Why photography and news matter (still)

Just back in from a week photographing in Bangladesh, and there’s an awful lot of coverage of the Leveson inquiry into how parts of the press have behaved here in the UK.  And there’s some terrible things coming out, which is awful – but it is also true to say (and has been said) that the phone hacking scandal wouldn’t have been discovered at all if it wasn’t for independent, high quality investigative journalism.  There’s a lot on this on Edmond Terakopian’s excellent ‘Photo This and That’ blog – the point is that good journalism and photography matter – our society won’t just be less interesting without it, we’ll all be poorer in our understanding of the world, and of how power and money and politics can be abused to control our (in)action. There is no excuse for some of the activities carried out in the name of journalism here in the UK over the past twenty or more years. But it’s essential for us to understand that not all (or even most) journalism is rotten, and that much of it is vital to our future freedom.

In a timely manner, two fantastic sets of images have been posted recently.  One is on the Reuters blog and is a round up of their 100 best photos of the year.  Very strong, and quite a diverse range of images, complete with the stories behind them, which is great to read.

The other is Life magazine’s 75 best images – always a difficult statement to completely believe (it’s like re-releasing Elvis’s 12 best songs, again, in a different box, and slightly different track order if you’re not careful…), but in fact this is an extraordinary collection of images – I’d forgotten quite how many of my favourite pictures were from Life.  It’ll take you a good twenty minutes to go through, but absolutely worth it.

Picasso, Larry Burrows in Vietnam, James Dean by Dennis Stock, Sinatra in the steam room, Kennedys galore – it’s all there…

And finally, this looks pretty cool too. Press release from Getty Images: ‘We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new book by Veronique de Viguerie and her journalist colleague Manon Querouil-Bruneel, ‘Carnets De Reportages Du XXIeme Siecle’ (’21st Century Reportage Diaries’).


richard hanson :: photographer :: sheffield