taken secretly at a murder trial; these proved so successful that he became a full-time professional. He got the top stories for the BIZ as he took advantage of his ability to speak seven languages and often dressed up in disguise and got into political conferences. Using the Ermanox he took photographs with the camera half hidden under his jacket, as the Ermanox had a big aperture and could be used indoors with artificial light he succeeded in producing photographs that were unique for that time.

Another candid photographer was Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), he began taking photographs at the age of 14 and by the age of 29 he had sold his first photograph. He began his free-lance career in 1928 working for Pacific and Atlantic Photos’ Berlin office. He used a Miroflex camera and produced many stunning photographs. In 1935 he moved on to live in America where he purchased a Rolleiflex camera and just a year later he became of the few original photographers for Life Magazine. Using a 2 ?? Rolleiflex camera he would mix in with crowds and take candid photographs. The Rolleiflex did not have to be held to the eye to use, therefore he just stood motionless, clicking away at American soldiers saying their goodbyes to their wives and loved ones.

One of his most famous photographs was in New York?s Time Square on VJ 1945. It shows a sailor passionately kissing a nurse, Eisenstaedt had always liked spontaneous photography and this was a perfect example. Although the photograph looks like it has been staged, it has not and this is the beauty of photojournalism. People of the public began to see how good spontaneous photography could be.

Photojournalism allowed the world to the truth. Rumours could be made about wars and who was winning, what the conditions were like, but nobody had proof. Photojournalists provided the world with proof and allowed people to see what was going on hundreds and thousands of miles away. Photojournalists have reported so many important events though the century and without these great, talented photographers we would have a very boring media. Photojournalists cover all sorts of events, from simple everyday things to important meeting with politicians and wars.

Carl Mydans was another great photographer of Life Magazine. He followed General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines in January 1945 this was when America was at war with Japan. Mydans could have easily been killed by enemy fire, but he continued on, producing some great photographs that the public would later see in Life magazine.

Mydans began his career as a photographer for a New York newspaper. He then went on to work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) whose job it was to photograph the lives of farmers and their families.

This project emphasised rural life and the negative impact of the Great Depression. He went all over America documenting families whose lives had been changed by the very strong and harsh winds know as the Great Dust Bowl. As their farms stopped producing crops they were reluctantly forced to look for a new life, many migrated to cities. These photographs show the hardships of life and the problems that people have to overcome. Starting in 1935 and lasting ten years until 1945 this project was extremely vast about 164,000 black and white photographs were produced. They did not only cover the Great Depression, but also the mobilisation of troops for World War II.

Another very famous photojournalist was Robert Capa, born

on October 22nd 1913 in Pest. He was a brave man who made very clear that photography was his main passion in life. He was a war correspondent (1936) in the Spanish Civil War and during this period he took some shocking and very realistic photographs. One of his most famous is of a soldier moments after he had been shot-he is suspended in mid-air and you are not sure what has happened. He later worked as war correspondent in the Japanese-Chinese War in 1938. Capa was another great photographer who worked for Life magazine. He covered the Normandy invasion and was just like any other soldier, he went out from one of the first landing crafts and produced some of the best photographs of the Second World War. Capa himself said, ?If your pictures aren?t good enough, you aren?t not close enough.? He clearly believed in what he preached. In 1948 he covered the fighting in Palestine and finally in 1954 he covered the French Indochina War for Life magazine, and while walking onto a field he stepped onto a landmine which almost instantly killed him. The ironic thing about his death is that he volunteered to go and cover the war-thus sealing his own tomb. He was found still clutching his Leica camera when he died. With photographers as dedicated as Robert Capa photojournalism flourished and completely took over from just plain text newspapers and magazines.

Photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White allowed people to see the true horror of the Nazi regime. She produced some very disturbing photographs of prisoners in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. This was something completely different form all the other photographs of the Second World War, as it was not actually soldiers but innocent people who had been made to look like the enemy of the Nazi regime.

Nowadays news-stands are full of magazines and newspapers all with photographs. They have become a thing, which is taken for granted people no longer see how important these images are. We still see today photographs that are very disturbing yet they are not only of wars but also from natural disasters like earthquakes and famines.

Photojournalists have covered just about everything, from sporting events to political events and war. By looking at magazines like Life and Picture Post though the years we can see how photojournalism has evolved and how photographers have improved their skills and how photojournalism has changed over the decades.

The following series of photographs are taken from Life Magazine, they portray people and events of their time.

This is Chief Petty Office Graham Jackson mourning the death of President Roosevelt on the 12th August 1945. The photographer Ed Clark took this photograph to show how no matter what colour a person was they were all united in their grief and mourning for the President.

This photograph taken by W. Eugene Smith was part of a pictorial essay of Spain. This photograph shows many emotions and the colour-black just emphasises the mood of the people.

J.R. Eyerman wanted to show with this photograph how people follow whatever is popular of the time. This photograph from the 1952 was taken in the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood; everyone is wearing the latest in movie viewing technology-3D glasses. Eyerman tried to capture the popular things of the times before they rapidly died out and changed. The beauty about this photograph is the pattern formed by the audience, they all have suit and tie and these silly looking glasses.

Photojournalism covers everything that is of interest to the public and without photojournalism we would not know about so many different things that go on in our world.

Photojournalists are our eyes to the unseen events that go on- Fred J. Maroon provided an opportunity to examine the role of photojournalism in a difficult period of American political history. Maroon photographed Nixon while he was in office, from 1969-1974. Maroon was one of the only photographers who were allowed to get up close to Nixon, he photographed him from his inauguration though to the Watergate hearings and finally his resignation.

Photojournalists did not only show negative things such as wars and famines. With the Moon landing in 1969 the photographs showed the reader what the human race can achieve- good things for all of mankind. Although the photographs were obviously not taken by photojournalists they are still part of photojournalism. The photographs were on the front page of every newspaper world-wide and also on the covers of magazines. But the special thing about the moon landing was that it was the end result of the great space race and from the beginning of the race to the end photojournalists were there to record it. Starting with the Russians, who were the first to successfully launch a satellite in October 1957, followed by the first man to orbit the Earth-Yuri Gagarin. This photograph shows the Russian people raising their new-found hero, who later received the countries highest medal-Hero of the Soviet Union. In America the atmosphere was completely different and the photojournalists showed this also.

The two men who are in the photograph (left) are astronauts who are obviously upset with the news from Russia. Photojournalists managed to portray many emotions into their photographs. The above photograph could be mistaken for other things rather than joy and happiness, but it shows how the country was brought together to celebrate the great achievement of Yuri Gagarin. The photograph below shows the enormous size of the rockets used to propel the spacecraft into the endless darkness of space.

And the end result of the space race- Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon. Neil Armstrong took most of the photographs,

Nowadays photojournalism dominates all our newspapers and magazines. People no longer just read they also have the photographs to go with the story. There are endless amounts of photographs that help to tell a story. Many photographs even end up convicting people of secret affairs or meeting for illegal business. Free-lance photographers know as the paparazzi try to get as close up to famous people and any other people who may be in the public eye. They may wait outside of the home of a star for hours until they can get a shot-which they then sell to newspapers or magazines. So photojournalism


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