Monday, March 05, 2012

Photojournalism Photo Essay

Photo Essay...

Wheelchair photo by RHS student Sarah M.Photo Essays tell stories with pictures in ways that words cannot. They show us the faces of joy, pain, pride and fear.

One famous photo essayist was Larry Burrows. Burrows was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam but his work helped show the face of war to Americans.

Burrows has a Burrows memorial page that has some of his photographs including 15 photographs that served as covers for Life Magazine. This photo is from the cover of his book, Vietnam. You can see some of the photos from this link to the book on

Time and Life magazines both have a long history of photo journalism. Many of these photo essays are on-line and available for viewing.

essay photoAssignment - Photo Essay (Part 1)

In this assignment you will create your own photo essay. To help prepare you for this you should review some other photo essays and prepare a report.

Select a photo essay from the web site.

Select one essay and to review it. You will need to respond to these points in a word processing program like Text Edit:
  1. Did the photographer use staged photos, candid photos or both?
  2. Color or B&W? Did it make a difference? What factors contributed to the selection of one over the other?
  3. Find examples of good framing and composition and point them out. How close do the subjects feel in the photo?
  4. Find examples of good use of color and light. Do you see backlighting? Were the photos taken early or late in the day?
  5. How much narration and text support the essay?
  6. Do the photos in the essay stand alone or do they need to be seen as a part of the whole?
  7. Describe your reaction to the essay. Do all photo essays illicit a reaction in the viewer?

Assignment - Photo Essay (Part 2)

  1. Minimum of 8 photos
  2. Single theme or "story" for the essay
  3. Consider the following in composing your photographs:
    • Color or B&W
    • Composition
    • Lighting
    • Angle and distance to subject
    • Candid or posed photos?
  4. Consider the need for text to accompany each photograph.
Do some advanced planning and make a list of the photographs you'd like to take. MOST of the work for this assignment will happen OUTSIDE of class and AWAY from school. Plan early and get started early on this one...

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