Essays On Documentary Photography Ideas

Documenting people and the stories beyond the ordinary is one of the fascinating and daunting task in terms of Photojournalism. The Lives of those affected, the way they come into terms into reality & the very source for the ultimate word – Survival. Documentary photography shows us exactly what our world looks like at any given moment in time. Whether the pictures are bleak, playful, angering or astounding, they all serve a historically significant purpose. A complete photo story is something which makes one understand the main objective for what it needs to be done, to bring a change to the masses, to show them light.

Here we have listed out some massive powerful stories for one to understand the severity of any situation. Less said, it would be more than a tribute to the sincere effort from these photojournalists. For a change, this time we wanted to outline the great works of our masters to understand and to estimate their role in bringing these powerful stories to the world.

Please check the below stories, a fine example of above statement. These photographers are captured their souls not photos. You have any photography story with you? please share with us, we will feature your work in this blog. Thanks in advance.

Country Doctor by W. Eugene Smith

“Country Doctor” is undoubtedly one of the commanding works by Eugene Smith and was an instant classic when first published, making him establish as a master. Plus an unique and influential photojournalists of 2oth century.

© W. Eugene Smith—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


A Photo Essay on the Great Depression by Dorothea Lange

This is a sneak peek into some of the powerful pictures produced by Dorothea Lange on the eve of the great depression during the 1930’s. Every picture here symbolizes the pain and agony people went through and Dorothea has registered a version of her in the books of history.

© Dorothea Lange


Bhopal Gas Tragedy by Raghu Rai

One of the saddest industrial disaster which occured in Bhopal, India 1984. Numerous innocent lives were lost and more than that even after years of the tragedy many were indirectly affected through mutation and deconstructed DNA even today. Raghu rai’s pictures on this tragedy is immensely powerful and shows the mass graveyard and deadly scenes post the catastrophe.

© Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos


Vietnam War by Philip Jones Griffiths

His goal was to capture photographs in a digestible way, which could then appear to be witnessed by the world. The effects of war and post calamity and to show what really was happening in Vietnam with more profound importance.

© Philip Jones Griffiths / Magnum Photos


Gypsies by Josef Koudelka

Lives of people who kept wandering in search of their survival and the hope. These pictures show us their daily routine, beautiful music and some starvation for food.

© Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos


Nurse Midwife by W.Eugene Smith

Again a scintillating story on a Nurse midwife by Eugene Smith. Story of a lady who served as everything for thousands of poor people across 400 sq miles in the wild south.

© W. Eugene Smith—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


The Korean War by Werner Bischof

How brutal could war be and how cruelly brutal could the children affected by it, Werner Bischof produces more evidence and documentation in war front on this topic. Yet another powerful story on the lives lost.

© Werner Bischof / Magnum Photos


Struggle to Live – the fight against TB by James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey has documented the resurgence of tuberculosis and its varying strains MDR and XDR in seven countries around the world. One of the dreadful diseases to have consumed numerous lives of humanity.

© James Nachtwey


Gordon Parks’s Harlem Family Revisited

The Harlem Family is one of the haunting photo stories ever made by any photojournalist. Brutality of hunger and effect of poverty, the distance it drove a family towards disaster and eventually death.

© Gordon Parks


Stars Behind Bars – Life with the Prisonaires by Robert W. Kelley

A Photo narrative from the inside. the story unknown for most of the people was shown in pictures by Robert Kelley. These Pictures demonstrate prisoners way of living and provides more light on the stages they passed on.

© Robert W. Kelley—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


Please check our previous documentary photography stories here:

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10 Powerful Documentary Photo Essays from the Masters, 4.3 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

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Russian midget friends in a living room on 100th Street, N.Y.C.


El Morocco, New York




Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C.




Mrs. T. Charlton Henry on a couch in her Chestnut Hill home, Philadelphia, PA




Outdoor Theater, Colorado Springs, Colorado


Huntsville, Alabama


Natural Bridge, New York


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