Finding, Evaluating, and Citing Photojournalism Resources

To find photojournalism resources
Search for words like photojournalism, visual journalism, photojournalist, visual journalist, documentary photography, news photography, war photography, documentary photographer, news photographer, war photographer, photostories, photo essays, visual communication, and communication arts. Other than war photography, sub-genres include conservation photography and social documentary photography.

To find online image archives and documentary photography collections in print
Search for the topic in which you’re interested (experiment with broader terms, narrower terms, and synonyms) PLUS words like “digital archive,” photographs, “online exhibit,” “image archive,” “digital collection.”  For print works in libraries, try “pictorial works,” photojournalism, or “documentary photography.”

Use the VCU Journal Finder to determine which database contains a journal in which you’re interested.  With your VCU eID you can access AP Images, Communication and Mass Media Complete, and Taylor and Francis Journals Complete (which includes History of Photography)

When evaluating documentary photographs, consider tips from historian James Curtis

Taking your own photojournalism shots? Consider the NPPA’s Code of Ethics.

To cite photographs in MLA Style, 7th ed., refer to this detailed handout from Easybib.

Books in the MW Library


  • About to Die: How News Images Move the Public (Oxford UP, 2010)
  • American Modernism and Depression Documentary (Oxford UP, 2009)
  • Disciplinary Truths: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning (U of Minnesota P, 2009)
Print books
  • 12 Million Black Voices – Richard Wright
  • Am. Photographers and the National Parks
  • Ansel Adams: The National Park Service Photographs
  • Bare Witness – Gordon Parks
  • By These Hands – David Parker
  • Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits
  • Humans of New York – Brandon Stanton
  • Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment
  • Journalism Next – Mark Briggs
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men – James Agee and Walker Evans
  • The Migrant Project – Rick Nahmias
  • Native Soil – Jack Spencer
  • The Oxford Project – Feldstein and Bloom
  • The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors without Borders
  • Suburbia – Bill Owens
  • Sweet Earth – Joel Sternfeld
  • Things as They Are: Photojournalism in Context Since 1955 – World Press Photo
  • Third Views, Second Sights: Rephotographic Survey of the Am. West

MW Library Databases

AP Source – includes AfterImage (HTML – 6/96-now), Art in America (PDF – 11/02-now) and past issues of other magazines and journals

Historical Newspapers – archive of article text and scanned images for the NYT, Guardian and Observer (UK), and four historic U.S. black newspapers

JSTOR – useful for scholarly studies examining the social/historical impact of a photographer’s work

PowerSearch – includes Journal of Communication Inquiry (3/97-now) and past issues of other journals and magazines

VCU Research Guides

News and Documentary Photo Archives

American Memory (LOC) – FSA images
AP Images – good for discovery, but to download, you need to subscribe – we don’t, but VCU does!
National Press Photographers (NPPA)
Center for Documentary Studies (Duke) – Exhibits
College Photographer of the Year – Winning Images (browse by category menu on left of page)
Flickr Commons – search box midway down page
Guardian (UK) Eyewitness – featured photo each day with informative caption and pro tip.  Free iPad app available too.
International Center of Photography’s Research Center – both Exhibitions and Major Holdings include photojournalists
Life Photo Archive (1860’s to 1970’s)
National Archives (U.S.) – incl. many photographs
National Geographic – Photography
New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery
New York Times Lens photojournalism blog
Newseum – Online Exhibits
Pictures of the Year International – Archive
World Press Photo Archive – open archive on right

Publications, Resource Sites, Projects

Life Magazine – featured photojournalism stories
News in Pictures (list of links) (photo projects to promote global awareness of social issues)
VII Magazine – work of 29 photojournalists

Online Videos Related to Photojournalism


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