Monday, December 19, 2016

Research Project

            I have made the decision to write about photojournalism.  I think that photojournalism is an incredibly interesting career and it is for that reason that I am writing this paper.  The job of a photojournalist is to capture photographs that illustrate a moment in culture or a image of a quality of life.  Photojournalists capture images that illustrate the things that happen around the world so that people can be informed on current events and better understand what is truly happening through their ability to see a the truth through a photograph(Maniscalco, 31).  According to Guerrero García the characteristics that are needed to become a good professional photojournalist are "having academic training, being responsible, feeling concern, curiosity, being observant, anticipating situations, and being well-informed about the issue to be covered."(Guerrero, 42)

            As a photojournalist there are many different options for employment.  Photojournalists could get jobs working for local news publications.  Photojournalists could also pursue jobs where they would be working for national news publications.  There are even opportunities to pursue international work if you wanted to travel and photograph world-wide events.  Lastly another form of doing business as a photojournalist is to take freelance jobs or pursue projects on your own and sell the resulting images.

            I recently conducted an interview through email of Emmy-award-winning videographer and photographer Chuck Fadely.  Chuck Fadely has done some amazing work in the field of photojournalism(Chuck Fadely Productions | Video and Photography).  Mr. Fadely shared with me that rather than studying photography in college he studied liberal arts taking courses in art, literature, and philosophy that he feels have helped him tremendously in his life as a journalist.  He also shared with me that he picked up photography on his own and Mr. Fadely wrote on photography that "it's a craft you learn by doing." (Fadely)

            In this interview  with Mr. Fadely he shared with me that he got his start in photojournalism by doing work for his high school yearbook and then his college newspaper which made him decide to pursue photojournalism further rather than attending law school.  So for Mr. Fadely that's how his career as a photojournalist truly began.  This leads me to believe that there is no specific education requirements to become a photojournalist, but courses should be taken that with strengthen your abilities as a journalist (Fadely).

            The life of a photojournalist is a very unpredictable one with constant twists and turns as a photojournalist must be ready for anything.  It is very hard to definitively say what a typical work day or week is like because no two days will every really be the same.  The unpredictability of photojournalism is actually why I find it so interesting.  I love the idea of finding out that something is going on and then just rushing to get there as soon as you can in the hopes of capturing an amazing image.  For some photographers like Tim Harington- a photographer who spent several years in West Africa documenting the end of the war in Liberia as well as the daily life and changes that were taking place in multiple other African countries- you spent weeks months or even years away from home living in the midst of a new environment capturing their daily life(Long, 27).

            Pricing your work as a photojournalist is something that I have found is hard to exactly determine.  Of course you need to price your work in a way that you are making back whatever it cost you to produce the work as well as a profit.  Although, as David Burnett said "there is very little pay-for-content, so work is still being produced, but it's more and more difficult to be paid."  Burnett's comment leads me to believe that although you should be getting paid what you deserve it will be hard to make a living as a photojournalist so there will be times where you must just accept whatever offer is given because the publication that is hiring you can only afford to pay you so much(Long, 28).

            The salary of a photojournalist is slightly unpredictable.  There are many factor to be considered when determining a salary.  Some of these factors include the type of jobs you are doing as well as your experience and the quality of the work you are producing.  These many variables make it incredibly hard for me to determine how much money I could make as a photojournalist in a year.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that the median salary of a working U.S. photographer is 31,710 dollars.  This is a very approximate number because it is not taking into consideration all of the things I previously mentioned(Photojournalism Job Outlook and Employment Options).

            There are many great organizations that a photographer can join.  One of the benefits of these associations are the opportunities to network.  Many of these organizations will have meetings and conferences throughout the year that are usually free for all members to attend.  Some of these great organizations include the American Photographic Artists, the American Society of Media Photographers, and the Professional Photographers of America.  An association that is more specifically for photojournalists is the National Press Photographers Association(Member Spotlight).

            During my interview with Chuck Fadely he shared a little bit of advice with me.  He shared that if you are attending a school for photography you should spend some time taking some business classes.  Mr. Fadely wrote about business classes "they're important. It's not easy making a living these days."  I really appreciated this advice because it reinforces something that I have heard a few times now since becoming a photography major which is that I need to be flexible.  As a photographer I need to be willing to do all sorts of different jobs in order to pay my bills. So adding a businesswomen to the list of hats I need to be able to wear was very interesting to hear. It can at times be alarming to think of all of the different thing I am going to have to learn to keep my career going, but I am hopeful that I will be able to be successful(Fadely).

            This interview with Chuck Fadely and all of the information I have researched has helped me to learn a lot about photojournalism as a career.  I have discovered that working as a photojournalist is a lot more work in the financial area of the job than I anticipated.  I would love to work internationally as a photojournalist but this research has shown me the harsh reality that this is easier said than done.  I am very grateful to Chuck Fadely for his willingness to help me get the information I needed to complete this assignment as well as some personal advice.
"Chuck Fadely Productions | Video and Photography." Chuck Fadely Productions | Video and      Photography. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.
Fadely, Chuck, Mr. "Chuck Fadely." E-mail interview. 5 Dec. 2016.
Guerrero García, Virginia, and Bella Palomo. "The Crisis Of Photojournalism: Rethinking The      Profession In A Participatory Media Ecosystem." Communication & Society (2015): 33-       48. Acedemic Search Complete. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.
Long, Genevieve. "The Rebirth Of Photojournalism." Quill 98.1 (2010): 26-29. Literary             Reference Center. Web. 16 Dec. 2016
Maniscalco, Lynn Troy. "Feature Photography And Photojournalism." PSA Journal 74.9 (2008):            30-32. Acedemic Search Complete. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.
"Member Spotlight." National Press Photographers Association | NPPA. N.p., n.d. Web. 17             Dec. 2016.
"Photojournalism Job Outlook and Employment Options." N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec.     2016.

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