What is Photojournalism?

Family gazing at ripples in water and icebergs at Jökulsárlón (glacier lagoon) in IcelandCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 70-200mm f4 IS L series lens @ 183mm. Exposure Details: 1/250 second @ f8 ISO 400.

I just saw a question on the web seeing a definition photojournalism. I took the conversation a tad further. I'd say photojournalism is news-based photography evident in newspaper and magazine (e.g. National Geographic, Time, etc) articles.

As a generalisation I'd classify photojournalism as commissioned work that, as a consequence, may have to reflect editorial policy of the publication in question. Documentary photography is usually based upon self-motivated and self-funded projects. Not limited to the usually tighter deadlines associated with newspaper and magazine publication, documentary photography can also be seen in galleries and books. Free of potential editorial restrictions I believe documentary photography is more closely aligned to fine art photography.

Though I'm happy to be described as a photographer, if pushed for a more definitive description my answer has changed over the years in line with the type of photography I was doing at the time (newspaper, wedding and portrait, etc). After closing down my studio and heading to the big smoke to formerly study photography back in the 1986 I moved away from much of the commercial work I'd previously undertaken. I began to classify myself as a documentary photographer, which had as much to do with the variety of subject matter I was photographing and the fact that most of it revolved around self-motivated projects. Problem was no one understood what I meant by that definition.

Over recent years the subject matter of my photographs has remained relatively constant, but I now label myself as a 'Travel Photographer'. Which is not to say I have much interest in photography resort pools and hotel rooms. I am an experience-driven individual. The more intimate the experience the more interested and involved I become. As a visual artist/photographer I travel the world and use my camera, as a passport, to explore the human condition and share the beauty of our nature world with an ever-wider audience. Maybe we'll travel together someday soon.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru