The rise of photojournalism began in the 1920s with the invention of smaller 35mm cameras. While not all photographers used 35mm, some still opted for 4×5 cameras, the portability greatly impacted the need for more images in newspapers. The shift in photography from posed images taken with large bulky cameras quickly changed to more natural photographs documenting events as they happened. This approach was spurred by war photographers during World War II who could show readers at home first-hand what was happening on the battlefront.
Often many rolls of film, hundreds of photographs are taken of an event, but only a few will be published or even seen. The image selected must convey to the reader the essence of the story, the feeling of the moment, and the significance of the event. However, the image must remain objective and paint an accurate picture of the narrative unfolding.
As AJC columnist Celestine Sibley once noted in reference to photographer Floyd Jillson, “… There is a strong bond between reporters and photographers who have slogged together to floods and fires and murders, who have fought deadlines and weather, reluctant subjects and astigmatic bosses.”