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Photojournalism or Documentary ?

Are Photojournalism diferent than Documentary Photo?

Can someone tell me anything about.

by David Coll Blanco at 2006-05-17 11:07:07 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Tokyo, Japan , Japan | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I’m a noob in photojournalism and a rube in documentary
and all, but by their nature i think photojournalism is
more concerned with current affairs (marketable images
for papers and magazines) images telling stories with
“journalistic” significance. Where as documentary is
more specified and potentially less concerned with the
current “trends” of the mass marketing media and more
with commercially non-viable “stories” and to create an
overview of some aspect of the world that probably won’t
be front page (or any page) news.

(Some people will say documentary is also getting a farmer
and putting him infront a paper backdrop and making some nice
pretty portable lighting set up and getting him to chew corn
etc etc, because he’s a farmer and your “documenting him” One
of my old KIAD tutors told me that ALL photography is documentary,
as you are documenting a moment, if you get your friend to pose as
the mona lisa painted red tied to a ceiling, according to her that
was still documentary photography….) <— all that is a pile of horse shit

i think as long as your capturing life in the act of living call it
what you will, photojournalism or documentary….

and if that don’t answer it the wise words of the Ugly from the good
the bad and the ugly:

The Ugly:
“If you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”

by Ed Thompson | 17 May 2006 11:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Documentary photography is unmarketable and largely unpublished. Photojournalism has sex appeal and pays money.

by [former member] | 17 May 2006 11:05 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Bob thats beautiful ‘To write with light’. Ergo, to tell tales with light, thats what a photojournalist does. Thats going in my ‘Quote’ notebook/sketch pad! Thanx Bob!

by lisa hogben | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Would you settle for full attribution and a six pack of Vic Bitter?

by lisa hogben | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
As the scholars for the books sourced by Dan Brown for the Da Vinci Code discovered, statements of facts can’t be copyrighted!

by [former member] | 17 May 2006 12:05 (ed. May 17 2006) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Dont do it Bob! VB is dog piss in a can.

by [former member] | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
nice turn for the discussion :) … keep it going, please. i’m all eyes and ears.

by G. Muj | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Transylvania, Romania | | Report spam→
G it is obvious that Nathan comprehends nothing of the finer qualities of Australian beer. But as everyone else in the world knows “if you’ve got a big old thirst, you need a big cold beer and that beer is Victoria Bitter” A priceless reward for Bob’s beautiful phrase. But as Preston mentioned a statement of fact cannot be copyrighted I will have to renege on my deal with Bob about usage! (I hope someone documented that!)

by lisa hogben | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Lisa, Wasn’t it a stubbie of VB that Bob Hawk (Prime Minister of Australia at the time) was drinking poolside in his little red speedos during that live Chanel 9 News interview after Australia won the America’s Cup in 1987? Ever tried EB? I had quite a taste for MB before being turned onto Asahi and well, you know, beers with names not initials.

by [former member] | 17 May 2006 12:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
lisa, i’m your witness! then, i have never tried VB, but i tried fosters .. isnt’ that australian too? and i must admit i could almost trade a …. not a lens, but one finger, for one good cold australian beer on a hot day in india (it’s there i’ve tried it for the first time)… please, guys, come with more ph/documentary comments. as said before i’m thirsty to hear about it.

by G. Muj | 17 May 2006 13:05 | Transylvania, Romania | | Report spam→
Photojournalists guffaw like hearty Vikings, smoke handrolled Sarin-tipped anthrax cigarettes and drink foaming man-lager from empty 76.2 mm shellcasings while arm-wrestling and having “my CCD chip is more clogged with bomb fragments and human bone marrow stains than your CCD chip” arguments.

They then walk home while Wal-Mart and McDonalds employees throw money at them in mockery as they speed past in their Lamborghinis.

Documentary photographers smoke briar pipes carved with the scowling face of Edward Weston and drink dark nut brown ale (brewed by hobbits) with bits of twig and seeds in it. They use large format cameras carved from a single hunk of 1200-year old rainforest teak, oiled by frankincense harvested from a co-operative smallholding in Bhutan.

