There’s no denying that humans are visual creatures.
With that said, photos are a powerful tool to any journalist or writer. Even for a future journalist like myself–who is interested in reading news–there’s a much greater chance that I will click a story if it’s accompanied by a great picture.
I can tell a story without using words if I have the right pictures.
Pictures pull a reader in. Whether to a place, into a culture or even into an emotional state, photos can transport you somewhere you’ve never been.
For a taste of what I’m talking about, take a look at the links below.
As a foodie myself, the “F&W Photo Tour: Brooklyn” by Daniel Krieger for Food & Wine is a great example of how I remember vacations. With his pictures, he takes you through Brooklyn. He uses images of dishes, restaurants, people, and a few non-food places to give the viewer a sense of the city.
When I travel, I associate the places I’ve been to the food I had there and the people I met. You can learn a lot about a city by going out to its restaurants, trying its food, and just taking everything in.
I admire his use of lighting and angle. He doesn’t just take a picture of a plate, he finds the best side and orients his camera to present the most visually appealing shot. He makes the viewer want to go try that food or see that town.
This gallery is actually an excellent example of community journalism in that it serves to interest outsiders in coming to see what Brooklyn is all about without advertising anything. Krieger simply shows what is in the town in a beautiful way.
I appreciate that he adds a link to each photo that takes the viewer to the site of the business that is featured in some way. He’s giving credit to who created the image, since he is only capturing it.
If someone were to photograph a tour of Auburn in this style, can you imagine what it would feature? An artistic shot of Toomer’s lemonade followed by a festive image of the rolling of Toomer’s Corner after a game, perhaps? Or maybe a shot of someone eating conquering the Cheeburger Cheeburger Challenge followed by a shot of downtown Auburn at night?
The possibilities are endless, really. Like a song, food can trigger the memory of a time or place.
“‘Fast Food’ Up Close” by Jon Feinstein for Fox News is not a beautiful gallery, but it is real. Unlike most other pictures of food in the media, these photos are not styled or lit to make them look appealing.
What Feinstein did in this gallery is show what people are really eating when they order fast food. He simply eliminates the top bun from sandwiches or piles the fries, nuggets or onion rings against a black background and snaps the image.
The result is a bit gross. Without the pomp and circumstance of food stylist-aided company photographers, dishes from fast food restaurants look as unappealing as they are unhealthy. Some of them swim with grease or appear to be still frozen.
This is excellent journalism because it is shedding light on something important. Feinstein is showing his viewers what they’re really eating. And with the rampant obesity in our country, it’s a good message to send.
Living in a college town, this is something I think should be more widely publicized. While young adults may be able to eat this kind of food and not blow up like a balloon now, it can seriously harm them down the road.
The simplicity of the pictures yet complexity of the message that I get from them truly inspires me with this gallery.
Do the images in Feinstein’s gallery make you think twice about hitting up a fast food burger joint for dinner?
This third and final gallery is another one by Daniel Krieger, this time for The New York Times. Though “Top 10 Restaurants of 2013” is a light story, Krieger’s photography is excellent.
He has a variety of shots for each location. There are delectable close-ups of dishes mixed in with beautiful scene-setting shots and character shots of chefs and staff members in action. The gallery celebrates each restaurant.
As for the journalistic aspect, this is definitely a consumer story. No, there is no heart-wrenching tale. No, there is not a breaking news event or national problem that Krieger is depicting.
But for a city like New York that draws thousands of tourists, galleries and stories like this are important. Visitors want to know where to eat and businesses want to be seen as the best of the best.
Personally, I think photojournalism that celebrates an aspect of the community is some of the best kind. It gives members of the community the feeling that the news organization cares or can keep them in the know on social happenings.
That translates to increased readership.
I can see a “Best of the Plains” gallery now. What restaurant in Auburn and Opelika do you think should make the cut?