An Example of Photojournalism at it’s Finest from the New York Times

17 Mar

As I was browsing the New York Times website today, I found a photo that really demonstrates good photojournalism.

In an article about the Cobble Hill Towers, low-budget housing for struggling families,  found in downtown Queens, New York, a photo that captures not only the essence of the housing but the elements of true photojournalism was included.

This photo was used mainly to convey emotion described in the article. Featuring a small family enjoying a sunny day in the courtyard outside of their home, readers have an opportunity to feel connected to the family.

Additionally, the use of lines, balance, framing and the idea of “avoiding mergers,” or colors that blend together, are evident in the photo.

First things first…

  • Lines. There’s a few examples of good usage of lines in this photo. First and foremost, the positioning of the people in the photo create a vertical feel. Along with that, the brightly colored chairs in the background  offer vertical lines to draw the viewer’s eye in the direction of the main subject, and the brass framing that the people are sitting under also adds more vertical lines to the photo. Additionally, the horizontal lines of the brick paired with the table and the horizontal lines created by the step make for a nice flow throughout the photo. Finally, the diagonal lines created by the sun draw the viewer’s eyes literally directly to the subject. These lines also add depth to the photo as a whole.

Now on to…

  • Balance. Though there’s a lot going on, this photo does a good job of balancing everything out. The couple is sitting between two pillars, which adds balance to either side of the family. Additionally, there are two chairs in the background as well as parts of the brick wall showing on either side of the mother and father.

Up next…

  • Framing. I think the framing going on in this photo is pretty obvious, however it still deserves an explanation. As the couple sits on the steps, the two pillars surrounding them create a frame in the photo. As the pillars are on either side of the family, the attention of the viewer is automatically drawn to what’s “inside” of the “frame,” and that is the subjects of the photo.

Last but certainly not least…

  • Avoiding Mergers. This term is a bit odd to me, but it basically means that colors in the photo don’t run together to create a giant blob. This photo has really distinct and bright colors, so there’s no problem with potential merging. Everything pops on its own, and nothing blends together to create a mass of color.


All in all, this photo is a great example of what photojournalism strives to be. Though all elements of photojournalism weren’t included, the photographer really hit it home (in my opinion) with lines and framing.


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