In line with technological improvement, news reporting has been taking on various new forms. From the written word to high quality video streams, the boundaries of journalism have never been less limited. This has led to fierce competition between different forms of news media, but photojournalism still remains strong due to its ability to capture powerful moments and make a deep impression. Reuters, one of the major global news agencies, is opening a photo exhibition in Seoul Arts Center welcoming viewers until September 25.
Founded in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuters, Reuters is a renowned news agency that provides up-to-date information to broadcasting stations globally. Though it is well known for its independent and unbiased reporting, perhaps Reuters’ greatest asset lies in its highly proficient photojournalists and its massive photo archive. Reuters Photo Exhibition (Our World Now) displays 450 selected photographs of the 130 million photographs saved in the Reuters archive. This exhibition is the world’s first largescale exhibition of Reuters photographs.
Reuters Photo Exhibition is divided into six sections including “Reuters Classic,” “Emotion,” and “Reality.” This structure naturally guides visitors through the grand history of photojournalism and the role Reuters has played in it. Specifically, the exhibition starts with “Reuters Classic,” depicting a brief history of Reuters’ black and white photos that captured pivotal moments in the 20th century. Viewers may easily recognize many of the photographs because they were often used in news and history textbooks. There is also a photo of Lee Han Yeol, who is the epitome of the fight for Korean democracy, which was won through student revolution.
The corridors then lead to the next section, “Emotion.” Each photo is highlighted by an individual white wall and lighting, enabling the viewers to easily become immersed in the emotion depicted in the photos. The photos displayed here each have a special story to tell. A photo of Kim Yuna collecting all the stuffed animals and flowers that fans have thrown onto the ice rink brings viewers back to the glorious moment of victory at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. As well as the photos that spark joy and ecstasy, there are also the ones that spark anger and discomfort. Photos screaming the existence of protest, war, and poverty hang on the walls.
▲ The “Unique” section of Reuters Photo Exhibition. Photographed by Kim Ji Won.
Not to give too much away, viewers can expect an even greater emotional experience over the course of the rest of the exhibition. The “Unique” section embraces the viewers’ participation fully. Here, the photographs of children, animals and ordinary objects are displayed in a mosaic. With a mirror standing in the middle, lively photos with vibrant color schemes are rolled out starting with blue, green, and yellow, before the colors descend into red and purple. This section allows the viewers to freely take their own photographs. People spend the most time in this section emerged in the world of colors and drama, capturing their own moments.
▲ Viewers looking at the photographs of Reuters Photo Exhibition. Photographed by Kim Ji Won.
Reuters Photo Exhibition has gained its popularity since its opening in June, with a lot of press coverage and accolades from visitors. Its popularity stems from its new approach to the method of displaying photos in an exhibition. This exhibition is not a bland linear distribution of photos. Photo exhibitions, especially of news photographs, often make the mistake of merely arranging the photos, either according to time or photographer. This Reuters exhibition utilizes an appealing way of storytelling, by providing a theme for each section and diversifying the events that the pictures depict.
Another notable feature is its attitude towards press photos. Press photos are required to stick rigorously to facts and reason, serving the purpose of reporting a scene. However, in many scenes of life, heartfelt emotions are hard to separate from truth. The photographs in the exhibition mix fact and emotion, having been taken by Reuters’ journalists who observe the dramatic life of people around the world from a unique perspective. This exhibition shows the visitors how news photography can also be a form of art that depicts the drama of life and humanity.
It can be said that journalism is in danger. With online platforms that deliver news on the spot and yellow journalism being more conspicuous, traditional media is struggling to maintain its market position. However, the resonance that photos can bring is also impossible to ignore. Just like a photo of a woman being directly hit with tear gas can spark a revolution, a photo can be a moment of truth. A moment where all the facts get laid bare and the spotlight shines upon people. This exhibition is the perfect entrance to the world of photojournalism and viewers will be able to experience the impact that press photos can have on the world.