Art Term


Photojournalism is a form of journalism which tells a news story through powerful photography which traditionally are black and white images

Don McCullin, ‘Cyprus’ 1964, printed 2013
Don McCullin
Cyprus 1964, printed 2013
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
© Don McCullin

Photojournalism began with the first pictures of war published in newspapers during the Crimean War and the American Civil War. However even at this time, the image was only there to enhance the text, not lead the story.

It wasn’t until the development of the smaller, lighter 35mm cameras and flashbulbs of the 1920s that a ‘Golden Age’ of Photojournalism really took hold. The likes of Cartier-Bresson presented candid images of their life and times.

The rise of the photo-essay and the magazines Life, Vu and Picture Post, responded to the greater demand for images of news stories and allowed photojournalism to blossom. Better inks and papers for magazines meant full-page image spreads, allowing the image to tell the story, rather than the small engravings in the newspapers of previous decades.

Photojournalism differs from other forms of photography (e.g. documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by its need to remain honest and impartial.

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photojournalism at tate

Tate Modern Exhibition

Cruel + Tender: The real in the twentieth century photograph

5 Jun – 7 Sep 2003
Cruel and Tender past exhibition at Tate Modern 5 June – 7 September 2003
Tate Modern Exhibition

Conflict, Time, Photography

26 Nov 2014 – 15 Mar 2015
An exhibition exploring the relationship between photography and sites of conflict over time at Tate Modern, opens November 2014