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Language of the Image

About This Course

Photojournalism is a visual language. Just like stories, there are reasons that some photos are successful and others fall short. When journalists discuss photographs using visual terms, the conversation goes beyond subjective likes and dislikes to address the actual value of the image.

Good photographers think in these visual terms when they are on assignment. They decide the moment to record, what to include, and what to take out. They look for good quality of light, juxtaposition, a point of entry, mood ,emotion, and a sense of place in order to best tell the story visually. With experience, it becomes a natural process.

This course will teach you about that visual language. It introduces terms that help develop a visual vocabulary, leading to improved photographs and more constructive discussions of images.

When photographs and editors don't articulate the journalistic value of an image, an important voice fo the publication is muted or rendered ineffective. Photojournalists should use, and encourage others to use, the visual language. This course will help you learn that visual language.

What Will I Learn

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Use the visual vocabulary when disucssing images
  • Articulate the journalistic value of an image
  • Make better storytelling images

Who Should Take This Course

Photojournalists, picture editors, designers, reporters and anyone who wants to make better images and use visual language to discuss them.

Course Staff

John Davidson

Davidson is a partner in Creative Eye Consulting, specializing in visual therapy for the newsroom. Before leaving in January 2003, Davidson was an assistant managing editor of photography and senior editor of visuals at THe Dallas Morning News. He has worked at five other newspapers as a photographer and photo editor.

Maria Mann

Maria Mann is managing esitor of the European Pressphoto Agency, based in Frankfurt.