The Symbiosis of Photography and Video – A Photojournalist’s Perspective – NEWS SHOOTER


I recently contributed a guest post to the popular News Shooter (formerly DSLR News Shooter) blog. Below is an excerpt of an article I wrote about the ‘symbiosis’ of photography and video and how both now play a major role in the way that photojournalist’s are telling stories. Be sure to check out the whole article on the News Shooter website.


For many photojournalists, the transition into shooting video has been a path paved with slight trepidation and hesitation. There seems to be a lot of pressure for video to automatically be part of a shooter’s repertoire of skills and producing video content, along with traditional photo-essays, now seems to be expected on assignments. It’s been a difficult evolution for many.

Some ten years ago, at the beginning of my career, I was to be found filing slides and prints away in cabinets at the Magnum office in London, during a one-year internship. I overheard no conversations about ‘multimedia’, ‘Final Cut’ or ‘DSLR video’. Digital photography was still in its relative infancy amongst professional photojournalists and attention was still mostly on film.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the landscape of photojournalism has changed drastically. In the first 10 years of my career as a freelance photographer, my goal has changed from primarily being a photojournalist telling stories with stills, to now using all tools at my disposal, including video, to tell my stories on a ‘multimedia’ platform.

Like many, I have started to use more and more video in my work over the past four to five years. I have tried to develop my photography and video side-by-side with one another, rather than in conflict. One of my most recent projects is a good example of this.

In late 2013 I received my sixth grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which funds projects that highlight underreported issues around the world. Our latest collaboration focused on issues surrounding pollution in India. The Pulitzer Center highly encourages its grant applicants to incorporate multiple forms of story-telling into their projects, so those which combine photography, video and writing are favoured. This pressure to incorporate other forms of story-telling – in my case, video – has pushed my work on further and helped me discover new ways to tell the stories I want to cover. Read More

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  1. Sean, this is a wonderful description and resource for how to incorporate video in visual stories. So far I have found it very hard to make the adjustment. I don;t discount getting there in the future but for now have backed off. You have seamlessly integrated it into your work though, and powerful it is at that. I know we’ve tried to connect in the past when you’ve been in New York and I hope we have the chance to do so soon.

  2. Hi Ed… Video isn’t everyone and no photographer should feel forced into it. Glad you enjoyed the article. Let’s definitely try to get together next time in NYC!

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