The value of great photojournalism

Anyone who has spent a little time around me will know that I often lament the quality of photojournalism dished up every day. Blurry or shaky images capture by visually illiterate mobile phone toting Joe Citizens of this socially connected world.

Today, I am here to praise publications around the world, for providing galleries of inspirational images from the devasting industrial explosion in Beirut. For example, this coverage by CNN in the USA. And, while many of the photos appear duplicated all over the place. Each pictured editor from the significant online galleries has managed to put their slant on the event.

Place yourselves into the shoes of the shooters here. Imagine you have been just going about your daily grind. Some of you will be already on your way to a massive fire near the port. The first to the scene will now be dead. Many of those, will, along with the first responders, may never be found.
But imagine you have miraculously, not been in that first wave of photographers. You are moving through streets utterly destroyed, over debris and past groups of people streaming towards you. Many of the people you see covered in blood and suffering shock. The further you go towards the blast site, the worse the scene is. You are now witnessing severely injured people. Men, women and children, seriously injured, others dead. Everywhere people are yelling and screaming for help.

You are a photojournalist. You go where others don’t. Like first responders, you run towards potential danger not away. All the time, you are taking photos.

But, your photos are not mindless snaps. Instead, they are dramatic, storytelling images, beautifully composed, authoritative documents of our time.

To everyone involved, my heartfelt gratitude, for many will condemn you for not helping the injured. But your pictures may well have galvanized humanity into forgetting our differences and providing much-needed support and assistance for the many thousands of people, just like ourselves, whose lives have changed forever in the blink of an eye.