Exchange of views

Every month, we ask a veteran photojournalist to review a portfolio submitted by a beginner. In return, the young professional reviews some of the images that the veteran took at the same age. This section intends to build links between young photojournalists who started their careers in the digital age, and the older generation that was raised with 36-exposure rolls and dark rooms.

Photos by Louis Witter

A freelance photoreporter based in France, Louis Witter was born in Verdun in 1995 and studied journalism in Paris. Driven by social issues, his work during the last years has focused on far-right and far-left groups in France, and on the refugee crisis. In 2015, he travelled to Ukraine and Iraq to cover the conflicts there, and lived four months in Lebanon. Louis Witter’s images are distributed by Hans Lucas.

My conclusion

"You are part of the new generation of photographers, and there’s a difference between your generation and mine in our approach to a picture.

"For much of my career as an agency photographer, I was restricted by having a maximum of 36 shots per roll of film. When we went off to cover a story, we could hardly ever send off a series of shots, so every single picture taken had to have everything in it; each one had to answer the 5W questions: Who, What, Where, When and Why? With your selection here, there’s only one that does. The others are very good pictures technically, but they need to be put together with others plus an explanatory text to get the meaning across.

"I’m not putting the work down, but just observing the differences between your generation and mine. Photographers who started working in the digital era can tell absolutely any story they want to. On line, you can find plenty of slide shows with ten or twelve shots. We’re swamped with pictures, but can immediately pick out the good ones. You have a very intellectual approach to photography, and know what you want. I think you are one of the photographers who are different." - Patrick Baz

Photos by Patrick Baz

A Franco-Lebanese born in Beirut in 1963, Patrick Baz started out his career as a photographer during the war in Lebanon, that broke out when he was 12. In 1989, the Agence France-Presse sent him to cover the first Intifada. He has since covered many conflicts for AFP in the Middle-East and beyond: the first war in the Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, the Revolutions in Egypt and Libya… He was the AFP Bagdad bureau chief during the US invasion in 2003. He is also a former AFP photo editor in chief for the Middle-East and North Africa..

My conclusion

"Plenty of things have changed, starting with the shift to digital photography; it’s possible to make quick progress, and less money is needed. Personally, I think that anyone can take a “good photo” these days. What’s more difficult is that we don’t just have to take good shots, but rather tell stories, edit them and construct them, and also do reports that are not primarily news so as to get by. In the past, you’d click the shutter once or twice, but now I can do it twenty times, without having to worry about money or gear. You are one of a generation seen as models for quite a number of young people like me who are just starting, and you can now look back on your job and the problems, and on different aspects involved. It’s invaluable to be able to discuss things and learn from that." - Louis Witter

Contact the CIP if you are a young photojournalist and wish to submit a portfolio to the critical eye of a “veteran” photographer.

Contact the CIP