Apr 27, 2022
Our conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is about the challenges that the practice of photojournalism faced during, and in the wake of, the monumental year, 2020. With the Coronavirus pandemic and the protests following the murder of George Floyd news photographers and editors were faced with situations few had ever experienced. To their credit, the institution as a whole, worked through it, adapted their workflows, and continued to produce honest journalism in the face of many dangers. Our guests to discuss this topic are Lauren Walsh and Danese Kenon. Author, Lauren Walsh is a past guest on our show and her recent book “Through the Lens: The Pandemic and Black Lives Matter” addresses the challenges for photojournalism brought by the Covid pandemic and the protests and politics of 2020. It is a wonderful collection of interviews with noted photojournalists and editors who worked through the events of that unprecedented year.
Danese Kenon is the Managing Editor of Visuals at the "Philadelphia Inquirer" and has held many positions as both photojournalist and editor at publications such as "The Indianapolis Star", "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" and "Tampa Bay Times". Kenon, who is interviewed in Walsh’s new book, lived the events we are considering and brings her first-hand perspective to our conversation.
With Walsh and Kenon we first discuss the procedures brought to photojournalism by the coronavirus, how photographers were able to safely cover this story and how editors supported that mission. We then address the new challenges brought by the large-scale Black Lives Matter marches and the dangers, not only of disease, but of clashes between protesters and police and violence directed directly at the media. We talk about simple workflow changes, such as how photographers got access to photography and protective gear, how a living room or even a car became a de facto newsroom, and how editors scheduled and safeguarded their photography staffs. The courage as well as the emotional toll taken on photographers and editors who had never worked in such conditions before is also part of our conversation and we ask about establishing new training and support methods. Finally, we discuss the work that was produced, how shooting styles and relationship with subjects adapted and how photographers and editors collaborated to create honest and nuanced documents of this unprecedented year.
Guests: Lauren Walsh and Danese Kenon
Above Photograph © Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Courtesy of Lauren Walsh/Routledge Press
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual guests and do not necessarily represent the views of B&H Photo.