Intentionality of Photojournalism

Reading Jonathan’s post, which can be found here, was very thought provoking. Journalism is a career that intrigues me yet also intimidates me because a writer does have a point of view that he or she is selling. Unfortunately, bias is inevitable due to each and every person having a right to have an opinion and also having the means to share it. At times, they may not even be sharing those opinions consciously or intentionally.

I believe photojournalism is a category of it in itself when discussing journalism and its significance. Instead of verbally conveying information, such as conducting an interview, images are used to represent a situation. This can be misleading due to the photographer wanting to appear to their audience in the most appealing way. The same can be done with coverying information verbally although the biases are much easier to identify through body language and the interactions the people are having.

In the aerial images that were brought up and discussed in class from this link, I agree with Jonathan in the sense that it can most likely be inferred the photographer purposely chose to have electricity and light be shown in The Financial District. In comparison to the darkness a portion of the photo shows, I can assume the message it is sending about the different areas of Manhattan besides The Financial District that is represented.

As a person who is familiar with the area, I can see the distinctions and the “higher rank” that The Financial District holds. An example would be the iconic “bull” that tourists visits just to take a picture with it. I do, although believe there are other very moving and special areas in the borough that is not “lit” in the photo. The dark areas, I believe, have just as much of an impact on the city as Superstorm Sandy had on those darkened areas, yet the photo is misleading of the catastrophe.

As I alluded to earlier in the post, I believe that photography is sometimes used for aesthetic purposes and that is is why perhaps the storm is misrepresented in the photos. As someone who was affected by Sandy, if I was not told these photos were taken during such a time of hardship, I would have found them much more appealing. These photos could easily be someone’s Desktop cover due to its aestheticism. But, it does not showcase the people who had to light candles, or had to use a generator to keep warm or even had to stand in line for hours to obtain gas for their vehicles. Schools were closed for weeks. This sort of aerial image or “overview” misses the full story behind the experiences people went through in order to survive. The issue was more than just about light; it was about electricity.  

With journalism, it becomes tricky since there is information and knowledge that needs to be shared and obtained in order to understand what is occurring at a location that one may not be present at. It is important to be aware of current events, or natural disasters, even if may not affect us personally. Even today as I read any sort of news article, I have to consciously acknowledge the biases that are present. At times, I take the extra step and seek more than one article about the same topic from various sources to acknowledge and understand different perspectives. I hope as a future Educator, I can succeedingly teach my students the importance of identifying “fake news” and the biases present.

To answer Jonathan’s question that he proposed at the end of his post, I believe that mixing in facts with opinion is inevitable, especially if one is getting paid for it. But at the same time, I believe audiences have the right to know which sources are mixing in opinions and which are solely facts, or showcase as few opinions as possible, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.