Pictures and visuals are a part of mass media since the time of its inception. Photojournalism began in 1853 with the coverage of a war by Carol Szathmari. Soon, it became a quintessential part of journalism. Photo Journalism is defined as a combination of written information along with pictures relating to the story. Together a story along with a photograph adds more meaning, relevance and reliability to the information; it is undoubtedly the first thing that attracts the reader or the viewer.
According to Warran, Phillip and Edwin “photograph is capable of high fidelity reproduction of very fine detail and texture”. A catchy headline, with detailed news story and a connecting photograph along with a caption makes a complete package and assures better communication and a smooth delivery of the information.
Most of the newspapers especially supplements use the gratification theory to attract more readers, for intense using eye-catchy pictures of a celebrity can make many readers to go through the story. Photographs accompanied with hard stories like a mis-hap, crime or accidents helps immensely to increase the credibility of the story. Photograph also works as an evident and justifies the story to the readers, without which the story remains incomplete and less-attractive.
In photo journalism, sports pictures hold a unique position. Sports news without a picture is incomplete. Sports pictures present action and style which usually becomes the sole constituent of the news.
Responsibilities of Photojournalism
- No matter if a photograph is aesthetically great and well-clicked; it is considered mundane if it does not connect with the story. The first and the foremost responsibility of a photojournalist is to click a picture that gives correct information to validate the story.
- A photojournalist is required to cover all the events, press conferences, interviews or any other incident that has taken place. Sometimes, they even have to risk their life in order to click the pictures from a particular angle. Many newspapers or tabloids or magazines rely only a photograph because every story cannot be covered and quite often some images do not even require a story, a picture with a caption can draw more attention and generate interest of the readers.
- Most photojournalists succumb to the vanity and competitive nature of contests. Unlike other journalism competitions, which separate stories by circulation, most photojournalists and photographers compete head-to-head with their best images. The winner takes all.
Today, more and more photographers are developing interest in photojournalism, with the technological advancement and introduction of latest equipment has made it possible for the photographers to grab the most astonishing pictures. Even common people use their smart phones to click interesting pictures and use the social networking sites to share them with the masses.