A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library
Today, everyone with a cellphone is a photographer/videographer and streaming video has become a national obsession. But has the proliferation of images devalued photojournalism and dulled its influence?
Meanwhile, the surge in the number of photos and videos from nonprofessionals gives news outlets more eyes on news. Editors are busier than ever sorting through citizen offerings of earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and, of course, dogs dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day, and then confirming the veracity of those from politicized situations.
The Impact of Images: Considering the Place of Photojournalism Today
Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother (1936)
n a late afternoon and exhausted from photographing earlier as one of the photographers hired by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document the social condition as a result of the Depression, Dorothea Lange turned down a dirt road to investigate a migrant camp of pea pickers. In less than fifteen minutes, Lange was back on the road after making five exposures of a woman (Florence Thompson) and her children in the camp. One of these images, Migrant Mother, became a symbol of the Depression as well as one of the most iconic and important photographs in the history of photography.
three frames from Eisenstaedt’s set of the sailor kissing the nurse. In the book Eisenstaedt on Eisentstaedt, the photographer wrote:
I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make a difference. I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder but none of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse…. It was done within a few seconds.”
Originally, this most famous of World War II photos did not make the cover of Life magazine in which it first appeared; it showed up on page 27, full-page, but amid a whole series of somewhat similar pictures from across the country under the headline, “The Men of War Kiss From Coast to Coast.” The photo didn’t appear on a Life cover until 2005.
October 1980, Life ran a special spread entitled “Who Is the Kissing Sailor?” Ten sailors wrote to the magazine, each one insisting with convincing evidence — a distinctive hairline, a signature vein on the right hand, a newly acquired Quartermaster 1st Class patch — that he was the “kissing sailor”. Three women also wrote in and claimed to be the nurse.
The art critic Michael Kimmelman wrote in The Times in 1997:
The most famous photograph of Times Square is surely Alfred Eisenstaedt’s chestnut of the kissing couple, which summed up the national mood in 1945 because it combined all the right elements: the returning soldier, the woman who welcomed him back and Times Square, the crossroads that symbolized home.
A Walk To The Paradise Garden W. Eugene Smith
He was one of the great war photographers but had suffered injuries that in 1946 had taken two years to hopefully heal. He was not sure if his career was over. One day he went for a walk with his children…
I knew the photograph, though not perfect, and however unimportant to the world, had been held…. I was aware that mentally, spiritually, even physically, I had taken a first good stride away from those past two wasted and stifled years.
While he was right about his stride towards recovery, Smith miscalculated the photo’s importance. In 1955, a heavily-indebted Smith decided to submit the photo to Edward Steichen’s now-famous Family of Man exhibit at the MOMA. There, it became a finalist and then the closing image, thus cementing its position as the icon of all family photographs.