How is milking a cow related to journalism?

There is a phrase that says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In journalism, sometimes the picture is crucial to your story. Pictures can attract and inform readers, as well as sending a message. As journalists, our job is to inform the public on what is happening in the world. However, in order to obtain that “eye-catching” image, you need to find a unique image that stands out. That can be very difficult.

Henri Cartier-Bresson Photo taken by: Corbis of the Telegraph

According to Henri Cartier-Bresson, most of the pictures that we take are “not great”. He said, “You have to milk a cow and get lots of milk to make

a little piece of cheese.” So, how is milking a cow related to journalism? Cartier-Bresson is saying that you cannot wait for one shot. The more shots you take, the higher the probability is of getting that perfect shot. Or in other words (Also Cartier-Bresson’s), “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Sometimes, the “perfect shot” is one of those “in the moment” type of deals. For example, Iwo Jima, where the soldiers are raising the flag. Sometimes, the photographer already knows what kind of picture they are looking for; like the “Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper” picture taken by Charles C. Ebbets. He wants the audience to focus on how high the workers are, by showing the men sitting on a beam with New York City lying directly beneath them. These famous images were made possible thanks to the powers of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Photo taken by Scott Thomas

Aperture is defined by the website Photography Art Cafe, as a hole in a lens that admits light into the camera. The aperture setting on the camera deals with the depth of field, and are measured by f-stops. Photographers must answer the question, “What I do I want the audience the focus on in the picture?” If the photographer wants the audience to focus on the subject, then the camera must be set on a low aperture. If the photographer wants the audience to focus on the background, then the camera must be set to a high aperture.

Let’s say the photographer wants to create a special effect for the audience to focus on, like objects moving in a blur. Then, the element of shutter speed comes into play. A multimedia journalism class at the University of Missouri defines shutter speed as how quickly a photo will be taken and how much blur is seen. NASCAR is a good example of shutter speed. Most shots in NASCAR have to be taken at very high shutter speed because the cars travel around 200 mph. However, sometimes photographers want to show the speed. So, they set the camera to a lower aperture, and the cars race past in a blur.

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