the condition or quality of being pure; freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc.: the purity of drinking water.
freedom from any admixture or modifying addition.
freedom from foreign or inappropriate elements; careful correctness: purity of expression.
It has come to our attention of late with regards to certain confusion over the above few genres here on deviantART. Purity of each of the above - Photojournalism, Street, to even how pure HDR is - almost certainly went out the window, with all sides claiming jurisdiction on who's right and who's not. While this may come as a surprise to some, to many others, it's a continuous effort almost yearly on our parts as moderators to help enforce the differences to a matter of understanding amongst the community. Let's hope that this would help clear the air over a few matters before it blows out of proportion. PHOTOJOURNALISM
On January 9th, 2009, I wrote about Photojournalism Ethics
, and in it, based on the guidelines set by the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association), it says: Photojournalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:
Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities. [...//...]
While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
You can read more here
, and I suggest you also read the paragraph in my article earlier titled, "How Does That Affect Photojournalism on DeviantART?" And if you're still confused to even what Photojournalism is all about, click here: Photojourna-WUT??
So how does purity comes into play, you ask? A common message that has been repeated til kingdom come: Do not excessively manipulate your photographs. You are
allowed the usual crop, resize, mayhaps a tilt or two, a li'l dodge or burn, a bit of upping with the contrast or exposure, all using a third party software. You are, however, gonna be frowned upon when you excessively try to outdo the saturation, temperature, sepia, texture, or any other plug-ins you can think of that makes the photograph unrecognizable.
Still, (WARNING: The following sentence can lead to epilepsy, convulsion, or heart attacks. Viewer discretion is advised) a couple of exceptions in line with today's photography trends. While the last bullet earlier mentioned, "Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects," it did not, however, mention anything about over-postprocessing your photographs. (I can hear the gasps, jaw drops, expletives, and omfg's already). Let me explain.
According to The Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines
Photojournalists are responsible for the integrity of their images. We will not alter images so that they mislead the public.
We will explain in the photo caption if a photograph has been staged.
We will label altered images as photo illustrations.
..and from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
"Journalists should never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
Today, there are many other editors, news organizations, and most importantly pressphoto agencies including AP, AFP, Reuters, and Getty, still refuse to accept or publish photographs that has been altered in any way, and even if they do, these digitally-altered or even enhanced photographs are now labeled montages or photo illustrations. The technology of photojournalism may have changed, but its truth-telling essence can still remain. Ethics aside, photojournalists should continue to strive to ensure that their basic principles of journalism (truth-telling, serving the public interest, acting responsibly and being accountable) are still in play every time they hit the field.
Think you wanna read more? Click here
and look out for Chapter 3 on "Altered Photographs, Staged Shots and the Era of Distrust". How does this affect submissions to Photojournalism here on deviantART?
It doesn't. What we now see is not just about photomanipulations, photoeditings, or photoenhancements. We now see purely on newsworthy-ness. If it's newsworthy, it stays. We still adhere to the same basic principles of submission guidelines as given to the community since 2004. If it feels too much like a candid snapshot on the street, it'll go over to the Street gallery. If it's a staged shot where everyone is posed, it goes to portrait if it's about you and your family on a day out to Tiananmen Square. It's still Photojournalism though if it is a group photo that ought to be featured in the media such as a staged group portrait of heads of state at an APEC summit.
While we are not going to add new categories onto Photojournalism, we appreciate it if your works are textured, burnt, dodged, saturated, etc, that you would place a little information in it saying that you have digitally altered the image. While one magazine may allow one style above, it does not mean the next magazine does too.
Thus, practice discretion. Key operative word for Photojournalism that you must always remember from now on: Newsworthyness
. Even if it doesn't exist in the dictionary.STREET
Many people would associate street photography as anything and everything that's taken on the street. Duh. Not necessarily. Do your homework before you claim one thing apart from the other. Wikipedia describes it as, "a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions, and other settings." [more]
. Even the word "documentary" shouldn't be confused as anything journalistic at all times. It is merely an action to document.
Yes, it crosses over to Photojournalism at times. And vice versa for Photojournalism onto Street. Even the first image in this article earlier by sharadhaksar
under Photojournalism can
be a part of Street, and the same goes to garki
's that can be placed under Photojournalism > People. There's no right or wrong to both. It's merely a choice of one's preference, much like the old adage, "to each his own". As much a purist and elitist you think you are, do allow me to repeat the submission guideline for Street here on Photojournalism... it says, "Street photography featuring people in candid situations in public places." Does it say much to you? Is it self explanatory? While we are not in the business of defining the term by dotting the i's and crossing the t's, and the definition is always open for discussion... but the fact of the issue remains: How much digital enhancements are allowed in either? Let's hear it from the man himself, Mr. bQw
I'm know that I'm going to catch hell for this. In fact, I already have in a couple of cases. First of all, what's the difference between the PJ and Street genres? The short answer is "not much". They are both geared towards the documentation of something, but street photography has a much more broad focus than photojournalism.HDR
Photojournalism is very task and event-oriented. Both shun the post-capture manipulation of the image. The adding or removing of objects is a strict no-no. HDR...well, that's become the bane of my service here at dA and the source of many an argument. I don't personally care for the effect and don't personally use it, but as street GM I have to accept that I can't judge an image based on my narrow practices or opinions. That kind of judgement and elitism has become the domain of groups. If I have to accept digital images post-processed into black & white (something I do when i'm not able to use film) then I have to accept HDR.
At it's base, they are in the same extreme of adjustment. So that's enough about that. Oh yeah, the difference between PJ and street...well, as they blend together so much in terms of subject and ethic, all I can say to the artist is "What was your goal in taking the photo?". Was it to report on an event? Then submit it to photojournalism. Was it to report a specific moment, out of context of any event? Then submit it to street.
Seems to me that HDR, or High Dynamic Range
imaging, is almost like a pop culture today, even though the idea of it has been used since the 1850s. While some love it to the core of their bones, others frown upon it, and the first few who would do the latter would be photojournalists. Ideally, like the above shot by exxx2005
, it should go to a digital darkroom category instead of Photojournalism > Sports. Ideally. Until recently...
In the latest round of winners from the World Press Photo 2010
awards, one category stuck out like a sore thumb: Portraits > Stories. Especially for the winner Roderik Henderson
from the Netherlands, and his series called Transvoid.
This was what compelled me to write this entire article. The world has changed. Is HDR now allowed onto Photojournalism here on deviantART? The purist and elitist in me would say no. But the ethics in me would say, "it's okay" if it is NEWSWORTHY.
What is Newsworthy? Gee, if it's not evident enough... it's anything that you
would think would suit best seen in newspapers or magazines. Nuff said.I'd Like To Challenge This
Do write to me via Note to explain your reasons. I may in this process make or break some friendship, but I cannot promise a compromise. I will reply each thoughts here in this journal/news openly if you've written in, and if you want, we can definitely discuss this privately using the Notes or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gallery Moderator - Photojournalism
March 15th, 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia