Saturday, August 25, 2007

Photojournalism. This post is a work in progress.


6. Discuss how image and story work together in newspapers and magazines. What can a visual image communicate that a written story cannot? What can a story communicate that a visual image cannot?

I have the same question, worded slightly different due to our lovely English language, written in my notebook from several days ago. I also focus on the pictures themself, how and why they are portrayed as they are and why some support words while others are supported by words.

I went to a camera store today to drop some film off, I had wanted to try my hand with my old junky Minolta SLR that I got at a flea market for 20 bucks. Just for the hell of it, also known as I was a fool, or at least someone who at many points in their life has wanted to be a photographer, I went to the pro camera section. They had some of the cameras out for people to see what they were like, and I tried my hand playing with a Leica. Sweet. I looked some different ones, and then got into a nice long conversation with one of the guys working there. He said to me that Leicas were cheap. I laughed out loud. No no, he told me, they are on sale. I went over and looked. Usually around 4,500 dollars, a Leica MP, with lens, brand new, 2000 bucks. Wow. A sign? Many of the great photojournalists, Capa and Cartier-Bresson for example, two of the men who founded Magnum Photos, used Leicas. I gave it a thought, did some thinking, called my brother, talked with him for a while (this is the same brother who told me to go ahead and take the jump and get a really nice camera so that I would be more inclined to use my nice equipment) and he said that if I REALLY wanted it, he would help me pay for it.

I thought it about a little longer.

I went to one of most famous camera stores in Japan, and looked at all of the cameras there, looked at what there was, and then asked one of the guys who worked there.

I asked him, or at least as well as I can remember and then translate "If you look at history, most great photojournalists used Leicas, but, in this increasingly digital age, does it make any sense for me to be using film at all?"

We had a very nice talk.

They simple answer to that question is 'no'. Film is expensive, harded to save, and you still have to ship around the world to your publisher when you are out in the field. Digital can be done wirelessly, very quickly, saved easier, etc, etc. However, there was one point he made quite clear, and I agreed with those ideas before he even said them to me, and that is that everyone should try using film. Sure you could start learning on a digital camera, but on that, the camera does most of the work for you anyway, where as when you start on a full manual film camera, you have to learn exactly how cameras work before you can take nice pictures, even if you have a really great subject or composition. Once you have that working nicely, take that knowledge onto a digital camera and then you can tell the camera which really nice pictures to take. If you want your pictures displayed in a newspaper or magazine, it seems like everybody uses digital, but if you want you pictures in a museum, shoot film. This gets me into a tricky art/usefull problem that I often see in calligraphy, too.

I wonder about National Geographic. It has been my dream since I first started reading the magazine, like, kindergarten (Thank you Grandpa!) to have my pictures in NationalGeo.

One thing about Leicas, is that they are not SLR cameras, but Rangefinders, which are much different. I asked the guy if it made any sese to learn cameras on a rangefinder and then take it to a digital SLR. Not really.

So, when I get rich and famous, or maybe just able to scrape enough money and can justify it I will get a Leica. I think for now I will wait until I get back to the States, take my dad's not crappy SLR and learn on film (even though it isn't fully manual) and then try for a digital SLR.

Oh yeah, did I say that I had an interest in photojournalism?

ps. I have almost finished revising something I wrote about these pictures that I took last week. Once I get it all written out I will post it and the pictures, and then all of my lovely readers and edit it for me, and then I can send it Junior Scholastic or National Geographic Kids or something like that.


Post a Comment

<< Home