Photograph taken by Sebastian Meyer
Being a photojournalist takes an incredible amount of courage, especially when the photographer is risking his or her life to capture an image in a hazardous location. One of the well-known stories about the dangers of photojournalism is the story about a war-film director and a second prize-winning photojournalist who were killed during the time they were covering a battle between the Libyan government and rebels, along with two other photographers heavily wounded. Neither of the two men who were killed had protective gear with them, ultimately causing their death by lack of protection. According to an article on NBC News, “British-born Tim Hetherington, co-director of the 2010 documentary “Restrepo” about U.S. soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed,” stated by his publicist. Tim traveled to Libya to pursue his ongoing project involving multiple media sources to emphasize the humanitarian issues during the time of this war between rebels and the Libyan government. The other victim, Chris Hondros, was a New York-based photographer who died a few days after the incident due to head wounds. Both of these men will be remembered for their dedication to journalism and their love for photographing events that very few people have the courage to attempt. To receive more information about this incident, you can view the article here.
In regards to this, the most dangerous locations for photojournalists range from various places around the world. The top three most dangerous locations for photojournalists to visit are Iraq, Somalia, and the Philippines. Iraq has been listed as the top most threatening location to travel to in regards for photojournalists because of its ongoing violence for the past few years. One journalist stated, “I was in a U.S. military vehicle that was hit by a 200 pound suicide car bomb.” However, U.S. journalists aren’t the only ones at risk, Iraqi journalists are at risk as well if not more; they are at risk from being punished by Al-Quaeda if they publish anything negative. The second most dangerous location is Somalia for similar reasons, but one of the biggest risks of going out to the unsafe locations is the possibility of being kidnapped. There have been various cases where journalists have been kidnapped while searching for information in different regions of Somalia. The third most dangerous location is the Philipines because according to Jacob Maentz, “It’s clear that most of the journalist murders in the Philippines since 1992 were politically motivated in some regard.” However, although these dangers can be harmful, Maentz believes that journalists should not be hesitant of covering important stories that need to be heard, which is true journalism.
This post this week is about the famous photojournalist Michael Ainsworth; he was born in Houston, Texas and is known specifically for sports and thunder storms photography. He ‘s known as the “Thunder Boy” and is one of the most reliable sources around, which is why his photographs have been featured in many large magazines and news outlets such as The Dallas Morning News, The Newsweek, The National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. Ainsworth has won many awards for Picture of the Year; he was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the photographs he captured of Hurricane Katrina, which you can view here.
Some of the most important traits a photojournalist must possess are: attempt to strive for the truth, be able to capture compelling images, and take risks. Michael Ainsworth has achieved all of these traits; he has become such an important icon in the photojournalism world today because of his dedication and reliability in this field of work, which are the two most important traits one should possess to become successful in this business. Especially with the direction journalism is headed in today, it’s crucial that a photojournalist creates enormous amounts of credibility with the public to remain a trusted source of information.
This photograph was taken by Richard Drew, a member of Associated Press, which shows a man jumping off of the World Trade Center during the event of 9/11 in 2001. This person who remains unidentified jumped off of this building for a reason that’s still remained unknown; however, it seems most likely that the man was trying to escape from the smoke and fire. This still remains an iconic image today because it represents the tragic events that occurred on this day.
When it comes to morals, photojournalists have an obligation to get the one photograph that represents the epitome of an event no matter how hard it is to handle the truth. Many in society are against photojournalists because of this reason; there have been numerous events where photojournalists have signed contracts agreeing to avoid getting involved with the scene they’re shooting, but this has resulted in humans being harmed. This is where the controversial issue becomes apparent because ethics plays a huge role in journalism, especially photojournalism . Photographers are obligated to dedicate their jobs to obtaining pure information without tampering with the scene, even if their morals run into the ability to get the photograph.
For example, one of the largest controversial photographs is the National Geographic image of the african girl crawling to a food camp to get food, but there’s a vulture standing close by eyeing her as its next meal. The photographer, Kevin Carter, had the decision to either save the girl from the vulture or letting nature take its course, and because he signed the contract agreeing to not get involved with the story he chose to take the photograph and leave, resulting in the girl passing away. This photograph won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for feature photography. This distraught image hugely impacted the society in a negative way; many were incredibly displeased with the photographer for not helping the little girl and blaming him for the death of her, but others were able to identify with him and understand that he had an obligation to get the story. Ethics in photojournalism will always be a controversial issue in society because of the multiple levels of morals society has; ultimately, these types of photographs will always have a never-ending ethical issue.