Learning To See The World

Andrew Sullivan —  May 23 2011 @ 7:45pm


Ryan Calder remembers the late photojournalist Anton Hammerl, who died in Libya:

From Anton — and from two other photographers I came to know in Libya, Samuel Aranda and João Pina – I learned that photojournalism is not just about taking riveting photos and selling them to whomever will pay. It’s about becoming familiar with the world — paying attention not just to the who-what-when-where of a breaking story framed in the apposite image, but to the why. Photojournalists — at least the best ones, like Anton and Samuel and João — know that to seal the texture and history of a moment in an image, or to capture the struggles of the everyday in a subject’s face, you need to understand the stories and the forces of society behind them.

Perhaps all journalists already know this. I’m sure all photojournalists do. But I didn’t. We sociologists may think we have a monopoly on the practice of sociology. We don’t.

The Lens has more.

(Photo: South African photographer Anton Hammerl at work, March 31.)