Helen Lewandowski - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Helen Lewandowski

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Helen Lewandowski

PhD student

Thesis: The End of Photojournalism? Digital images, amateur aesthetics and global networks in the 21st century

Supervised by Prof. Julian Stallabrass

Funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

While photojournalism’s ‘death’ has been repeatedly invoked by critics since the 1970s, the first two decades of the 21st century have marked a heightened existential crisis in photojournalism. My thesis explores this anxiety in the field, which has been spurred by three core shifts: from analogue to digital images; from the domination of professionals to the rise of mass amateurisation in photography; from a relatively small circle of wire agencies to large, accessible and inclusive global networks. Is, then, photojournalism actually ‘dead’?

Rather than heralding the ‘death’ of photojournalism, I argue that these transformations in the creation of images have profoundly influenced the distribution and aesthetics of photojournalism. These changes are methodically examined through five lenses: NGOs, agencies, magazines and newspapers, competitions, and social media networks.


MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art

BA Art History and French, Grinnell College

Research Interests

  • Humanism
  • Digital networks
  • Photojournalism
  • Amateur photography
  • Documentary photography and film
  • Culture and conflict
  • History of photography

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