Shifting Expectations - Photojournalism after 2020: The B&H Photography Podcast

04/28/2022Link0

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

Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City, June 3, 2020. Photograph © Nina Berman
Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City, June 3, 2020…
People march down University Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, September 23, 2020. Photograph © Patience Zalanga
People march down University Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota to demand…
Federal police clash with protesters in downtown Portland. At this point, protesters had faced off in violent clashes with the Portland Police Bureau for more than fifty five straight nights, July 25, 2020. Photograph © Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Federal police clash with protesters in downtown Portland. At this…
In Lima’s main cathedral, Archbishop Carlos Castillo swings a censer, spreading incense before more than 5,000 portraits of people who died from Covid-19 in Peru, June 14, 2020. Photograph © Rodrigo Abd/AP
In Lima’s main cathedral, Archbishop Carlos Castillo swings a censer,…
Cover of “Through the Lens: The Pandemic and Black Lives Matter” by Lauren Walsh. Photograph © Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Cover of “Through the Lens: The Pandemic and Black Lives Matter” by…
A woman cries while talking about not being able to see her mother dues to quarantine restrictions. Wuhan, China, March 31, 2020. Photograph © Aly Song/ Reuters
A woman cries while talking about not being able to see her mother dues…
Smoke rises from a burning police cruiser during the Justice for George Floyd Philadelphia protest, May 30, 2020. Photograph © Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer
Smoke rises from a burning police cruiser during the Justice for George…
Nurses and respiratory specialists treat coronavirus patients, with a doctor phoning in, ay El Centro Regional Medical center in El Centro, California, May 24, 2020. Photograph © Melina Mara/ Washington Post
Nurses and respiratory specialists treat coronavirus patients, with a…
A new mural honoring “Big Floyd” covers the back wall of the Scott Food Mart near Cuney Homes, the oldest public housing project in Houston, Texas, June 9, 2020. Photograph © Joshua Lott/Washington Post
A new mural honoring “Big Floyd” covers the back wall of the Scott Food…

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner

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