When not taking their monthly picture, they lash themselves mercilessly until some academic institution gets tired of hearing them say how photography’s gone downhill (after the daguerreotype went out of fashion), gives them $7.5 million dollars to shut them up and puts their disintegrating ramshackle ‘archive’ (that’s ‘photo album’ to you and me) into cryogenic storage in a nuclear bunker in Utah, so that future generations can have enough landfill to burn for energy.

by [former member] | 17 May 2006 19:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I think that in stead of writing with light, which is the greek meaning of the word, I agree with the quotation that Alex Reshuan once added to the board: a photographer is a reader not a writer. That is probably why I took to it after a life of reading books.

by Jon Anderson | 17 May 2006 19:05 | Santiago y San Francisco, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
uh, man-lager? weird.

by Kenneth Dickerman | 17 May 2006 20:05 | Chicago, IL, United States | | Report spam→
I suppose having reached some form of concensus on the definitions of photojournalism and documentary photography, we must conclude that the “documentary photojournalist” is that most mythical of creatures whom we all aspire to be:

He has dispensed with the Viking guffaw in favour of the rueful smile, while retaining the handrolled Sarin-tipped anthrax cigarette habit, washed down now with a glass of red from some inaccesible Chilean vineyard. With more than a passing nod to religious ritual he sips from the communion glass and remembers his fallen colleagues – some the victims of their subjects’ ire, others felled by the wayside, the mighty dollar their silver bullet.
He places the glass on the al fresco table of yet another forgettable eatery, and wipes the grime of a day’s shooting from his tired eyes and the front element of his 35.
Tomorrow he will set out to continue his story investigating the reasons why some employees of McDonalds and WalMart are able to afford shiny sports cars while the Hobbit Smallholding Brown Ale Company is brought to the brink by EU legislation banning the use of twigs and seeds in warm beer. He chuckles knowing that he can do a side piece for the ST Style section on how nut brown is this year’s shit brown. He has the warm satisfaction that comes from getting an inside tip that will enable him to feed the editors hungry for spot news images – the same editors who so worship him that they afford him the time to pursue his own narrative agenda with the promise of pages to fill.
His reputation is assured: gallery owners fete him, book publishers pester him, and brown-nosed junior government ministers invite him to open the latest musuem on the history of photography in some recently decommissioned nuclear (pronounced “nucular” by Uncle George who only needs to press the button, not speak properly) bunker in rural Utah.
He looks up at the waiter whose shadow has fallen over him. “Anything else, Sir?”
Before he can reply the waiter spies the camera on his lap and says, “I was a photographer once.”
They look at each other for a moment, the spark of recognition lights in the waiter’s eye. “I know you, don’t I?”
Our hero swallows the last of his communion wine, hangs his camera over his shoulder and stands. Dropping a few coins on the table he looks for a moment at the waiter.
“Probably,” he replies to both questions, and turns to walk to his next frame.

by Michael Cockerham | 18 May 2006 06:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
How bloody romantic! Im going all gooey inside.

by [former member] | 18 May 2006 10:05 (ed. May 18 2006) | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Ah Nathan you are an admirable cynic of the first order! I was quite whisked away by Michael’s prose into vague recollections of strangely surreal nights and days where my life has been defined only by a tiny view finder acting as an aperture into the light. Where passers by at the forgetable cafe I am sitting at ask whether I am a journalist and the waiters take bets on how long I might stay drinking the one beverage I have ordered 3 hours ago. They don’t know that I have nowhere and everywhere to go. Ah but the stories I have seen and the people I have met… God, it is all starting to sound a little Hemingway-esque. Pass me a nut brown ale will you, somebody?

by lisa hogben | 18 May 2006 10:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Lisa, me thinks me been dooped. Mine inards were doing the loops at a post that has since returned to the ether. Curse that delete post option!

by [former member] | 18 May 2006 11:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Philip Jones Griffiths:

“The terminology in photography is almost entirely based on fragile egos. If you were a Fleet Street photographer in the 1930s, the last thing you ever wanted to do was be confused with someone who did weddings…And in turn, the guy that starts working for ‘Picture Post’ magazine who goes to Africa for 3 months to do a story…is pretty anxious not to be confused with a press photographer, especially because press photographers for the most part [were considered to] have a very limited vocabulary and big ears and wore strange hats with ‘Press’ stuck in the band.

