Why Photojournalism is the Future of Change

by Noah Wali

There has been a lot of debate recently about the decline of the human attention span.

To be specific, our attention span sits at a whopping 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000, according to Microsoft Cooperation/Time Magazine study. That’s less than that of a goldfish, which clocks in right around 9 seconds.

While the study has its fair share of detractors, there’s no doubt that today’s newest distractions gadgets have strained our ability to pay attention.  One must look no further than the massive decline in the desire for print newspapers, with their sales expected to decline an annual 3% through 2020.

When I open an online article and the word count seems to be more than 500 words, even with photos, I have trouble bringing myself to read every sentence and I inevitably end up skimming.

Most importantly, I spend most of my time looking at the photos. Photos show what words cannot describe, and draw a wholly different response from the article’s readers. 

In recent times, videography and photography have been making more of a splash within the world of journalism. It’s allowed the layman to feel as if they are experiencing what others are experiencing, an essential driver when it comes to the motivation and desire for change.

Recently, a photojournalist by the name of Daniel Berehulak went to the Philippines to document the drug crisis there. Members of the Filipino lower class are often killed while getting arrested for drug related offenses. Countless dead bodies can be found lying on the streets of the Philippines, and Berehulak spent the bulk of the article showing his photos, as they told the story themselves. And that, perhaps, will make a difference that a more conventional article would not. 

Please be aware, this photo and those in the article are graphically sensitive. Please view with caution. None of these photos are mine, but that of the work of Daniel Berehulak for the New York Times.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 9.57.36 PM

The photo shows so much more than you would imagine. The bike lying on the floor, the splattered blood. It all tells a story without any words. In order for change to be made, people need to know how severe our world issues are. In today’s world, where freedom to record pretty much anything is celebrated by the public, it is very easy to document what you see around you.

It will be interesting to see the progression of photojournalism as a means of widely-consumed communication in the future.



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