Photojournalism 1855 To The Present: Editor's Choice

Hardcover | April 1, 2006

EditorReuel Golden

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Ever since Roger Fenton inaugurated the genre by photographing the Crimean War in 1855, the world's great photojournalists have used a variety of approaches to bear witness to their times. At one end of the photojournalistic spectrum are war photographers like Robert Capa and Larry Burrows, who capture the most extreme events of human existence as they happen; at the other are social documentarians like Lewis Hine and Sebasti+úo Salgado, who step back from the single dramatic incident to cover in depth such economic and cultural issues as labor and migration. By compiling 250 of the most memorable images from photojournalismGÇÖs 150-year history, Photojournalism 1855 to the Present: EditorGÇÖs Choice provides a fascinating introduction to the entire range of the field.Author Reuel Golden, a noted authority on photojournalism, selected the fifty-four photographers featured in this book based on their critical reputations and historical importance. For each photographer, Golden provides a portfolio of representative imagesGÇömany reproduced at full-page sizeGÇöas well as a brief biography and an insightful critical commentary on his or her career.

In these commentaries and in his informative introduction, Golden discusses the particular challenges of photojournalism, such as the relationship between photographer and subject, and the moral ramifications of aestheticizing human suffering. Yet perhaps most importantly, his text also encourages the reader to look closer and discover how well the photographs speak for themselves. From Frank HurleyGÇÖs groundbreaking World War I battlefield shots to Mary Ellen MarkGÇÖs stark portraits of American poverty and James NachtweyGÇÖs haunting pictures of the September 11 attacks, the images in this book prove that even in our era of twenty-four-hour video-on demand, the still photograph remains as powerful as ever.

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Ever since Roger Fenton inaugurated the genre by photographing the Crimean War in 1855, the world's great photojournalists have used a variety of approaches to bear witness to their times. At one end of the photojournalistic spectrum are war photographers like Robert Capa and Larry Burrows, who capture the most extreme events of human ...

Reuel Golden is senior editor of the world’s biggest magazine for professional photographers, the New York-based Photo District News. He is the author of Twentieth Century Photography.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 11 × 9 × 1 inPublished:April 1, 2006Publisher:Abbeville Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0789208954

