Letting photographers tell the story

There are no statistics or surveys to prove me right (or wrong), but I suspect the public disdain for the media doesn’t extend to the guys who take the pictures. After all, they’re just doing a job. They wear regular clothes and don’t have that prima donna air about them. They’re more like your neighbor than the guy with the notepad or the gal with the microphone. They get their hands dirty while others don’t.

One of the cornerstones of Postmodernism is trust of the experiences of friends over the knowledge of experts, and I have a feeling news photographers fit nicely into that niche. Who would you rather hear from, the person whose training (and in broadcasting’s case, “cosmetics”) puts them in the room with news, or the one taking it all in through the lens of a camera?

Photographers have a mission that somehow transcends the story, and that’s what makes them such good storytellers. A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words.

That’s what makes Dave Snider’s project so compelling. He’s the founder of The Photography Channel, a fun place where photographers assume the role of storyteller. Go visit the site and click on some of the videos. You’ll be amazed, not only at the quality of the work, but the warmth and “realness” of the eyewitness accounts.

I like this idea very, very much, and I think media outlets — whether broadcast or print — should take up this concept and run with it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s still photography or video. The story is what counts, and these photographers get past the glass in a way typical reporters just don’t.

Perhaps it’s because Snider positions them as eyewitnesses instead of storytellers that makes the work so compelling. Regardless, I think it’s brilliant.

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