The Photo Essay

Posted on | May 29, 2014


The Photo Essay
Inspired by my wife Jackie

Gone are the days of the printed photo essay. It is sad to see that ad revenues in newspapers have eliminated the space to publish these gems. They were once a weekly feature in most daily papers. What has become the new age photo essay is the online “slideshow”. The problem with this is that too many images are published. This gives the “photographer”, usually a reporter with an iPhone, the ability to publish unlimited/unedited images. There is no rhyme or reason involved. Just shoot a bunch of horizontal photos and put them on line. The true photo essay challenged the photographer to think about his or her shots as they were taken; telling a story without motion or sound. They had to take into consideration the number, size, cropping and placement of the images. This provoked creative and imaginative thinking by the shooter. It wasn’t about just taking a bunch of snapshots. That’s not to say that photojournalists today are not talented, they are just limited to telling the story in one image. It constrains the creativity for sure. I had the chance a few years ago to do my own, yearlong photo essay. “Project 365, a photo a day for year.” It forced me to tell a story each and every day for 365 days. I tried very hard to capture the theme of the day think about the image from the day before and possibly the day following. It wasn’t always easy. It was a true test of my creativity. I published and sold a book, with the proceeds going to a local charity. And yes I did do an online slideshow, but at least I gave it a music bed to go along with the images. I hope to see the day when the photo essay returns but only time will tell. Send a letter to your editor asking for the return of the photo essay. In the meantime you can see my Project 365 at