Observations of a Photographic Curmudgeon- Summary by Alvaro Morales

Robert Frank (

Howard Chapnick calls himself a photographic curmudgeon in chapter 24 since he criticizes a lot of important topics in the photojournalism. He separates the chapter in sections from his views on emptiness and ambiguity, to how he feels on giving away photographs at no cost and other subjects like overshooting. 

But I thought that he did not sound like a sour individual, or a curmudgeon as he calls himself, since his honest answers to most of the topics in the chapter make perfect sense. For example, he speaks of how photographers should feel about their confidence and insecurities. He tells a story of how a photographer was showing his pictures to him, but had a lot of negative remarks to his pieces as he was showing them to him. Chapnick explains how negativity is highly contagious and one should fully prepare themselves before showing photographs to an editor in order to not have the weakest pieces to show and not speak down upon themselves. 

Thomas E. Franklin (

Most of his views on things are very straightforward and many would say they would agree with him. I’m pretty sure everyone would back him up when he comments on the bashing of photographers or those that work in the media, period. Photographers, editors, assignment editors, and many others that work for the media have been seen by modern urban America as the new enemy, since most of the time media is manipulated to please certain individuals. But even then, the categorization of all of media as one is a very dumb move on audiences nationally. Many of these individuals put their lives at risk just to capture a single photograph that will hopefully impact potentially hundreds of thousands of those who will view it from that particular event. 

Howard Chapnick also brings in a great point on when to photographers should give away their works for free and when not to. He brings in an example that if a non-profit organizations asks a photographer for one of their pieces to use for free since they do not have any money to pay for it, but at the same time there are many of other individuals that are already getting payed to work for non-profit organizations like the staff, art director, and the editor. Now if none of the workers from the non-profit organization get payed for their jobs, the photographer should actually consider donating their photograph. 

Although Chapnick has many great comments and points that should be followed by potential photojournalists, it all really comes down to that individual person. What kind of environment and work ethic do they want to put their career in when they first join this incredibly impacted field of work. Each person takes different photographs, have different views, sees different things interesting than others, take different approaches to photography, and handle their own work however they want to. As long as their work is successfully making its observers re-think some subjects they may never have thought would be brought up by photograph, I think that they will be doing a good job. Even if the photographer shot 3 rolls of film just to capture one photograph, if the result changed someone’s view on a the subject then it is successfully in my eyes. 

Eddie Adams (

Everything is subjective, no one will tell the photojournalist that what they shot is not right, because everyone views things differently. Being at the right moment at the right time to capture a career starting piece, or just having a good eye for photography is just the second step to being a photojournalist, the first is to actually walk outside of one’s comfort zones with a camera.