How and why great photos were published
January 11, 2007
Most photojournalism books are centered on photographs, which makes sense. However, “things as they are” traces the evolution of photojournalism over the last 50 years through newspapers, magazines and the Internet. The book republishes many great news photographs, but it also shows the images in context – on the magazine, newspaper and Internet pages where they originally appeared.The book focuses on the 50 years that World Press Photo has existed, from 1955 to 2005. The organization’s annual contest has become one of the most prestigious in the photography world. But instead of merely publishing the winning photos, this book concentrates on the evolution of photojournalism over the 50-year span.
The book won the 2006 International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Best Publication.Written by Mary Panzer, “things as they are” is organized simply. There are five sections, each representing one decade, beginning in 1955. Each section describes the magazines, newspapers, photographers and photo agencies that rose or fell during that period. Each chapter begins with a collection of the World Press Photo of the Year winners from that decade, and describes how and why the images were published.Panzer writes in the introduction: “We consider photojournalism in context; that is, as a work of many authors – the photographers who make the pictures, the writers who create the text, the editors and art directors who organize the story on the page (and who, in many cases, conceive and commission it), the journals that print the story, and the audiences who read it.”To illustrate each decade, the book includes explanations of the photos and how the photographer acquired the image. By showing the entire published presentation of the images, the book is unusually detailed and authentic.
The afterword, by Christian Caujolle, gives a stern warning about the advent of the Internet: The printed publication is doomed unless it takes drastic measures to do what the Web cannot. Overall, this book will make good reading for anyone interested in photography and photojournalism. It contains not only fine photographs, but also a rich history of modern photojournalism.