The Importance of Photo Journalism


“Several houses and cattle have been burned by the hot cloud from the mountain,” he said. “All the houses are blanketed in ash, completely white. The leaves have been burned off the trees.”

Mount Merapi, mostly known as the “Fire Mountain”, an active volcano located in Indonesia, erupted about four years ago killing many villagers with the ash that covered almost the whole city. About 200 years ago, millions of lives were taken due to the deadly results. . For now and then, people fear gray clouds and piles of ashes because they know that living in the Pacific Ring of Fire implies risks.

Modernity goes beyond having instantaneous information, it also ignites being aware of what is happening with that material. Ideally, people should be used to read all evidence given by newspapers. However, in this developing society there is no time to read a whole report whereas it is easier to look a picture and get a general idea. This happens because our population is technologically dependent. Furthermore, photography is dynamic and self- explanatory for everyone. Finally, it creates a closer relationship between innovation and journalism.

Technology has covered from scientific to customary topics. For example, before technology was seen as x-rays and electroscopes; today it is known as tablets or phones. All these advances happen because society has become dependent on innovations. Moreover, our generations are not used to read books or news physically, but rather they prefer tweeting news or googling for information. This has led to important companies such as Apple, Samsung, Blackberry and others to develop better resolution, faster communication and helpful programs. Companies usually have as target young, futuristic people who portray an advanced audience.

Pictures always attract readers. This has transformed into the new “hook”, which helps the reader have a general abstract with essential information. For example, a simple picture just as the one above abruptly shows a change from a daily to a deteriorated room. We might have our personal interpretation about the picture at first glance, but it attracts the reader to go deeper from information provided. The image produces as certain effect not only on visual learners but also in readers as a whole because constructs a bridge between millions of interpretations. Images play with your mind, shift your daily thoughts, and produce a visual aid.

Photo journalism can give more information than the report itself. Humans tend to forget names, places, situations, or even dates! This is why innovations connect directly with journalism, because they remind society that information can also be understandable. The image above shows the perfect example of photo journalism, where there is no need to explain anything. Modernity has created a new window for this specific type of journalism: it releases universal truth. Why universal truth? Because it creates awareness and wisdom about things that on the past we didn’t even know that could happen. Moreover, photojournalism invites illiterates, rich, poor, erudite   and all kind of people to share the same information.

Photojournalism has not only provided valid information to our society, but it has unified great part of it by a single image. Information has evolved from fast to understandable, and from understandable shifted to universal and from universal to necessary. This has created a new population full of ideas and concepts that are being spread from the conceptualization of a picture.

By: Michaela Kerrigan


“Pictures of the Year 2010 – Photo Essays.” Time. Time Inc., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014          “Want More World News? Join Us on Facebook | Follow Us on Twitter.” N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

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