Photojournalism

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This guide is designed to help people who are looking for information about the practice of photojournalism. Its sources will lead the user to information about professional standards and practices, organizations and the best of the photographs past and present. It is intended to help people understand how the photojournalist works, and the issues that they face. It is not intended to help the user browse the day's news photography.

Print Sources

These sources are equally useful for the person who wants to know something about photography and for the photojournalism student/practitioner. They are likely to be found in your public library

The Picture History of Photography, from the Earliest Beginnings to the Present Day,
by Peter Pollack (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1969)

A thorough general history of photography which includes plenty of information about the history of photojournalism.

Eyes of Time: Photojournalism in America,
by Maryanne Fulton (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988)

This history of American photojournalism concentrates on the twentieth century.

One of the best ways to learn about photography is to study the work of one photographer at a time, just as you would a painter. These publishers have a long history of publishing outstanding books on photography: Aperture, Knopf, New York Graphic Service (NYGS) and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux or Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy

For a survey of photojournalism from the thirties to the sixties try these books culled from the best of Life magazine. Although they reflect one editorial view, Life was one of the best of the picture magazines during that time.

The Best of Life
(New York: Time-Life Books, 1973)

Life:the second decade 1946-1955
(Boston: Little, Brown, 1984)

Life Goes to War: a picture history of World War II
(Boston: Little, Brown 1977)

Great Photographic Essays from Life
(Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1978)

The sources below are aimed more narrowly at the photographer or photography student. They are more likely to be found in a large library with an art department, or in a university library.

Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach,
by Ken Kobre (Boston: Focal Press, 1991)

This is a well accepted general textbook which spends at least as much time on professionalism as on technique.

Photojournalism,
by Arthur Rothstein (Garden City, N.Y. :Amphoto, 1979)

This basic text on photojournalism is dated but still a very good on the creative process.

Picture Editing and Layout: A Guide to better Visual Communication,
by Angus Macdougal and Veita Jo Hampton (Viscom: 1990)

This book concentrates on what makes a picture effective, from composition of the photograph to layout on the page.

Look for publications by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), particularly the annual Best of Photojournalism, and various white papers on professional issues in photojournalism. Your best bet is in the library of a university which offers a master's in photojournalism or has a strong journalism department (see the entry under online sources).

Finding Sources at the Library

The primary location for books in a library using the Library of Congress system is TR820 (photojournalism). This is where you will find most of the books on the subject. However, photojournalism is closely connected with other aspects of photography. If the work is of historical or technical interest it may be elsewhere in the TR's. If the TR collection is not large it could be worth browsing through it all, particularly TR23, TR140, TR647, and TR654. You may find the Life magazine sources under PN4900. Remember that some photojournalists are also considered fine art photographers.

In a library using the Dewey Decimal system the work on photojournalism tends to be more spread out. Most photography will be in the 770's, particularly 778-779, but a lot of it will be in the 910's (Travel), 970's (General History of North America). and other areas according to the subject of the photographs. I suggest searching the online catalog by photographer's name and by the subject of the photographs as well as looking in these

When you are looking, don't forget that a lot of photography books are oversized. Ask your librarian whether these are shelved separately if you can't find them.

Online Sources

The World Wide Web is full of information on photojournalism, but of course a lot of it is commercial, by subscription only, marketing material, or amateur or student work. The sources below are on a professional level, but offer a lot of interest the person who is interested in photojournalism without wanting to practice it. Most of their resources are free.

National Press Photographers Association (http://sunsite.unc.edu/nppa/) The NPPA is the United States' preeminent organization for photojournalists. The emphasis is on daily newspaper photography. Their annual is the first, if not the only, place to look for the best in current photojournalism. The site also offers a comprehensive collection of links to online information sources, and a list of recommended books and white papers which is well worth checking out.

American Society of Media Photographers (http://www.asmp.org/) (ASMP). Most magazine photographers belong to this organization. The site is not as rich as the NPPA's, but still worth looking into

The Digital Journalist (http://www.dirckhalstead.org/) is an E-zine featuring exhibitions of individual photographers' work. The gallery includes contemporary photographers and others of historical interest, and the quality is very high. There is also a large section of "war stories" which are interesting for their glimpse into the life of a photojournalist, as well as for the information they offer about working conditions and how photographers deal with them. Contributors discuss professional issues ranging from economics to ethics to technology.

Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/) has a subject category for photojournalism immediately under Arts and Humanities (photography): http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Visual_Arts/Photography/Photojournalism/

This pathfinder created by Barry Blitzsten.