Photojournalism is a visual language. Just like stories, there are reasons that some photos are successful and others fall short. When journalists discuss photographs using visual terms, the conversation goes beyond subjective likes and dislikes to address the actual value of the image.
Good photographers think in these visual terms when they are on assignment. They decide the moment to record, what to include, and what to take out. They look for good quality of light, juxtaposition, a point of entry, mood, emotion, and a sense of place in order to best tell the story visually. With experience, it becomes a natural process.
This course will teach you about visual language. It introduces terms that help develop a visual vocabulary, leading to improved photographs and more constructive discussions of images. When photographers and editors don’t articulate the journalistic value of an image, an important voice of the publication is muted or rendered ineffective. Photojournalists should use, and encourage others to use, the visual language. This course will help you learn that visual language.
Who should take this course
Photojournalists, picture editors, designers, reporters and anyone who wants make better images and use visual language to discuss them.
Davidson is a partner in Creative Eye Consulting, specializing in visual therapy for the newsroom. Before leaving in January 2003, Davidson was assistant managing editor/photography and senior editor/visuals at The Dallas Morning News. He has worked at five other newspapers as a photographer and photo editor.
Maria Mann is managing editor of the European Pressphoto Agency, based in Frankfurt.