This paper aims to broadly address a PhD research stream that the author has been conducting to date, whose historical objective is press photography, specifically the published images in La Jornada newspaper. A visual speech of the various contexts lived in Mexico at the end of the twentieth century. In the following lines, the author will present her methodology proposal with the aim of learning and analyzing the speech created by press photography and its relation to historical reality. A journalistic speech generating a language describing events, but at the same time a language manipulated by the subjectivity of the author – the press photographer. A historical timeline of which the photojournalist was part and which influenced the manner historical reality was perceived by the receiving social group.
It is important to clarify that this database does not intend to replace the estimations which could be obtained by directly and individually analyzing each photograph. However, this instrument has allowed the author to collect a great quantity of readable graphic and textual information, as well as to describe the characteristic attributes of each image as a documentary unit. In other words, the author intends to address the visual events as a part of the historical events, as claimed by the Mexican historian Ricardo Pérez Montfort. This to provide an in-depth study on how historical, social, cultural and political phenomena were registered by press photography; not omitting history, this specific moment, punctually requires photography and written journalism as a vestige. The latter not only with the purpose of going further on the functions of photography but also on the significance of the photographic phenomenon and the visual speech within social and cultural history of a country.
Furthermore, the author will present, to the extent possible, some elements which have allowed the identification of the manner in which the editor(s) of the newspaper impacted the presentation of visual speech, as well as the interests and visions of the social group they represent. This is a way to go further on different assumptions, such as the person taking the picture, the person editing it – after reaching the editorial and ideological line of the newspaper – as well as the person publishing the picture; a new manner to address editorial work and photojournalism on written media. To achieve the aforementioned aim, this essay comprehends the intertextuality and visual production, as well as the contexts lived throughout the six-year Presidential terms of office of Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, through diverse published images in La Jornada newspaper from 1984 to 2000.
This research not only addresses the generated material by the photojournalists of La Jornada newspaper during this period but also includes, as a part of the oral history methodology, the testimonies of some assistant directors, people in charge of the photography department, the editor, the designer and photographers who stood out in the newspaper. In addition, the author has a database which has allowed to collect, store and connect information present in each of the photographs published on different covers and back covers of the newspaper. It comprises 15 categories which have been nurturing the database (reviewed dates, journalistic and photographic genders, reporters, pages, published photographs, photograph format, themes of the photographs, places, characters, titles of the photographs, photograph caption, credit, photograph composition, angle and time). It is important to clarify that this database does not intend to replace the estimations which could be obtained from directly and individually analyzing each photograph. However, this instrument has allowed the author to collect a great quantity of readable graphic and textual information, as well as to describe the characteristic attributes of each image as a documentary unit.
Rodríguez, S. (2019), "Mexican photojournalism: the visual narrative of
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