Formative Fictions and the Work of News Images
This introductory chapter discusses how digitalization transformed photojournalism. Digitalization refers to the way many domains of social life, including journalism and military operations, are “restructured around digital communication and media infrastructures.” Photojournalism was transformed not only by digital cameras, online distribution, and the digitization of analog archives, but also by the significant institutional and cultural changes that digitalization enabled. Another manifestation of digitalization was the change in the very nature of the “photojournalism community.” Amateur digital images such as the Abu Ghraib photos and cell-phone pictures of the 2005 London bombings, rather than the work of professional photojournalists, were the key images that shaped public opinion. Moreover, images in the press, from photographs to cartoons, were not just illustrative of current events but often also newsworthy themselves or even factors in causing events, thereby playing a critical and highly controversial part in political and military action.
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