The photojournalists, between the photo and the ethic

Since the birth of the modern Photojournalism, located by the experts in 1885 in the Crimea´s War, many communicators have asked about the reality of this job, when it was borned, where, and when the photojournalism starts to be relevant for the communication and the society. Jorge Claro León, an independent photographer, place  the beginnings of the photojournalism: “El origen del fotoperiodismo se encuentra estrechamente ligado a la denominada fotografía documental.” (Jorge Claro León, (2009)). That direct link ith the documental photography is exactly wchich defines the job of photojournalists.

On the other hand, Ulises Castellanos affirm about the photojournalism: “the photojournalism was one of the genres that basically answered to the premises of the journalistic information. Overarching of any consideration, the photojournalism has the objective of relate the history that is been living in the moment. The photographer snaps the time, freeze the movement and reveal the invisible things. The goal of the photojournalism is tell to the audience what was there, quickly, clearly and without mystery, or confussion”.

It has been talked so much about the photojournalists and their job, but going back in time, we can find the precedents of photojournalism, and the records of the attitude of photojournalists in the painters of the Realism. In the middle of the XIX century, the painters started to capture the soul of the moment in their paintings. They wanted to capture the light, the shapes, the movement, the scenery, the history of the moment, and the temporary, in some brush strokes. That attitude bring about the birth of a artistic movement, the Realism, that was taken the place of the photography when it was developed. One of the most important examples of that is “The Angelus” of Millet. It seems a frame of a film picking up all of the essence of the moment.Imagen“The Angelus” of Millet. The most famous picture of the Impressionism Movement of the 20th century. From

Maybe that should be the attitude of photojournalists. But on the other hand practising the photojournalism is pretend to show by images a hide reality. In the photjournalism, like the journalism, there is an ethic which that beat the photojournalist and his job. Francisco A. Rizzuto, one of the “armchair” of the Journalist National Academy of Argentina remember that: “Comencemos definiendo qué es la ética y según la enciclopedia Espasa: “La ética es la parte de la filosofía que trata de la moral y de las obligaciones del hombre”.

I find very interesting remember the thinking of the beatified Juan Pablo II, about the issue of the Ethic and Journalism, tought that can be applied for the photojournalism. In his Encyclical at beginning’s o f 1994, “Veritas Splendor” he talked about the bond between the freedom and the truth. Also, he spoke in 1984 to some journalists of all of the world in a meeting in Rome, and he considered the job of a journalist like a job of any professional of communication. He said: “Hay una gran analogía entre la de cualquier persona que enuncia un Evangelio, un credo religioso y un anunciante o un profesional de la comunicación, como debe ser un periodista, porque los dos están al servicio de la transmisión de la verdad. El profesional de la comunicación no tiene que ser una persona que ponga la pluma al propio uso exclusivo, sino que tiene que tener en cuenta la realidad en la cual se fundamenta”. And it can be applied for a camera and the photojournalists.

When I think about the attitude of the photojournalists I visualize in my mind one of the most important graphics reporters of Spain, Gervasio Sánchez. He has been working in conflict zone more than 25 years. In an interview produced in 2009 in El Salvador, he said firstly that: “Una fotografía tiene algo que no tiene un texto literario, porque una fotografía no necesita traducción simultánea. Una fotografía en una sociedad totalmente visual ofrece a los que la visionan una concepción del mundo”. (La Prensa Gráfica de Noticias El Salvador (2009)). In many times he added also that a photojournalist was like an observer who entered and went out of the life’s of many people who opened their hearts to show their human life to other people.

Niños en la guerra de Gervasio Sánchez

It is one of the photographs of Gervasio Sánchez belonging of the serie of “Los desastres de la Guerra”. From

And, maybe, like Gervasio Sánchez said, for entering and going out of the lives of people, we need to respect the Ethic, because sometimes is the Ethic which distinguish the death of the life for the photojournalist. The chosen of a Pulitzer award or a quiet conscience.

By Marta Oria de Rueda



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