There is yet another debate raging around the internet about the death of photojournalism after a series of rather good photographs shot using an iphone app, has just won third place in a category of POYi. Damon Winter of the New York Times was the photographer and has his say here.
Now pardon me if I sound a little obtuse, but in my humble opinion this does not actually contribute to, as stated by one commentator on the New York Times Lens Blog, the death of photojournalism. Lord, the Hipstamatic app is a clone for what we used to do to film by shooting on 4″x5″, cross-processing and cooking the crap outta the neg. In fact if you click on my website and go to the last image in ‘Shadowlands’ you will see a photo with similar technical attributes as the Hipstamatic app.
Of course the difference being, the simple street scene in ‘Shadowlands’ was shot on a 4″X5″ camera and in Redfern in Sydney, as opposed to being taken in a war zone in Afghanistan. But does either photo have less validity as photojournalistic because both photographers stretched the actual parameters of the equipment they were using? Is the story not as important?
I remember being laughed at by an AAP photographer for dragging my 4″X5″ camera down into the Aboriginal community at ‘The Block’ in Redfern to photograph a highly charged memorial for a 16 year old boy who had being impaled on a fence (whilst being ‘allegedly’ pursued by police) because apparently ‘real’ photojournalists don’t work that way.
Me… well I got a couple of shots there that have now been shown at the Annenberg Space for Photography so as far as I am concerned its not the equipment that makes the photo, its the eye behind it. And how Damon Winter has despoiled photojournalism by his use of an iphone camera and app is completely beyond me.
I mean how many other Hipstamatic user’s are there in Afghanistan? Or at least those that could produce really gorgeous sensitive images like those of Damon Winter’s?
So what do you think? Is it just that many photographers and enthusiasts are too scared to embrace change so much that they are frightened of an iphone app? Or is it because for photojournalism the writing is really on the wall?