More Than Words- Telling The Story Through Photojournalism

By Vanessa Johnson 

More Than Words had a central message reiterated throughout the panel. Simply put, no matter how accurate a photojournalist strives to portray an event, that photo will always be an "edit of reality."

Philip Holsinger, photojournalist and author, and Noah Darnell, a photojournalism professor at Harding University, led the panel that delved into photography as an art and recognition of self in every photograph taken. It is impossible to create an image that is 100 percent accurate because every photo you take is a depiction of your perspective. A photojournalist has the duty of being as objective as possible while presenting his or her perspective, so becoming aware of themselves in their photos is a key way to identify just how objective a photo is.

Holsinger was keen on the idea that his style of photojournalism has taken on an art form, even referring to himself as an American art photographer as opposed to a photojournalist simply. Holsinger aims to break the 24 hour news cycle by getting to know the subjects he works with. An example he referred to was simply showing up to a traumatic event and walking away with a photos of people immediately reacting to whatever has happened. Holsinger advocated for revisiting these people and following up on the story. That is essentially the work he does. He lives in the places he documents, like Haiti and Tennessee, and becomes close enough to the subjects of his work to eliminate the potential of "acting" for the camera. 

Overall, Holsinger and Darnell left me with a higher sense of accountability as a photojournalist. In order to be transparent we must delve deeper into the story and the people involved and be aware of our own cultural and social backgrounds, struggles as individuals and general life experiences that may present themselves subconsciously through our photographs.