ISBN - 13:9780789208958

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Read from the Book

INTRODUCTIONThe war in Iraq and its aftermath were relentlessly covered by thousands of television channels from all over the world. Journalists filed reports from burnt-out rooftops, from inside American tanks making their way toward Baghdad, from refugee camps. It was a big story, as war always is, and the 24-hour news channels were anxious not to miss anything – yet invariably they did. From all the hours, days and weeks of moving footage, there is nothing that really lingers in the memory from this strange time. The television coverage was immediate, dramatic and never-ending. It showed us a lot, but taught us very little. It is the still photographs of the conflict that are memorable. The famous image of a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled over by a jubilant crowd was a powerful symbol of repression and subsequent liberation. On the flip side of that, there were the chilling images taken by an anonymous American soldier with a cheap digital camera of Iraqi prisoners being abused by their US captors in the hellhole of Abu Ghraib. When historians look back at this period and try to make sense of what happened, it is these images, as well as photographs taken by people such as Luc Delahaye, Tom Stoddart, Jerry Lampen, James Nachtwey, and dozens of others, that will be used as evidence.Photojournalism’s perspectiveThese photojournalists and all the others featured in this book were the key witnesses to a series of events that together make up recent history. They are our eyes on the world. Great photojournalism witnesses events that we wouldn’t necessarily see or be allowed to see, or even want to think about. At its most basic definition, photojournalism is the presentation of stories through photographs – photojournalists are journalists with cameras. Since the inception of the medium, when Roger Fenton photographed the Crimean War in the mid-nineteenth century, photojournalists have been preoccupied with photographing humanity at the extreme edge of existence. War, civil unrest, famine, disease, natural disasters, poverty, homelessness: these are the grim stories told by photojournalists for more than 150 years.Some critics resent this narrow, bleak viewpoint and continually question why photojournalists focus only on the negative. These are valid criticisms, but they can be rebutted. First, photojournalists are working in a commercial environment where there has always been a demand for this kind of image and story. Sadly, good news has never helped sell newspapers. Second, photographing a harrowing or dangerous event presents the photojournalist with a series of logistical, aesthetic and moral challenges. By challenging themselves, they in turn challenge the viewer on an emotional and intellectual level. The best photojournalism gets us to see and feel what is happening and more importantly forces us to ask “Why?”.The logistical challenge is to get the photograph in the first place; the aesthetic challenge is to make the image as compelling as possible. Often this means beautifying the misery and suffering, and the more enlightened photojournalists are conscious of this dilemma. Yet they also realize that a well-composed, attractively toned and perfectly lit print is the most effective way of connecting and engaging an often indifferent audience.The moral challenge facing photojournalists is the notion of conveying an objective truth. As bystanders, they are supposed to merely record events and not influence them in any way. In this book there are controversial examples where the photographer supposedly “set up” the shot – the more extreme cases of a photojournalist tampering with the truth. Yet the notion of objectivity is ambiguous, and every time the photojournalist takes a photograph subjective judgements are being made, starting with the fundamental decision about what to photograph and equally importantly what to leave alone. Many factors will influence how the image is perceived and interpreted: how the image is composed and cropped; whether it is shot in color or black-and-white; the detail that is included; whether the photograph is shot in close-up or the camera is pulled back; the accompanying caption. This doesn’t mean that the photographer is not telling the truth; it is just one version of the truth. Click the shutter again and the viewer is confronted with a new version.The evolution of the genreThere were some remarkable photojournalists in the nineteenth century: the pioneering Roger Fenton, the enigmatic Felice Beato, and Alexander Gardner, who photographed the American Civil War. (He, rather than the more famous Matthew Brady, makes it into this book, since there has always been some controversy over Brady, who claimed sole copyright from all the photographers who worked under him.) Yet overall two factors hindered the development of the medium. Firstly, cameras were extremely bulky and unwieldy contraptions involving glass plates and long exposure times, fine for formal portraiture, but not suited to the spontaneous nature of photojournalism. Secondly, there was no demand for journalistic images, apart from private collectors and museums.This was to change in the first 20 years of the twentieth century. In 1910 the rotary printing cylinder was invented, which meant that text could now be combined with photographs. Following on from that was the development of the small hand-held camera, the Leica, which was to change the genre forever. Armed with a Leica, a photojournalist could get close to the action, taking photographs in quick succession, as the camera followed the movements of the human eye. These twin developments propelled photojournalism into people’s consciousness and homes with a spate of photo-led publications.This “golden age of photojournalism,” as it became known, was roughly to last from the mid-1930s, when Life was selling by the millions and even by today’s standards photographers were being paid a lot of money to shoot stories, $20,000 in the case of the legendary Robert Capa. Life magazine loyally served its readers with its use of extended photo essays, where the photographer was given sufficient space to develop a coherent narrative over page after page.Photojournalism was perceived as glamorous and the photographers, led by those such as Capa and Cartier-Bresson, had a high self-regard. What they lacked, however, was power. This was to change with the formation of the Magnum photo cooperative in the late 1940s. Magnum established the principle that the copyright of the photograph belonged to the creator. Since one of its founders was Cartier-Bresson, Magnum also played a significant role in elevating the genre from a craft into an art form, and in time photojournalism would be displayed in galleries and reproduced in glossy books. Magnum also created an infrastructure that allowed its members to spend a long time on stories, to reflect, rather than just react to news.The Second World War shaped the careers of a generation of legendary photographers, such as Robert Capa and W. Eugene Smith. Similarly, the Vietnam War around 20 years later established a new kind of photojournalism, which produced its own legends – photographers such as Larry Burrows, Don McCullin, Gilles Caron and Philip Jones Griffiths. These (sometimes color) images were brutal in their depiction of war. They were graphic and technically very sharp, since the quality of film and cameras had improved significantly. While Capa saw war in heroic terms, these men clearly identified with the victims of war, rather than with the occupying force. They wanted their photographs to bring about change and to a large extent they succeeded.Their sensibility, dedication and moral responsibility was adopted by the third generation of war photographers who covered the conflicts in the Middle East in the 1970s and 19080s and in particular the civil war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Photographers such as Gilles Peress, Luc Delahaye, Roger Hutchings, James Nachtwey, Tom Stoddart, Carol Guzy, Eli Reed and many others were committed, brave and passionate, but less idealistic than their 1960s counterparts. Skeptical and at times distrustful of both their role and the media in general, these photographers also now had digital technology at their fingertips, which revolutionized the taking and transmission of photographs. Images could be taken in a war zone, transmitted down the wire in a matter of just a few seconds and, make it on tot he front pages of a newspaper within minutes.The witnessesMost of the photographs featured in this book are traditional photojournalists who report from the front-line. Their images of major world events were, and are, seen on the front pages of newspapers. The selection process for a book of this nature is never easy, and inevitably great photographers are going to be omitted. There is not one criterion that justified selection but rather a combination of many factors: technique, originality, consistency, versatility, dedication to the point of obsession to a particular story, political awareness. Above all else, however, everyone in this book has produced memorable and compelling photographs the move us in some way.There are also photographers here like Martin Parr, Zed Nelson, Sebastiao Salgado, W. Eugene Smith and Lewis Hine who are as remarkable as any photojournalist, even though their work falls within the genre of social documentary. This is photography that moves away from the purely dramatic news event and focuses on how we live and interact with each other. These photographers are included in the book because almost all of them started out as “hard news” photographers who then evolved into a different type of storyteller. Boundaries are never clear-cut, and history is not just the unfolding of dramatic events. Social, economic and cultural issues like gun control, migration and tourism are also part of what form, in the words of Henrich Cartier-Bresson, the “decisive moments” of history.The future of photojournalismPeople have been writing about the death of photojournalism since the invention of television. Fifty years on, in our celebrity-obsessed world, there might appear to be little room for serious stories and photographs. But even in the “golden age” of Life magazine, most of its covers featured film stars and even W. Eugene Smith’s seminal essay on the country doctor wasn’t a cover story. As long as there are newspapers, current affairs magazine and web sites, there will always be a space for serious news photographs.There are genuine concerns that the ease with which a photograph can be digitally manipulated means that the camera can indeed lie. Yet photographers have always had the ability to manipulate an image, either by setting a shot up or making alterations in the darkroom. True, clicking a mouse in Photoshop is a lot easier than spending hours changing a print in the darkroom, but this has made both viewers and the newspapers themselves much more alert to the possibility of anything underhand going on. During the last war in Iraq, the LA Times sacked one of its more distinguished photographers for digitally altering the perspective of an image.Everyone these days has a digital camera or an image-taking device on his or her cell phone. As a result, whatever is going on in the world, there will be someone present who will be able to record it and then sell his or her images to a newspaper or web site. The barriers are therefore being broken down between the committed photojournalist and the amateur snap shooter. There are billions of photographs pinging around in cyberspace and there is a danger of image overload, where we are jaded and feel that we have seen everything there is to see.Will photojournalism still have an important function in the years to come? The war in Iraq gave us a glimpse into a future where serious photojournalism will simply work in tandem with the amateur opportunist, like the aforementioned American soldier who took those deeply disturbing photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison. If the twenty-first century is as bloody and violent as the century that preceded it, then photojournalism will still have a role to play as an observer and a witness. That is both the good and bad news.Reuel Golden

