Photojournalism, Links

On the morning of April 2, 1954, Los Angeles Times photographer John Gaunt was lounging in the front yard of his beachfront home in Hermosa Beach when he heard a neighbor shout, “Something’s happening on the beach!” Gaunt grabbed his Rolliflex camera and ran toward the shoreline.

When he arrived, he saw a young couple standing near the water clutching each other. Their 19-month-old son who had been playing in their yard had wandered down to the beach and into the surf. He was swept away by the fierce tide and drowned. Gaunt took four quick photos of the grieving couple.

One of them appeared on the front page of The Times the next morning and won him a Pulitzer and an AP Award. Critical acclaim and harsh criticism surrounded Gaunt immediately. The Pulitzer committee called the photograph, titled “Tragedy by the Sea,” “poignant and profoundly moving.” However, many wondered whether it was ethical to take these photos. Although Gaunt did not know the couple personally, he knew people who did, and Gaunt himself had a 3-year-old daughter at home at that time.

 

Regarding the above story, the image is made powerful through the text and the text powerful through the image.  In photojournalism, knowing the complete story and the context of the image is important.  When browsing through the following sites, please take the time to read the accompanying text so as to understand the context.

 

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James Nachtwey

Iconic Photos

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3 Comments

  1. Monseiur Cap't Maximillian Castro Esquire Phd.

    Photography has been part of society since the dawning of time. But instead of cameras, cavemen used mammoth blood to convey their ideas. In this modern age of technology, SD cards, Facebook, Flickr, segways, androids, Android-brand phones, T-2’s, 4D films, Netflix, Bluetooth headsets, Family Guy re-runs, “Manswers”, Indian food, and so on and so forth, media and imagrey are omnipresent. In my opinion, we’re sounded by atrocities every day. And we photograph them just as much as we see them. Take for example, that guido taking a photo of himself with his Motorola Razorin his parent’s master bathroom. That’s a tragedy. The father taking a photo of his ten children and sending it to everyone he knows in the mail. That’s a tragedy. The two freshmen girls taking trashy photos of themselves at raves. That’s a tragedy. These are all tragedies in the same respect of taking photos of elephant grave yards in Africa, or the poor and desolate lying on the bustling rails of Indonesia. All of these human tragedies surround us on a daily basis. We just choose not to look at them, but instead, we look at the cute photo of the new kitten our friend got via Facebook. I believe that’s what makes it such a tragedy. When there’s so much human suffering in the world, but the thing is, we’re too distracted by superfluous photos every day that don’t even matter to us.

    So what am I getting at, man?

    Allow me to get straight to the biscuit, if we can take photos of our stupid kids, our dumb animals, our useless new shiny toys, etc. We might as well take more photos of human suffering to show that there’s more important things to be worrying about besides that “brand-spanking-new-sweater-you-got-at-the-thrift-store-for-a great-price”.

    Know what I’m sayin’?

  2. Mariela Camacho

    Photographs make words stronger and gives more meaning to them. For example just reading about the grieving parents would give you the same feeling as actually seeing them. Seeing the picture gives a sense of what it was really like and makes you believe it more. Seeing is believing now a days. Espacilly with all the lies in the media. Seeing the image makes it more real and gives more meaning to the words. And it goes vice versa too. The words that go along with the image make you understand what is going on. You can’t learn something from just looking at an image, but you can’t get a sense of what something is really like unless you see it and feel it. So in order to understand feel a tragedy you have to see it. Their is nothing wrong with taking pictures of sad people and that’s not taking advantage of them. That i s just another art form and it is how the photographer expresses his feeling through the pictures he is taking.

  3. Karina Schink

    A picture paints a thousand words, but sometimes that’s not enough. Photojournalism makes it possible for a photograph and words to merge together and explain things in a new way. Writing is a way of communication that has always worked. But what happens when that is not enough? That is where photos come in. Words can describe atrocities, but people can easily skip over those articles. Pictures capture attention and you can never un-see them. They force people to see the sadness and feel it through them. That simple act can mean so much more than reading an article. Pictures force people to feel emotions that would rather turn away from. People can’t turn away from sad events just because they are afraid to feel bad or sad. It’s not right. Pictures change that. They make the impossible possible.

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