The Camera: A Tool for Truth?

1954 Pulitzer Prize photograph by Virginia Schau photographed with a Kodak "Brownie" box camera.

One of my favorite stories is that of Virginia Schau who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer. In 1954 Ms. Schau took a news photograph of a semi-truck dangling over the Pit River Bridge as passing motorist tossed a rope down to rescue the driver. The image was taken with a Kodak “Brownie” box camera, the iPhone of its time. 

Given the recent controversy in both the use of the iPhone by New York Times Photographer Damon Winters and the “hipstamatic” app in his coverage of US troops in Afghanistan I can only guess what the thoughts were by the 4×5 speed graphic using journalist of the day and the fad of color just on the horizon.

Is it about the tools used or the integrity of the journalist to use the correct tools without changing the storytelling content?

If you have the time and opportunity read there is a wonderful paper by Jim Hubbard.

Everyone Is A Photographer

By Jim Hubbard, MA, MDiv, Adjunct Professor Annenberg School for Communication

and Journalism


2 thoughts on “The Camera: A Tool for Truth?

  1. Yes I have read this article. In fact, I am using this as one of my resource material for my graduate special project on the development of a handbook on the use of photography for disaster management IEC. An area where photography has not expanded into. A structured, documented phot research and filling for disaster education and information. (i am from the philippines)

    1. It sounds like an outstanding project and I wish you the best as I believe the topic can make changes in how we react to disaster coverage throughout the world as journalist and first responders.

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