Friday, November 09, 2012

Why these stunning pictures deserve to be seen on the page, not just at an exhibition

I AM A huge champion of photographers, photography and ‘visual journalism’, to use the buzz phrase, as some of my earlier blog posts show.
So it was a thrill to be at the Uganda Press Photo Awards last night to see all the wonderful pictures on display, including the winning entry by Daniel Edyego (above), and also take part in a panel discussion on ‘photojournalism and democracy’.
My fellow panelists were the great and the good of East African photojournalism, passionate about their art and true to the traditions of journalism at the cutting edge of both history and democracy.
But, as I made clear during my opportunities to speak, what a shame that very few of these quality images are ever published. The daily papers are full of people shaking hands, people standing in lines and groups of people standing around someone important.
The news and features images that everyone spoke so warmly and eloquently about – “capturing a moment in time” said awards judge Carl De Souza – and admired at the exhibition just don’t make it onto the page.
The reasons and explanations are many and varied, including:
  • The assignment was poor in the first place
  • The photographer didn’t get any good shots, either because he didn’t try hard enough or because they were prevented by ‘minders’
  • The editors and designers don’t have the imagination and skill to pick and use a good picture
  • The editors are under pressure to run certain sorts of pictures of certain sorts of people
There was also some discussion about lack of both equipment and expertise, something I’m here in Uganda to try and change.  At Victoria University we are setting up a professional standard studio newsroom to produce a truly multi-media output of print, broadcast and online.
I will be holding workshops for media professionals and taster days for enthusiasts as well as making our facilities available to people who want to develop their own projects.
We will also set up an online platform where photojournalists – no, let’s just make that anyone – can upload their work to a wider audience.
I have worked with some wonderful photographers around the world and would dearly love to get my hands on the work of some of these guys.
Uganda and Ugandan photographers deserve a better showcase for their work and I hope to help provide it.


  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    It was great meeting you Allan. Uganda needs a lot of people with experience like you. Also looking forward to your great ideas like the standard studio among others. I am just here at The Observer like 200 meters from Victoria Uni.
    Samson Baranga

  2. Anonymous7:20 PM

    i agree with you...those amazing pictures we saw should be put to better use than only on the walls of the exhibition. there is no better man for the job other than you :)

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