Analysis: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Photojournalism


“While photojournalism may be exploitive, this exploitation is not always unethical and sometimes even necessary in creating an image that is both beautiful and impactful.”

Smolens utilizes ethos in her argument a multitude of times. She cites the National Press Photographers Association and their Code of Ethics in order to obtain credibility and provide a background on the rules set forth by a respected organization on this topic.

Smolens uses pathos in her argument frequently. By using Sebastiao Salgado’s emotionally striking photograph, she grabs the reader’s attention by grabbing ahold of their emotions. Including the photos that she used in her argument was a smart way to incorporate pathos into her argument. She also talks about the connection between viewers and the photos themselves, a point that makes the argument even more personal.

“They deliver to us beautiful, haunting, informative, truthful, horrific, meaningful, profound images, and so what we do when we view them is just as important.”

“An experience is something that personally affects your life, and so rather than just creating a great photograph that is nice to look at, he also wants it to personally touch you in some way.”

Smolens appeals to logos a lot throughout the course of her argument. She uses a lot of resources and reliable sources to provide good information about her topic. Smolens also utilizes quotes from real photojournalists on their opinions of the ethics of photojournalism.

“Photojournalism,” suggests that “[p]hotojournalists at their best produce visual references that illuminate human activity, reveal our vices and virtues, and offer iconic representations of events and individuals in a manner that can be ‘read’ by as many as possible”


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