2010-02-03 Prof. Stuart Allan: The Future(s) of Photojournalism in wartime

‘The Future(s) of Photojournalism in Wartime’ 

Stuart Allan

Dept. of Politics and International Relations, FW101

5pm - 6.30pm, Wednesday 3 February 2010

Visual imagery of warfare is a routine, everyday feature of our news media. For the photographer confronted with the challenge of bearing witness to conflict on our behalf, the effort to record its human consequences raises important issues of interpretation. This paper seeks to show how familiar assumptions about photojournalism’s capacity to represent violence in an impartial manner are being decisively recast by the ‘digital revolution’ in photographic technologies. In examining ‘our camera-mediated knowledge of war,’ to use Susan Sontag’s phrase, it explores a number of questions confronting the photojournalist – both professional and amateur alike – committed to ‘making real’ the horrors of human suffering. Evidence is drawn from several case studies in order to assess the implications of digitalization for the future of photojournalism in wartime, with particular attention devoted to photojournalism’s moral responsibilities where visual truth-telling is concerned.

Stuart Allan is Professor of Journalism at Bournemouth University, UK. His recent books include Digital War Reporting (co-authored with Donald Matheson) and Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives (co-edited with Einar Thorsen). He is a book series editor, and serves on the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed journals.