Photojournalism is the artwork of using photography to inform a story. Unlike today where snap shots can be cropped, altered and manipulated to present partial information, earliest forms of photojournalism had been believed to be inherently truthful. In the 1900s Lewis Wickes used photography to expose social injustices on child labor. He took images of children working in the factories and mines and detailed notes about their age. One photo that stood out was a ten-year-old girl Spinner at Whitnel cotton mill. This photograph is a clear indication that contemporary photojournalism draws a lot from the historical form of photography.
Regarding content, ancient images was limited in the quantity of information that could be presented. In Wickes’ photograph, it would be difficult to decipher the message without a caption given its content; the picture only portrays a girl standing in a corridor in what seems to be in an industry (Wickes). The photograph is also not clear; it is a bit blurred, and it is even difficult to determine whether the picture was taken at night or during the day. Besides that, the image had profound impact considering the efforts resulted in the implementation of laws prohibiting child labor.
The digital technology has had a profound impact on photojournalism. Today, photographs tend to capture considerable information which adds up to the overall understandability of the image. For example, in a picture published recently in the New York Times, the photographer has captured enough information to determine the minor is working in a textile industry (Yeginsu). The picture is also of higher quality than in the previous case; the image has well-defined shadows and a relatively high degree of contrast. Evidently, the content, appearance, and quality of contemporary images are better than in ancient photography. While in the past photojournalist were more keen on taking notes, today such information can be captured using a digital camera.
Figure 1: Ten-Year-Old Spinner, Whitnel Cotton Mill
Figure 2: A young Syrian refugee sewed shoe parts last month in a factory in Gaziantep, Turkey
Wickes, Lewis. “Ten-Year-Old Spinner, Whitnel Cotton Mill.”
Yeginsu, Ceylan. “In Turkey, A Syrian Child ‘Has to Work to Survive.'” Nytimes.Com, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/world/europe/in-turkey-a-syrian-child-has-to-work-to-survive.html?mcubz=1.