Future of Photojournalism

 

What, in your opinion, will be the future of photojournalism?

Answer by: Showkat Nanda, Documentary Photographer and Educator

I don’t think photojournalism is dead, as it is commonly perceived. Today, there are endless opportunities to tell stories, as long as you try and find new and creative ways of weaving a compelling narrative. After all, photojournalists and documentary photographers are needed to throw light on crucial issues, and I am convinced that there’s no dearth of such individuals.

It’s true that we are living in a world where we are being bombarded with millions of pictures every day, and where media houses are shrinking their budgets and laying off their staff. But I don’t think that the craving that one has for good visual stories will ever stop. More than ever, telling thoughtful and trustworthy narratives that engage the viewers have become important. People all over the world are still hungry for it. My optimism is driven by the fact that professional photographers are more sophisticated in the manner that they tell stories. A photograph, which is preceded by a calculated decision and proper research, will always have great meaning, as opposed to a fleeting ‘cellphone click’.

In this day and age, I see a lot more possibilities, with regards to the dissemination of work. Today, it’s quite easy for photographers to get noticed. With the digital revolution and the growth of social media, I imagine a larger audience for goodwork. Although we might not see our work in the printed form more often, it’s easier to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital revolution continues to offer photographers.

Twenty years ago, a photographer at the beginning of his career would struggle to find a good platform for his work. Now, it’s not too difficult to be published internationally because media outlets are becoming more committed to good storytelling, while reputation or experience is secondary. If you are a young freelancer and have a good story, nobody can prevent you from getting published. With Instagram and Facebook, it has become easier to be noticed by editors. I see more such possibilities in the future, especially through increasing opportunities as a freelancer.

It has encouraged what we call the democratisation of photography, where you are not bound by any restrictions. You can work on stories that interest you. You have a choice, whether you want to do it with pictures or compliment it with videos, audios or graphics. Even the number of grants in support of work is increasing every year.

This article originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Better Photography.

 

Students in Kashmir discuss photographs during a workshop taught by Showkat Nanda. “I have seen that a lot of young photographers have stories to tell, but what they require is the guidance to hone their art. Photograph/AKS School of Documentary Photography

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