Accepted Paper:

Production criteria for images of the futures in alternative photojournalism  
Maya Van Leemput (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Paper short abstract:

In alternative professional photojournalism approaches the negotiation between industrial, socio-political and creative criteria is determining but the balance between these criteria is not the same as in traditional photojournalism, resulting in divergent futures content.

Paper long abstract:

Photojournalism is suffering from 'Future Shock', all the symptoms are there. The accelerated rate of technological and socio-cultural change of the past decades has left many pundits in the realm of photojournalism disconnected and disorientated. Professionals are impressed by the changes that have occurred and confused about the way ahead. At the same time the prevailing insecurity is a perfect breeding ground for alternative professional approaches, found In numerous photo-collectives and cooperatives. This paper is based in part on two series of in-depth interviews held during the International Photojournalism Festival of Perpignan in 2010 and 2012.

Previous research (Van Leemput, 2001) has shown that to media-professionals, the future is no different than any other topic. Industrial, socio-policial and creative criteria are applied in the selection, creation, programation or publication of media-content on futures. This is reflected in the nature and the flow of images of the futures in traditional media-content.

Images of the futures represented by photographers functioning in alternative economic models and distribution modes today are not the same. This paper explores the differences in content produced in different contexts by zooming in on the criteria applied over the course of the production-proces of these images. The analysis zooms in on ideologies (of progress and catastrophe), concensus, conflict and change orientation and evaluates the variety of images of the futures proposed.

Van Leemput, M. Ph D Research Dissertation. Visions of the Future on Television in the mid-nineties in Britain. Content analysis and production study. University of Westminster, London, 2001.

Panel P065
Media futures: media anthropology of, for and through the notion of 'future' (Media Anthropology Network)