Author: Ben Thornburgh
Chapters four and five of Kobré’s book cover some of my favorite aspects of photojournalism, from a consumer’s perspective. Both features and portraits are (generally) incredibly interesting, unique and uplifting.
In feature photographs, as Kobré explains, we’re offered a break from the grim onslaught of black and gray often seen in news. Instead we’re greeted with a burst of color, shining faces and wild animals. This break in pattern is what makes feature photos particularly drawing to me.
People are weird. Portraits offer a glimpse into the life of an outsider without breaking any social boundaries, which is an opportunity that we don’t often come by. I found, through looking at the example photos provided by Kobré, the most drawing thing about portraits is oddity. The more funky they are, the more I want to learn more. I found myself paying particular attention to the cutlines in this chapter.
Illustrations can be powerful, but I think they need to be used carefully. In an entertainment magazine they fit in well, but in a news publication, they can come across as tacky. In order for illustrations to work in a professional or sophisticated context, they need to be created with care. Some of my favorite examples from the text were the more subtle illustrations, like the “television addict” image by Peter Haley. My least favorite were the obvious illustrations, like the moon pie image by Jerry Wolfort. (Although, in the context of advertising, images like this make more sense.)
Overall, when used properly, I think illustrations are a powerful tool that can catch the reader’s eye and even clue them in on some of the article’s key points ahead of time.