Panel Discussion: WHNPA - U.S. Political & Campaign Photography: The Art and Science of the Political News Image

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Photo © Doug Mills / Associated Press

Photo © Doug Mills / Associated Press

Political news photography in the U.S. has changed and become more challenging in recent decades, with constant new challenges from press offices, public affairs officers and pool handlers and a drive towards handout photos coming at the same time that expectations from news papers, wire services and online news sites about the content and quality of images produced have risen. There is also now an expectation that the images will be delivered instantly from the photographers on scene to online publications and consumers. Negotiating and sometimes fighting for access both to events and behind the scenes has become a huge part of the business. These three photographers are at the top of their game in figuring out how to gain access and create distinctive images either behind the scenes, with remote cameras or with uniquely captured moments.

Doug Mills of the New York Times, Melina Mara of the Washington Post and Jim Bourg of Reuters are among the most experienced political photojournalists in Washington today. Most have worked in the news photography business through the transition from the days of film to fully digital workflow. For decades canisters of film had to be handed off to local photographers and editors at presidential events or campaign rallies for development, editing and even printing before transmission. Today editors and consumers expect to see digital images sent and posted live to the web while the photographers are still shooting the event. We will discuss remote editing and transmission direct from the photographers cameras as well.

Each of these award winning political photographers and editors will show photos that they or photographers working with them have produced on Capitol Hill, at the White House and on the U.S. presidential campaign trail and discuss the pressures, professional and ethical challenges and the technical know how and skills that it takes to navigate the complex world of political coverage today. The will explain how they face the challenges of trying to make iconic images that will win the attention of editors, get published and inform the public. 

Jim, who is also an editor and the current Vice President of the White House News Photographers Association, will moderate the panel.

Photo © Jim Bourg / Reuters

Photo © Jim Bourg / Reuters