A photo can be use to spark emotion, tell a story, or start a movement. Photos are powerful ways to connect on a deeper level with some one or something, yet photojournalism is being morphed in to a platform to alter and misuse this impactful means of communication.
‘Fauxtojournalism’ is a term Alex Garcia uses to describe the practice of reporting untruthfully through photos. Arguing that photos are meant to be taken literally, Garcia throws out the idea of a higher truth from the photo. I completely agree.
Photos that do not tell the story how it happened cannot be considered photojournalism. Even photos that leave information out are still not portraying the situation. Journalism is about truth, not a social agenda.
Especially in a age where it is as easy as a click of a button to remove an entire button from a photo, it is important to remember that photojournalism is different than creative picture taking.
Photojournalism. Journalism is the key word here. Journalism is a report of the facts; it is a way to disseminate information.
A popular way to use photos now is try to portray an overarching problem in society through one photo. Society’s problems are not this person’s problem. They have their own lives, stories, and issues.
It is not journalism if you are limiting or altering your information about one subject so that the rest of society can relate. I feel that is what photojournalists are doing to create a more powerful picture.
Journalism in general has been drifting in the same direction. As journalists, we want to reach the largest audience as possible so we try to edit stories to appear more appealing. In doing so, I feel that we have used the actual subject as a way to tell others stories.
In modern journalism I think we have forgotten the value of an individual’s story.
Each individual has a unique life and perspective, and each one is beautiful and interesting to hear. Just because one person can’t relate to everyone, doesn’t mean her story should be altered.
Many would not believe how easily relatable a story is until they here, “No way. Me too.” We are all humans and can relate, at least, on the basic level that we understand the human condition.
Truth is what a journalist should stand for, not an agenda.
Garcia writes, “The problem in our postmodern world is that feelings hold greater sway than actual facts. Since the power of photojournalism lies in its ability to communicate feelings, an emotional picture can drive a narrative around this world before the truth can get its pants on.”
The reality of the matter is that it is our job to put on truth’s pants before we give the picture the keys. Facts and visuals work together to portray the emotions of the facts.
Photo by John Filo
This photo is one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century. The Kent State Shootings were a national tragedy. This photo is the marriage of fact and emotion. There was no altering of the photo (notice the awkward pole coming out of the girl’s head), and yet it was still a powerful photo.