3 March 2009

The power of pictures

What is it about stills that always seems to capture the imagination? Movie footage just doesn't seem to be able to replicate that intensity or remain in the memory for as long. Think of any of the most famous events in the last 50-100 years and they have all been defined by an image. 

Sure it was harder to shoot movies in the past, there was no EOS 5D Mark II to use to capture a few minutes of video to tell the story. However, there were plenty of other moving image cameras and yet it's always the stills we remember. 

The protests in Tiananmen square with the lone student standing in front of the tanks taken by Stuart Franklin. The Vietcong guerilla being shot in the head by Eddie Adams. The young Vietnamese girl running away from the napalm attack taken by Nick Ut. The flag raising on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal. The dying soldier by Capa. These are all still images that define a moment in history, that capture a moment in time in such a way that the whole story is contained in the one image. Real photojournalism.

Fortunately for us as viewers, the art of photojournalism is not dead. There are still great photographers out there working and capturing these defining moments with their camera. To offer some proof and provide you with your daily fix of photographic inspiration, take a look at The year 2008 in photographs over at the Boston Globe, a paper long known for its commitment to photojournalism. Be aware they are not all cute fluffy images. There are one of two that may be disturbing to some viewers, but they are covered by a link to click if you want to see them displayed. 

Hit the comments with your thoughts on these images and whether you think the power of still images will remain now that it is getting ever easier to shoot movies as well......


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