So…he was anxious to call himself a photojournalist."

by [former member] | 18 May 2006 12:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
There is little difference in how you shoot the two, but it is really how they are used. Photojournalism is about telling a story, so there is at least a start middle and end (I am not talking here of words and pictures as in photo-journalist). Documentary images can be used in any order or on their own – collection of a certain topic or subject which can be by the same photographer or from a number of photographers.

Now doubt as a photojournalist goes about their business, they end up with a collection of images that will fit into a documentary set.

That said documentary photography also requires a high degree of research and understanding of the subject or topic and ALL the issues that affect them. If you want to do Documentary photography it is often easier to do this at the beginning as it may take several years to collect enough images to form a set, especially that show a complete understanding of the issue or that you really know what you are doing. Some documentary projects can last many years and pay dose not reflect this in any way. Photojournalism pays better and is easier to get assignments but if you are constantly craving to do work like Magnum and won’t be happy until you do then maybe documentary work is for you, or just call yourself a photographer and do both and more!
As a way of deciding try doing a story in your local neighbourhood and doing a documentary of the same and see which you enjoyed the most. One important point though is to do documentary you have to have access, its not a good idea to try and photograph the people of all the deserts if you can’t spend a considerable amount of time there or unable to travel, you need to have constant access and contact with your subject.
Hope this helps

by Gary Austin | 23 May 2006 10:05 | Derby, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
There is little difference in how you shoot the two, but it is really how they are used. Photojournalism is about telling a story, so there is at least a start middle and end (I am not talking here of words and pictures as in photo-journalist). Documentary images can be used in any order or on their own – collection of a certain topic or subject which can be by the same photographer or from a number of photographers.

Now doubt as a photojournalist goes about their business, they end up with a collection of images that will fit into a documentary set.

That said documentary photography also requires a high degree of research and understanding of the subject or topic and ALL the issues that affect them. If you want to do Documentary photography it is often easier to do this at the beginning as it may take several years to collect enough images to form a set, especially that show a complete understanding of the issue or that you really know what you are doing. Some documentary projects can last many years and pay dose not reflect this in any way. Photojournalism pays better and is easier to get assignments but if you are constantly craving to do work like Magnum and won’t be happy until you do then maybe documentary work is for you, or just call yourself a photographer and do both and more!
As a way of deciding try doing a story in your local neighbourhood and doing a documentary of the same and see which you enjoyed the most. One important point though is to do documentary you have to have access, its not a good idea to try and photograph the people of all the deserts if you can’t spend a considerable amount of time there or unable to travel, you need to have constant access and contact with your subject.
Hope this helps

by Gary Austin | 23 May 2006 10:05 | Derby, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

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Participants

David Coll Blanco, Photographer David Coll Blanco
Photographer
Tokyo , Japan
Ed Thompson, Photographer Ed Thompson
Photographer
London , United Kingdom
lisa hogben, Visualjournalist! lisa hogben
Visualjournalist!
Sydney , Australia
G. Muj, designer / ex photog / G. Muj
designer / ex photog /
Doha , Qatar
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Kenneth Dickerman, Photographer Kenneth Dickerman
Photographer
Nyc , United States
Michael Cockerham, Documentalistic Bystander Michael Cockerham
Documentalistic Bystander
London , United Kingdom
Gary Austin, Photojournalist Gary Austin
Photojournalist
(British Photojournalist)
Derby , United Kingdom ( EMA )


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