A look at the future of photojournalism

Technological advances and the changing face of media businesses have created new challenges for photographers, writes Peter Howe in the current issue of Columbia Journalism Review.

“In fact, photojournalism as an activity is alive and healthy; it is the market for photojournalism that is in need of life support,” Howe says in his essay.

New realities photojournalists face today include the rise to power of conglomerate photo agencies Getty Images and Corbis.

Howe calls their approach “the photographic equivalent of factory, and although they provide an effective marketing system for some commercial stock photographers, to date they have proved to be least effective in the sale and promotion of photojournalism.”

Despite the changing pressures photographers face, Howe says he hasn’t found a lack of enthusiasm for the profession that many see as having a greater purpose. He adds, “There also still exists enormous romance swirling around the figure of the photojournalist, although the free-spirit, devil-may-care hero of legend is frequently at variance with the anxiety-ridden and impoverished reality of many of my acquaintances.”