In today's world the ways in which to communicate and tell a story are endless. Be it through print media, television, radio, or social media, if you have a story there is always a way to get it out there. Some creative outlets are of course more influential than others and seem to have a greater impact on society as a whole. For me, the use of photojournalism is what really hits me every time. Without words or sounds an entire story is told from beginning to end. There are no instructions that come with it and the viewer is left only with his own thoughts and interpretations to decipher the meaning of the image.
I find photojournalism to be quite beautiful and powerful, however, I also think that sometimes it goes too far. I can appreciate the fact that some photojournalistic images encourage and promote change in certain countries or among certain situations but I also think that sometimes the photographers who are taking these photos should sometimes leave their cameras behind and take action in the situation that they have found themselves in. One man's photo-op is another man's nightmare. Take the following image into consideration:
This image by photojournalist Kevin Carter was taken in 1994 and won the Pulitzer Prize. While this photo is very powerful and sends the message that there are many starving children, such as this one, in Africa, I have to wonder if this is going too far. This child is clearly suffering and all Carter can do is snap photos of the little boy as he curls up in pain. According to the website Multimedia Seattle, "The picture depicts a famine stricken child being stalked by a vulture. The child is crawling towards a United Nations food camp, a kilometer away. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer, who left the scene as soon as the photo was taken. He later confided to friends that he wished he had intervened" (Multimedia Seattle 2010). Wishing and doing are two very different things. That is all fine and dandy that Carter wishes he could go back and help but the fact is, he can't. Carter could have easily picked the child up or at least taken his hand and led him to the UN food camp. Instead he just got his photo and walked away. How somebody can take such heart wrenching photos and not get involved is beyond me. Just looking at the photo makes me want to cry.
I can appreciate the fact that photojournalism raises awareness in countries such as ours, where the majority of society is more focused on what Britney Spears had to eat for breakfast than things such as famine in distant lands. What I cannot understand is the lengths that these people will go to in order to get a photo, and for what? So that they can win a prize while someone else slowly dies? I am torn between my thoughts with regards to photojournalism. On one hand I absolutely love it and am always amazed at the photos that are produced each year. On the other hand I sometimes have to question the code of ethics that is implemented when it comes to taking pictures. In society today, how far is too far?