A quick lesson in political photojournalism

30 01 2008

Photographers work hard. At least some do. John Harrington, for example, not only goes out and shoot the State of The Union address made by president Bush last night in Washington D.C., but he also stays after around to check on the work of other photographers. Not only he had to file his own images but he also took the time to create a great video report on how his colleagues work, what equipment they use, at what angle they prefer to shoot the event, and, most importantly, why ?

What a lot of people are not aware and that this video shows, is that pro photographers are not just snappers that are just offered a seat to shoot from and are satisfied with it. They think ahead of time of what image they want to catch, what would be the perfect photograph and why. They are much more than simple button pushers sitting on their butts shooting the president in a sequential harmony. As portrayed in the video, most couldn’t care less about Bush and his final speech. They were there for the Obama/Clinton/Kennedy shot as they preempted that it would be THE shot. The money shot.

It also shows how restrictive the work of a photojournalist has become. You are assigned a position and you can not move. For people trained to find the best perspective, whose talent partly reside in where they physically stand, it is an exercise in frustration. They are locked up and grouped together, almost forced to shoot the same thing.

Finally, it shows how big news organization, like the AP, Getty, Reuters can afford to have photographers in multiple locations, thus increasing the overhaul chance of getting the right image while the lonely independent guy has to battle to make the best of his position.

Here is John Harrington ‘s video ( John also has a great blog that, although I do not always agree with, read every day):

I have also taken the liberty to show some of the results, which is, if it has any, the only weak point of the video :The Washington Post here :

Washington Post Slideshow


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