In a world of words, pictures still matter

In a world of words, pictures still matter

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Photojournalism has been declared dead. But as the response to the refugee crisis shows, images still have impact

“Photography is an evolving visual language. In reportage it delivers comedy and satire as well as tragedy. Why are some photographs of quiet scenes of everyday life so memorable? Yet at least three of our national newspapers have, reportedly, no staff photographers at all.

Last week the documentary photographer and film director Anton Corbijn was said to be leaving professional photography. The Economist, in a gloomy piece on Corbijn’s Berlin retrospective, declared: “Photography as a slow analogue art form is dead.” In fact, film-based photography has been enjoying a recent revival with new manufacturers coming on to the market.

What’s changed over the years is functionality and availability. Today, almost everyone has a way of taking pictures. That’s not the issue. Amateurs engaging with photography should be welcomed, not feared. The crisis that has faced photography has often been blamed on “the other” – the market, amateurs, journalists with iPhones – never on its own lack of purpose or imagination.”