I woke my lazy ass and attended a talk by Zainal Abd Halim who is a former Reuters Malaysia photographer at MATIC recently. I learnt a lot about photojournalism. An eye opener I would say.
Photojournalism is similar to journalism except that it 'tells' the story through pictures instead of words. Well, that's pretty obvious I believe but as the matter of fact, it is much easier to pick up a pen and write a story rather than picking up the camera and snap a picture at the correct given time, location and event. With words, even if you missed the moment, you still can write it out but for pictures, if you miss the moment, that is the end of it.
For those of you who love doing editing, sorry to say photojournalism isn't your career path. Just like pictures you see in your daily newspapers, do you think they edit them by making it real? No! That's because those pictures are real! The most you can EVER edit is only just playing with a little bit of contrast and levels. Yes, you don't need editing skills to make photojournalism your career.
Posing pictures are definitely a no-no. Maybe an exception for mock cheque presentations I suppose cos I always see them all posing. In my work experience, photographers never asked my super boss to pose for any pictures. Even a mug shot of the interviewees are done without them posing. I viewed those pictures everyday and I notice that you can tell how the person is feeling through their facial expression, their body language, their movements and such.
Zainal showed us a lot of his pictures - during his war days, international events, sports, etc and also gave us tips and guides. I didn't take my eyes off that screen! I was asking myself if I could ever achieve it. Can I be like him? Will I ever make it? I am afraid that I won't be able to make it. Work has eaten up most of my free time that I use to hunt for pictures. Now, my camera is left at the corner. Poor camera. I miss you.
To focus, I'll need to go train my eyes. I don't mean letting my eyes run on the tracks but instead train them to 'pick up' moments to create a story. Pictures that speak by themselves without me adding any words to it.
I hope I can make it. I hope I can.