What will become of photojournalism in an age of bytes and amateurs?
CJR: Flickring Out
At a recent event, photographer Antonin Kratochvil screened slideshows of his work: American soldiers coolly observing the Iraqi distressed and dead; Lebanese militant youths standing restlessly near decaying walls; American evangelicals speaking in tongues. The photographer then clambered onstage, ruddy and scarf-wrapped (â€œThe Bedoins wear them!â€) for his talk, but he was no Christopher Hitchens. He hated talking about himselfâ€”as uncomfortable in the role of sage as the rest of us would be in a war zoneâ€”and he left the stage with half the time for his â€œspeechâ€ unused, encouraging his audience to spend it smoking cigarettes instead. Kratochvil is not alone in his taciturnity. When I recently asked one of the greats of the form for his thoughts, he e-mailed the aphorism: â€œTo live happy, live hidden.â€
Perhaps this distrust in the verbal complaintâ€”so loved by windy print journalistsâ€”is why we donâ€™t hear so much about the difficulties facing photojournalism, from street corner news photographers to the deans of the eminent agencies Magnum and vii. Theyâ€™ve been struggling with downsizing, the rise of the amateur, the ubiquity of camera phones, sound-bite-ization, failing magazines (so fewer commissions), and a lack of money in general for the big photo essays that have long been the love of the metaphoric children of Walker Evans. Like print journalists, photographers are scrambling not only to make sense of the new world, but to survive in it intact.
Thanks for the link M.C.
see this entry about making dinner for Antonin last June