Last week, I was asked to visit one of our summer school classes and talk about photography. The topic was up to me, so I decided to talk about what I know best – photojournalism.
When I’m out taking pictures, I like to include people in the frame. People just make pictures more interesting. It brings an element of activity and emotion into the scene.
I also especially love the photojournalism style because it captures people “in the moment.” You can catch people’s genuine reactions, whether it’s happiness, sadness, surprise or anger. The activity and emotion represented in candid shots are absorbed by the viewer. Within a second or two, the person viewing the photo can get some sense of a storyline, which is what photojournalism is all about – telling a story through pictures.
I shared this quote from Dorothea Lange with the kids: “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” I think it perfectly explains the goal of all photography: to capture a moment in time in a tangible, visual piece of art.
To show the difference between photos with people and without, I grabbed several pairs of similar pictures – one without people in it and one with people. For example, one was a mountain landscape, and its match was a golfer on a green with a mountain landscape as the backdrop. Then I showed them a few snapshots from award-winning photojournalists and let them guess at the storyline just by looking at what was happening in the picture. The kids definitely enjoyed this exercise, and it was a good backdrop for their photo essay project!