is photojournalism dead?

20expl-600I’m deviating a little herekevin-german from the usual Mothering topics, though photography is a big part of my world, so bear with me. . .

I read a heartening post yesterday by James Estrin on the New York Times blog Lens: “If Photojournalism Is Dead, What’s Luceo?” —which he wrote in response to a post by NB Pictures founder Neil Burgess, “For God’s Sake, Somebody Call it.”

Estrin sings the praises of the young (started up in 2007) photo coop, Luceo Images, which sure seems to be alive and well. And sure seems to be doing—quite beautifully—what most of us call photojournalism. Here’s a noteworthy quote from the Lens piece:

“It is absolutely ridiculous to say that photojournalism is dead,” Mr. Banks [David Walter Banks, of Luceo] said. “It’s definitely changing, but I think that’s exciting. The modes of delivery and consumption are changing, but there’s a lot of great work being done. ”

Check out Estrin’s post here.

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Photo above, taken by Luceo Images’ Kevin German, “Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. On the red carpet for the premier of the action movie, ‘Clash.’”

Photo at top, taken by an unknown photographer in the mid-1930s, is of Arthur Fellig, a.k.a. Weegee, the guy I usually think of when it comes to extreme photojournalism. I had not realized the origin of his nickname til I stumbled across this:

. . .Weegee claimed that his elbow itched when news was about to happen. “Somehow, the word spread that I was psychic because I always managed to have my pictures in the hands of the paper before any news of the event was generally known,” he wrote in Weegee by Weegee. Co-workers gave him his nickname after the rage of the time, the Ouija board, and he phoneticized it as Weegee.

His prescience was aided by the police and fire department short-wave radios he installed near his bed. . . and in his ’38 Chevy. In the car’s trunk he carried photo equipment, a typewriter for photo captions, clothes, salamis and cigars. — John Strausbaugh, “Crime was Weegee’s Oyster”

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