Professional photojournalism – standards

There are many different reasons for taking photographs. My preference is photojournalism.

What is photojournalism? Capturing honest images that tell a story. Particularly news stories; and in a way that evokes emotion, and potentially action.

Traditionally still images but identical principles apply to video.

The power of photography hinges on the believability of it as a reliable representation of reality – and that is why great images have had the power to change the world.

Images that have been digitally manipulated (beyond basic cropping and lightening/darkening) have had their power removed.  They’ve become graphic design, and however artistic, may as well have been dreamed up and drawn from scratch.

When I stood in front of my images at the Sydney Royal Easter Show last year, I was startled by the number of times I was asked if the images were real.  How sad that it has become standard for the public to question reality sitting in front of them.  Too few photographers value what makes photography unique.

Due to the democratisation of photography, many are unaware of the standards that have long been held dear by professional photojournalists.

America’s National Press Photographers Association has their professional photojournalism standards listed on the NPPA website.

All photographers need to decide which camp they’re going to plant in. Photojournalism? Art? Graphic Design? Which they choose should be aligned with the reasons why they take photographs.

If you want to help make the world a better place, then photojournalism is the way to do it because it’s the only way to ensure your images have clout.

So everyone who wants to actively help rural regions and agricultural industries via their images, should stick to the principles of professional photojournalism.

I love beautiful images however romantic scenes without meaning are powerless to make the world a better place. In fact they often just foster unhelpful farming stereotypes and reinforce cliches.

Unfortunately Instagram is awash with them.