Shifting Expectations - Photojournalism after 2020: The B&H Photography Podcast04/28/2022
Our conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is about the challenges that the practice of photojournalism faced during, and in the wake of, the monumental year 2020. With the coronavirus pandemic, the protests following the murder of George Floyd, and the presidential election cycle, news photographers and editors were faced with situations none had ever experienced. To its credit, the institution as a whole worked through it, adapted its workflows, and continued to produce honest journalism in the face of many dangers.
Our guests to discuss this topic are Lauren Walsh and Danese Kenon. Author Lauren Walsh is a past guest on our show, and her recent book Through the Lens: The Pandemic and Black Lives Matter, addresses the challenges posed to photojournalism by the COVID pandemic and the Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020. The book is a wonderful collection of interviews with noted photojournalists and editors who worked through the events of that unparalleled year.
Danese Kenon is the Managing Editor of Visuals at the Philadelphia Inquirer and has held many positions as photojournalist and editor at publications such as The Indianapolis Star, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tampa Bay Times. Kenon, who is interviewed in Walsh’s new book, lived through the events we are discussing and brings her first-hand perspective to our conversation.
With Walsh and Kenon we first discuss the new procedures brought to photojournalism by the coronavirus, how photographers were able to cover this story safely, and how editors supported that mission. We then address the new challenges brought by the large-scale Black Lives Matter marches and the dangers, not only of disease, but of clashes between protesters and police and violence directed directly at the media. We talk about simple workflow changes, such as how photographers got access to and protected their gear, how a living room or even a car became a de facto newsroom, and how editors utilized and safeguarded their photography staffs. The courage, as well as the emotional toll taken on photographers and editors who had never worked in such conditions before, is also part of our conversation and we ask about establishing new training and support methods. Finally, we discuss the work that was produced, how shooting styles and relationships with subjects adapted, and how photographers and editors collaborated to create honest and nuanced documents of this unprecedented year.
Guests: Lauren Walsh and Danese Kenon
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual guests and do not necessarily represent the views of B&H Photo.
Above Photograph © Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Courtesy of Lauren Walsh/Routledge Press
Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner