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Is professional documentary photography dead?

Hi everyone,

I’m the editor of an online magazine of photography, focusing on documentary photography and photojournalism, F8Magazine. You can download it for free on their website: http://www.f8mag.com

One of my personal motivations for editing the magazine is my interest in documentary photography. Because of widespread access to digital photography, many amateur photographers have access to high quality photographic material, and many of them can take photos of higher quality. Every day the market is more saturated with photographers who make reportage.

In the era of digital photography, citizen journalism, YouTube, Flickr and thousands of websites, the figure of a hired documentary photographer feels like a lonely dinosaur in danger of extinction.

I believe that the editors or curators will be professional artists of tomorrow. What do you think about the future of documentary photography? Is there still a place for professionals? can we discover new values in documentary photography through amateur photographers?

What do you think? Would like to share your thoughts on the matter?

by Miguel Moya at 2011-06-09 14:37:09 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Simply because people have better access to tools doesn’t mean they can replace expert practitioners. The market is changing and shrinking but I think there will always be a space for documentary photojournalists…

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2011 15:06 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→
Hi Miguel, I wrote a piece last year about future of photojournalism… still think it is relevant today as nothing really changed on the photoJ side since then in terms of innovation and willingness to survive beyond the golden age era.
Here’s the link: http://www.gholubowicz.com/bulb/2010/12/sortir-du-cadre-think-wider-future-of-photojournalism-in-english/


by Gerald Holubowicz | 15 Jun 2011 20:06 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
David Campbell wrote quite eloquently about this in a series of articles called “Revolutions in the Media Economy”


by Jonathan Lipkin | 15 Jun 2011 21:06 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
My view, is that the argument that “photojournalism is dead” is not only deeply flawed and largely baseless but incredibly boring.

There are issues however, and challenges facing our industry, as with most creative industries.

I think part of the problem is also the large amount of online photojournalism and photography magazines who, despite giving story-tellers a platform for their work, don’t/can’t/won’t pay them or fund the projects. This is a double-edged sword but it’s ultimately counter-productive. It’s also a problem in journalism and other creative fields but seems very prevalent in photography.

As photographers, we need to start embracing new models of funding and revenue generation and think like entrepreneurs as well as ‘artists.’ But also, publications – print and online – need to get off their arses, generate some revenue and be prepared to invest in quality content to create a great product!

Ultimately however, with regard to your main point, I think Damaso has it spot on:

“Simply because people have better access to tools doesn’t mean they can replace expert practitioners. The market is changing and shrinking but I think there will always be a space for documentary photojournalists…”

by Jack Laurenson | 16 Jun 2011 22:06 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
it’s not dead yet. I’m still living from documentary.
if you need some one on the field, you can contact me.
Best Ollivier


by ollivier girard | 23 Jun 2011 16:06 | Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso | | Report spam→
I’ve put myself already above this issue, I could’t care less. If some media are happy using mediocre images and if people are okay watching it, well that’s fine with me. The more crap the better.

Is pj’ism dead?….ask the editors!

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 23 Jun 2011 17:06 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
It hasn’t gone the way of the Dodo, but any more doo-doo and it will join the Dodo.

by Mikethehack | 05 Jul 2011 19:07 | Way up my own ass, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Not really dead, but web use of images need a decent ethic use..fotoquote is almost totally ignored by news websites, that rely on low cost images, even if they have top-selling pop-up ads in the site..this is strongly happening here..
Market will change, I don’t think that photojournalism is dead or will die, but times are hard now, is this a new thing in other sectors perhaps?

by Gabriele Lopez | 05 Jul 2011 23:07 | Cagliari, Italy | | Report spam→
Are we talking about making money or about good documentary photography? They might not be one and the same.

by Barry Milyovsky | 06 Jul 2011 00:07 | Manhattan, United States | | Report spam→

by Hernan Zenteno | 06 Jul 2011 03:07 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
By the way, citizen journalism, youtube and other things you mentioned nothing have to do with this issue. Documentary need to be done with some mint and soul, you need to know what you want to tell. Not the hard news, this is another story. The problem is that editors and heads of the media ignore a lot of issues because some entity said that don’t fit in the x media. You still can make a life working for a lot of magazines and newspapers and there was include articles about the positive increase of subscriptions with the new ipad or whatever devices you want of this kind. The problem is the contain. I doubt very good documentaries are well paid. You need a little fortune to end one. And help a lot if you cover an issue in the radar of the big capitalists countries. Documentary and photojournalism never will die. Make a live doing it yes. Hope this help.

by Hernan Zenteno | 06 Jul 2011 03:07 (ed. Jul 6 2011) | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
today with your mobile phone u can make an instant and good job and send it for free to media

by char abumansoor | 06 Jul 2011 06:07 | beirut, Lebanon | | Report spam→
Is free media the same as a free lunch?

by Mikethehack | 06 Jul 2011 11:07 | Way up my own ass, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
“Is free media the same as a free lunch? "


by john d | 06 Jul 2011 14:07 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I am not sure that I understand the allusion of a free lunch with regard to free media. In fact, I not sure what free media is. Would you explain, Mikethehack?

by Barry Milyovsky | 07 Jul 2011 00:07 | Manhattan, United States | | Report spam→
most published work in local and international media are free dowmloaded i dont or i am sure that no body pay all this image fees.

by char abumansoor | 07 Jul 2011 05:07 | beirut, Lebanon | | Report spam→

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Miguel Moya, Miguel Moya
La Habana , Cuba ( HAV )
Gerald Holubowicz, Photojournalist Gerald Holubowicz
Paris , France
Jonathan Lipkin, Professor, Photographer Jonathan Lipkin
Professor, Photographer
Brooklyn , United States
Jack Laurenson, Photojournalist & Writer Jack Laurenson
Photojournalist & Writer
London , United Kingdom
ollivier girard, Documentary Photographer ollivier girard
Documentary Photographer
Ouagadoufou , Burkina Faso
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom
Gabriele Lopez, Photographer Gabriele Lopez
Milan , Italy
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
char abumansoor, photographer char abumansoor
Beirut , Lebanon
john d, retired hooligan john d
retired hooligan
(whats a tagline?)
Istanbul , Turkey


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