Table of Contents

Introduction 8
Photographer Biographies 12

Dmitri Baltermants 18
Letizia Battaglia 24
Felice Beato 28
Ian Berry 34
Margaret Bourke-White 38
Rene Burri 42
Larry Burrows 46
Robert Capa 52
Gilles Caron 56
Henri Cartier-Bresson 60
Luc Delahaye 66
Alfred Eisenstaedt 70
Roger Fenton 74
Alexander Gardner 80
Jan Grarup 84
Carol Guzy 88
Bert Hardy 94
Lewis Hine 98
Heinrich Hoffman 102
Frank Hurley 106
Roger Hutchings 112
Philip Jones Griffiths 116
Yevgeny Khaldei 120
Josef Koudelka 124
Joachim Ladefoged 128
Jerry Lampen 132
Dorothea Lange 136
Gerd Ludwig 140
Don McCullin 144
Peter Magubane 148
Alex Majoli 152
Mary Ellen Mark 156
Peter Marlow 160
Susan Meiselas 164
Gideon Mendel 168
Bertrand Meunier 174
David Modell 178
Ralph Morse 182
Carl Mydans 186
James Nachtwey 190
Zed Nelson 194
Martin Parr 198
Judah Passow 202
Gilles Peress 206
Raghu Rai 210
Eli Reed 214
Eugene Richards 218
Henryk Ross 222
Sebastiao Salgado 226
W. Eugene Smith 230
John Stanmeyer 234
Tom Stoddart 238
Weegee 242
Li Zhensheng 248

Index and Credits 252

Editorial Reviews

"In the age of citizen photos, [Photojournalism] shows that professional photography is still peerless." —TIME Europe"An excellent title promising interest for history buffs, photography and art students alike." —California Bookwatch (July 2006)"The work of the world’s great photographers, capturing history, events, the famed and the unknown is all here in a brilliant collection enhanced by an excellent text...Anyone with an interest in photograph will find this book invaluable and inspiring." —