The last entry was about a column in the New York Times Lens blog. Longtime editor Donald Winslow had a somewhat troubling perspective on the state of photojournalism as a field and the outlook for its future.
Another photographer followed up with a different perspective. Leslie Davis is a young photographer/videographer for the Times. There are multiple perspectives that can be taken with most topics, and this one is no exception. In the followup entry on the Lens blog, Davis finds reason for optimism in the tools and opportunities that are available for photojournalism. She doesn’t dispute that rates for freelancers often are low and there are fewer staff jobs or editorial assignments. But within that environment Davis sees opportunities. Technology has progressed to the point where most people have a high-resultion image/audio capture device in their pockets. The internet and social media offer more opportunities for distributing work. The “unfiltered” nature of those channels means photographers can present the edit they think best tells the story, in contrast to days when the editors decided the focus of the story and the layout.
The two perspectives are a good reminder that there are challenges in the field. Like the rest of journalism, photojournalism is evolving. It’s been doing that for a century or more. With evolution come challenges, but also opportunities. How we respond to the challenges and what we make of the opportunities influences how the field will evolve.
Here’s another link to Davis’ perspective on the Lens blog.