This process could go on and on and I have been trying to think of a mission statement for the paparazzi but the truth is I'm not actually sure what they do and why they do it - and I'm pretty sure that some of them are in the same boat. The best and most successful paps know exactly what they are about and that's why they get paid the big money for the right pictures.
My final thoughts on these definitions and mission statements goes to the names given to themselves by wedding photographers and which of the three mission statements above applies to them. I have something of a problem with "wedding photojournalist" because, for me a photojournalist is there to record events and to help tell the story to the wider world - warts and all. It's those last three words that I cannot believe any wedding photographer can truly sign up to. Your client is normally the bride and groom or at least a close friend or relative of theirs and I'm pretty sure that they would not be happy for every single element of the big day to be recorded and published. I have no issues with the phrases "documentary style photography" or shooting in a "photojournalistic style" but can a wedding photographer really be a detached observer and recorder of events?
Please don't get me wrong here, I have the utmost respect and admiration for the best wedding photographers who have broken with the wooden and formulaic styles that were around when I and most of my friends were getting married. The quality and volume of the work that they produce in such demanding and unrepeatable situations is amazing but I really don't like the hijacking of the title photojournalist for what is, essentially, very good PR.
©Neil Turner, January 2011