Photojournalism as a Nativistic Movement

In my Magic, Science and Religion class we covered Ralph Linton and his theory on nativistic movements. From what I understand, which may not be much, societies that are dominated by another group may respond, either with physical or metaphysical means, in an attempt to revive or preserve certain aspects of their culture.

This lesson, for some reason or another, got me thinking about newspapers and photojournalism.

In a way, newspapers are dominated by 24 hour cable news networks and the Internet. Subscriptions are down, and many people my age receive their news while scrolling up and down a screen, not a piece of paper. While some in our industry may in fact have responded to the threat to our livelihood with metaphysical prayer, most responded with physical means, by adopting audio recorders, video cameras, and many other new skill sets.

At this point in my thoughts I imagined my instructor, Professor Amiras, explaining to me that it appears to not be a revival or perpetuation if they are adopting new technologies and practices.

It seems to me though, that we are indeed trying to revive the “glory days” of photojournalism, when social documentary was more prevalent, and photo magazines such as LIFE ruled the land. Back then the focus was on the story. That isn’t to say that newspaper photographers haven’t been focused on the story in the recent past, but that shrinking space in newspapers has not allowed them to tell complete stories with multiple photos.

Now, in a time when photojournalists face pressures from falling budgets, a jaded public, and citizen journalists, it seems as if, through the use of the Internet, we are trying to revive that aspect of the profession; an aspect that is not as easily replaceable and has not lost its power.

Am I just crazy? I think I am. That is what happens when I can’t sleep and it’s 4 in the morning.

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