“Show truth with a camera”. Edom will be remembered as a man who brooked no pampering with the integrity of the journalistic photograph. To Edom honesty was a sacred trust. You didn’t organize, manipulate, or manage a photograph. You didn’t make a photograph. You took it. You photographed the reality of things as they were, not the way you preconceived them or would have like them to be.
Howard Chapnick of Clifton Edom in Small Town America book. (*Clifton Edom, Founder of Missouri Photo Workshop, Missouri School of Journalism)
The definition of photojournalism is the reportage of news through photographs. Every photojournalist uses their own style to accomplish this but if a photographer is more focused on sharing their “aesthetic” or “vision” with the world than fidelity to their subjects, I believe that veers into fine art photography and should not be confused with photojournalism. A good photojournalist tells stories with integrity, the dignity of their sources always intact and conducts themselves with a strict code of journalism ethics as those published by the Poynter Institute and the National Press Photographer’s Association. In addition, a photojournalist does copious amounts of research on their subject or issue and writes accurate, complete captions to go with their pictures to tell a more cohesive, complete story for the viewer.
Mary F. Calvert, Photojournalist
Photojournalism is the practice of visual storytelling and news gathering using still and/or moving images with text and/or narration that acts as a documentation of society and culture, as well as a historical record of a particular place and time. Photojournalists are held to a code of ethics outlined by the National Press Photographers Association that asks that they respect the integrity of the photographic moment and strive to be as accurate and fair as possible in their depiction of the people they work with and the events they document. Furthermore, photojournalists must not consciously manipulate or alter the events they photograph, the actions of the people who they photograph or the content or context of the images they make.
It is my opinion that objectivity is not humanly possible, however striving to be accurate and fair is critical to the integrity of a photojournalist and their work. For this reason, I feel that photojournalists must be aware of and consider their own biases, then strive to mitigate any negative impact those biases may have on their depictions of the people and the events that they photograph.
Judy Walgren, Professor, Photojournalism and New Media
Photojournalism is the practice of making photographs of events, settings, issues and people that have news value. The photojournalism profession dictates that coverages be accurate and honest portrayals made from an unbiased perspective, without altering the scenes before or after the images were made. Photojournalists must follow a specific code of ethical practice and conduct.
Mike Davis, Alexia Foundation Chair.
In so much memorable photojournalism, one finds the essence of time.
Visual journalists immerse for a period of time in others' lives - all with the goal of sharing that experience with the world. That simplistic purity in a photojournalist's passion comes through in the images and it's immediately recognizable as the truth - at least for that moment. We know photojournalism can be transformative historically - think Vietnam. But the lives of photojournalists who commit are transformed too and that's not always recognized.
Sally Stapleton, Associated Press
Photojournalism is reporting and visual storytelling. While seeking to truthfully capture spontaneous moments, photojournalists must delicately balance creativity, journalistic integrity, street smarts, courage and experience. They know how to navigate complex, real-world situations as they happen, on their quest to inform the viewer. All these things are what goes into "the craft" of photojournalism. At the root of photojournalism is “journalism”.
Yunghi Kim, Photojournalist
To make an image - not take an image - that reflects a moment held in time with elements of light and composition that often evoke an emotional response.
Reportage that is fair and balanced documentation to inform and reveal news with accuracy.
The same principles hold true: accuracy and fairness in documentation without the photographer’s direction or manipulation in pre or post production.
Making pictures that are moments in time that report and document accurate and fair information as they reveal the news about the world in which we live. Ideally, the use of light and composition should come together in greater and lesser degrees while elements within the frame are embraced in a timely moment to inform the viewer what is happening. All this, without direction or manipulation from the photographer in pre or post production.
Movement within film is included in this definition as the same principles hold true and fast: accuracy and fairness in documentation without the photographer’s direction or manipulation in pre or post production.
Sue Morrow, Editor, News Photographer magazine, NPPA