THE ACTING Rector of Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Kweku Rockson has observed that the future of photo-journalism in Ghana is in serious danger unless its practitioners lift up their educational standards to improve their competence.
He noted that sooner or later, the country's photo-journalists would find it difficult to catch up with their colleagues in other parts of the world due to what he termed the 'technology gab and the lack of self modernization'.
Mr. Rockson made this observation in Accra on Tuesday at the first photo-journalists seminar organized by the Stanbic Bank to sensitize photo-journalists ahead of the forthcoming Ghana 2008 tournament.
According to Mr. Rockson, photo-journalism, as it is now, seemed to be satisfying only the people in Ghana, saying the trend ought to be changed so the profession could meet international award wining standards.
He stressed the need for photo-journalists to upgrade themselves academically and get vexed in the usage of the World Wide Web (www) to be able to edit pictures and quickly transmit them to destinations of preference within a stipulated time.
He said his remarks were prompted by the continuous unsatisfactory performance of Ghanaian photo-journalists in international competitions, and noted that the “CNN journalists' award is going to take place in Ghana,” asking if “Ghanaian photo-journalists are ready to take part”.
He was of the view that the profession was the true aspect of “journalism that reviles the real reflective nature of the wide environment in which they operate and should (therefore) not be made to exist as an island”. “The usage of digital equipment is a task modern photo-journalists should live up to.”
Mr. Sackitey Amishadai, a lecturer at NAFTI also entreated the participants to rise above emotions at locations since they distract one's attention from capturing memorable shots.
He said vigilance and the ability to identify worthy news scenes were more important than capturing scenes that do not leave any memory in the minds of the public.
According to him, a modern photo-journalist should be able to summarize an event in a single picture, use photos for feature by capturing expressions on people's faces and cultivate the attitude of watching out for the unusual expressions around them.
He observed that it was rather unfortunate that some photo-journalists leave before the end of events, and urged those in that practice to adopt the attitude of waiting till the end of programmes, especially games where the unusual expressions could be registered.
He called on photo-journalists to remain curious for timely shots that could position them to compete with others in the world.
In an attempt to establish some of the challenges they face, Mr. Charles Osei Asibe of Happy FM observed that most of the equipment that Ghanaian photo-journalists use were not of the best standards, and wondered the outcome of their efforts. “If you see the type of cameras they use, you will marvel. This goes to establish the fact that some media house owners do not provide quality cameras and modern accessories for their workers.”
Mr. Daniel Amuh, a photo-journalist with the Ghanaian Times newspaper said he had not for the past 18 years attended any seminar or workshop of the sort he was currently attending, establishing that photo-journalists for the past years have been relegated to the background, leaving the attention on the reporters alone. He opined that it was sad that the immense contributions of photographers especially in the production of a newspaper were always not recognized.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) treats photo-journalists by instituting awards for only reporters in different categories without recognizing the existence of the photo-journalist.
Mr. Mawuko Afadzinu, Public Affairs Manager of Stanbic Bank noted that Ghana 2008 would provide a great opportunity for photo-journalists to display their talents with their cameras, and called on them to seize the opportunity. By Emmanuel Kubi