Gordon Parks bought his first camera in 1938 when he was 25 years old and living in Seattle, Washington. Up to that time, Parks did not have much of a life. Born in Kansas in 1912, Parks was one of 15 children and experienced the cruelties of racism when some white kids pitched him into • Read More »
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,531) on Friday, September 4, 2020. The idea rattling through in my head for the last few days has been “gentleness.” Our modern human world doesn’t put much stock in the idea of gentleness, but nature does. I’m lucky in that I get to • Read More »
This newsletter was sent to all of the subscribers on Jim’s list (2,912) on Friday, February 8, 2019. This week’s newsletter takes a short break from writers and writing (mostly) and explores a couple of other topics, such as post-prison rehabilitation and the interesting story of a 1960s folk music classic. But you can • Read More »
When it comes to paying a lasting tribute to veterans, few people can match the work of Josephine Herrick. Herrick was a professional photographer in the 1930s and 40s with a successful studio in New York City when the United States went to war in 1941. She organized a group of 35 fellow-photographers to take • Read More »
If you were a news photographer in the 20th century, you probably wanted to be like David Douglas Duncan — courageous, fearless, adventurous, and constantly seeing what others don’t see. Duncan died this past week at the age of 102. His legacy of photography — particularly combat photography — is unmatched. Here’s part of what • Read More »
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sends out photographers along with its emergency responders to record disasters wherever they occur. Here are some of those photos. Please remember the victims of this disaster by donating to the relief agency of your choice. My choice is the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR.org). Members of FEMA’s • Read More »
The suffrage ladies may not be done with me. Those were the women who, between 1910 and 1920, affected the most profound change in the make-up of the electorate in the history of the Republic. In 2013, Seeing Suffrage was published by the University of Tennessee Press. The book was about the 1913 Washington suffrage • Read More »
Sometime around 3:20 p.m. on March 3, 1913, Jane Burleson gave the signal, and the 1913 Washington Suffrage Parade commenced on Pennsylvania Avenue. A short time after that, the arc of the suffrage movement changed markedly.
Americans waited nearly two years before the news media printed a combat photograph that showed a dead U.S. serviceman. The reasons for that wait were that such producing such photos are too shocking for the friends and families of the deceased and that the public’s morale and support for the war might be diminished.
The story of the Life magazine photo is an interesting one and demonstrates the controversy surrounding photographing the deceased, particularly those who have died in combat.
Below is a set of photographs of soldiers killed in battle during the Civil War.
That age was spawned by magazines, particularly Life magazine, which began publishing in 1936. You can find more about this topic at the Library of Congress’ American Memory web site, particularly in a collection from the 1930s and 1940s. It’s worth noting that many of the great photographers of this era were women such as Dorthea Lange, who took the often seen photograph of a migrant mother in the 1930s (left).
For those interested in photojournalism, this is one of the best organizations to be affiliated with. Visit the organization’s web site and find out what’s required to join. You’ll also find a lot more there.
Those of us who have advised students publications or web sites know the type: the young man or woman who wants to take pictures. Often there is no one who joins the staff who is more enthusiastic or who expresses more willingness to go to work. The problem is that person has little or no experience.
Daniel Okrent, the public editor of the New York Times, has written an excellent piece based on the decision by Times editors to run a picture of a grieving mother among a number of dead babies killed by the Dec. 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
The rule is a simple one: Don’t change a photograph. Since accuracy and truth and all that are so central to the practice of journalism, you’d think that journalists, of all people, would get it. But sometimes they don’t, and when that happens, it’s always a shock, particularly when it happens at a big time news organization such as Newsweek.