Volume 8 Number 7
July 9 - August 13 2012
A strong image has the ability to speak volumes about the world around us – often more powerfully than a journalist’s well crafted words.
The University of Melbourne has now launched the first comprehensive study of the history and significance of press photography in Australia, across all states and territories.
Lead researcher and prominent journalist Michael Gawenda, from the Centre for Advanced Journalism, says he was thrilled to have secured a $200,000 Australian Research Council grant to fund the study – A History Of Press Photography in Australia.
“This project will enable us to look at an area of journalism that is often neglected: the place of photography in Australian journalism and the way photography has recorded major events in Australian history,” he says.
“It will look at how the photograph – and now video – has been used in journalism to record social and political change.”
The project attracted $203,627 from the ARC, and will also receive support from the National Library of Australia and the Australian Walkley Foundation.
The project will also explore the history, ethics and editorial prominence of press photography, as well as issues of censorship.
The professionalisation of press photographers and the shifting role of amateur and citizen photographers will also be scrutinised.
“This is a wonderful project at a time when journalism is in a great period of change and the use of photography and video is increasingly important in the digital age,” Mr Gawenda says.
In a journalism career spanning more than three decades, Mr Gawenda has been a political reporter, foreign correspondent, columnist and was Editor-in-Chief of The Age from 1997 to 2004.
Associate Professor Sally Young from the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences and Dr Fay Anderson and Professor Kate Darian-Smith, both from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, will also work on the research project.
“The whole research team and our partners will be thrilled as well and eager to get on with this exciting project,” Mr Gawenda said.
Another 14 University of Melbourne projects will share in a further $4.3m from the latest round of ARC funding, announced by the Science and Research Minister, Senator Chris Evans, earlier in July.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Jim McCluskey, says the awards were recognition of the University’s status as a leading research body.
“It’s really a testament to the depth, quality and range of research at the University of Melbourne.
“I warmly congratulate all our grant recipients on their achievements and commend their hard work to date.”