Jobs in photojournalism and war photography?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by nguyen_anh_mai, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I am not quite sure if I am in the right category for the question. I am currently a final year economics student. I have been interested in photography for over 10 years and my teacher is my grandfather who was a war photographer in second war world. He inspired me a lot and I want to follow his footstep. However, I dont know where to start as my major is very different to what I want to be due to my parents. I am quite confidence in my photography and writing skills. I do hope everyone can give me some advice so I know how to start.
  2. If you want a newspaper job, check and all the search engines, apply everywhere, have something good to show that covers events like spot news, sports, features. It's a tough market these days but keep at it and learn to live on a budget and to love odd and crappy hours. It's my favorite thing to do with a camera. No advice on being a war photographer. Nachtwey says he went to New York and got work almost immediately but that was the eighties or late seventies. I'm sure you can find a way in but's ugly, harsh, dangerous and smells horrible. Someone here will have better advice no doubt. Best of luck to you.

    Rick H.
  3. There are many routes, none of which will guarantee anything, especially these days. You can go the local route and visit your city's newspaper. Or you can catch a flight to Beirut and find a way into Syria. There are different routes in between these two, of course. Which ever route chosen, you will need a web portfolio to show your best photojournalist work. You should produce one if haven't...
  4. If you can get pictures out of Syria, I'm sure you'll be able to sell them. However the word "Shoot" and "Shot" don't just apply to cameras. You had better be very, very, very sure you want to put yourself in a situation in which you have a reasonable chance of being captured, jailed, tortured and killed before you buy your plane ticket and smuggle yourself across borders. I think an average of about 100 photojournalists are killed in war zones each year on average. You only hear about the well known and American ones on US news.
    You might want to start out with something less dangerous, like local newspapers. Build a portfolio and then try to make contacts at the major news services and news magazines.
    I'm pretty sure we've had this discussion before. You might try a search to dig up the advice given in previous threads on this subject.
  5. Thank you all for your replies. I have given it a lot of thinking, I expect all the horrible things may happen if I have a chance of becoming a war photographer. I remember once my granddad told me: Dont just take photos that anyone can take. I know he was harsh and might be unreasonable to say that but it really changed my way of thinking what a photo can actually do
  6. Finish your final year. Then, follow your heart. Syria is deadly dangerous. Didn't think that has to be said, Bob, unless one has been living under a rock...
  7. I don't know if you can still be a stringer for a newspaper, but it used to be common, and fairly easy to pick up work and get experience with little to no pay. That's the route I took. It exposed me to a lot of people I would otherwise not have met, but after awhile, I realized it was really a fairly thankless job. It did launch my architectural, aerial, and commercial photography business though.
  8. Finish your final year. Then, follow your heart.​
    I would suggest the same thing as Leslie. That way, if photography doesn't quite work out how you want, you have a useful degree. Just IMHO. :)
  9. Thanks everyone,
    I am a bit lost about my future but I guess I will just do my best then.
    I hope my heart is brave enough to let me follow my decision and my head is clever enough to survive in the warzone.
  10. War photographs are compelling. I understand why you would consider such a foolhardy venture.
    However, perhaps you should hope instead that your head is clever enough to let you NOT follow your decision and that your heart is brave enough to survive disappointing your grandfather.
  11. Thanks for your words Noreen...
    My granddad passed away few years ago and my whole family actually against my idea of becoming war photographer. To be honest, I am scared just to think I am in the middle of battlefield, I tried to settle with whatever my parents choose for me many times. However, whenever I look at my granddad's photos and articles, I feel like I wanna do that job. When my grandpa was alive, he told me way too many horrible things about war but somehow, those stories seem to encourage me.
  12. Being scared is good!
    The job you probably want to do, though, is not so specific as being a war photographer, if I may be so bold to say. Could you be driven, instead, to tell some other story? There are many important "themes" other than war that deserve--need--to be told, and photography is a powerful medium to accomplish that.
    Rather than thinking of yourself as a would-be war photographer, consider other facets of the world, whether cultural or natural, personal or global. Seek your images--your stories--elsewhere. If by some chance you feel that you must be frightened or must undertake some daring task, it won't be hard to find something other than war to fill that need.
    I wish you luck... and am sure that when you do find that something else, it would not disappoint your grandfather at all, if he was a wise man.
  13. Also: You could join the Army. Ask a recruiter if they can guarantee the specialty you desire. Also you could follow the work of combat photographers whom you like, and perhaps write to them stating your interests.
  14. You could join the Army.​
    Can't believe it took someone this long to suggest this route. If you really want to make a career out of it why not join an organization that is involved in some of the deadliest war zones and has an unlimited budget for toys? They will pay back student loans and have great health benefits. Heck you could join the army in some other capacity and just take your camera along with you. The training, experience, and the portfolio you build will help you with multiple careers. Just make sure you don't get stuck in the rear with the gear. An econ degree would make you a prime target for a desk jockey position back at headquarters.
    If I really wanted to be a war correspondent I would much rather have the training and experience of being a military vet than just sneaking into Syria after college graduation. Plus I would rather cut my teeth in the military than spend many thankless years covering local elementary school Easter egg hunts. The life long benefits you receive from a military career are numerous and in this economy you need to beef up your resume.
  15. Cheers for your's words...
    The thought of joining army did come across my mind sometime...However, there is a reason why I dont want to because I am afraid it will affect my judgement...It is hard to explain in word really...but I want to be neutral...I want my work to help the victim, people who are forced to fight not the people who are willing to fight. I did take some medical and self-defence training for preparation and found them useful.
    Noreen, I think you might hit the right spot....poverty, nature disaster, disease....all the terrible things that people know but not there to see and to help...I actually hope to see the good side of our race in these extreme situations rather than only hatred and blood
  16. I actually hope to see the good side of our race in these extreme situations rather than only hatred and blood​
    I hope so too... and that might be one of the greatest challenges. Best of luck to you, truly! I look forward to see your work someday.

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