Since photojournalism was the basis for my photographic experience, our biennial revisit to the subject is perhaps my favorite issue to research, as it allows me to return to my roots.
As history unfolds, there’s always something interesting to report, and the public has an insatiable appetite for stories. Since our last issue on photojournalism, we have witnessed some big photo news stories, indeed, including Barack Obama’s ascent to the presidency, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the passing of Michael Jackson.
The last two years have also been a time of great uncertainty in the industry. The opportunities for making a reasonable living as a photojournalist are as questionable as ever. In addition to the world’s recent economic woes, the commoditization of imagery and the shift from print media to the internet have provided new challenges for professionals to remain viable and relevant.
In this issue, we examine the realities of surviving in this business and discuss ways that photojournalists are using multimedia tools and new forms of distribution to reinvent their outdated business models.
Our cover profile story on Rick Loomis will give you a glimpse into the passion and dedication that define the best in visual journalism. As a staff photographer for The Los Angeles Times, Loomis has worked in war zones and countless other locations throughout the world where his imagery could make a difference.
In addition, we present a look at the industry through the eyes of a panel of professionals – heads of several news photo agencies, educators and photojournalists – who provide some expert perspective on the current atmosphere and how to overcome the challenges.
It also gives us great pleasure to present Rick Smolan as our 13th annual PhotoMedia Photography Person of the Year. Smolan is one of those exceptional people who has managed to live his dream, first as a photojournalist, then as a very forward-thinking and successful photo-book publisher working on influential projects involving photojournalists worldwide.
Our story on social networking addresses a topic that’s especially timely following the rise of Twitter as one of the primary distribution channels for many of today’s visual news stories, such as the uprisings that followed the Iranian elections this summer.
I’m also pleased to announce that our website, PhotoMediaonline.com, has been totally redesigned with new features for a noticeably more contemporary user interface. We invite you to visit us online.
Now more than ever, it’s critical that you let our advertisers know that you noticed their ads in PhotoMedia – our future depends on it. They deserve the utmost appreciation for supporting this publication and enabling us to bring you in-depth coverage of the world of photography for free. We welcome your opinions and encourage you to share PhotoMedia with others who love photography.
Gary Halpern, Publisher