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A new kind of photojournalism

Photo above taken by singer Win Butler after he stole Rebecca Blissett’s camera from the photo pit at an Arcade Fire concert; she’s the photographer without a camera.


 

In the publishing industry, change is constant and rapid.

Newspapers that once produced a hard-copy paper every 18 to 24 hours, now publish online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The photographers who once filed four photos in a workday, may now file 40.

Gerry Kahrmann, PNG Staff PhotoPhotojournalist Gerry Kahrmann began his career nearly 40 years ago, shooting for community papers when Tri-X and Kodachrome were the basis of print photojournalism and newspapers ran in-house labs to develop their film.

After a short stint at the Calgary Sun, Kahrmann returned to Vancouver and in 1983 became a staff photographer at Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG), publisher of the Province and Vancouver Sun.

He tested his first digital camera during the Queen’s royal tour and the opening of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, heralding what he did not know at the time would be a new era in photojournalism.

Three months later, PNG transitioned both of its papers away from film, under the lead of photographer Nick Didlick, and by July 1, 1995, PNG’s newspapers were among the first in North America to transition to exclusively digital images.

At the forefront of that digital revolution, Gerry Kahrmann and his colleagues have evolved and changed the way they do their work, seldom coming into the office and filing remotely from all over Metro Vancouver, multiple times per day. Along with still photos, which are sometimes posted online within minutes of a shoot, photographers also produce videos clips that accompany online stories, and reporters are posting images in real time to social media feeds, blogs, and websites.

‘Technology’ is can be defined as ‘something that speeds up communication.’ Over the past 40 years, media and its consumption have changed a lot. Now, more than ever, there is an increased demand for quick (or instantaneous) information delivery.

The Museum of Vancouver and moderator Jennifer Moreau of the Burnaby Now, have assembled a group of highly accomplished photojournalists (Rebecca Blissett, Richard Lam, John Lehmann, and Kahrmann) to consider the historical significance of the shift from film to digital photography and the role it has played in altering the media’s approach to documenting news. On the evening of Thursday, February 9, the panel will talk about issues surrounding authenticity and the currency of photojournalism in a snap-happy social media landscape will be discussed, as well as what media industry practices might look like in the future.

This ‘Happy Hour’ event kicks off at 6pm, and the discussion begins at 7pm. For more information and tickets, visit this page.

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