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Documentary Photography

Presents print resources, websites, article databases, and citation information on documentary photography about global cultures. An emphasis tab on global food issues is included.


This guide presents resources for finding print and electronic images presenting documentary photography, also known as photojournalism. Included is information on how to cite images and books in MLA style

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. Dorothea Lange, 1936. 

What is photojournalism?

Documentary photography and photojournalism are alike in their aim to provide "straightforward, accurate" representation of peoples, events, or any other subject. These images may be published in the news to accompany an article, on their own as a photo essay, or be exhibited in museums as artworks. 

Art Term: Photojournalism, Tate Modern.

Art Term: Documentary Photography, Tate Modern

  Copyright issues

When searching for multimedia (audio clips, video clips, pictures) on the internet, you should always assume that any media you come across is copyrighted, unless stated otherwise next to the picture or clip or on the web site.  Finding any media on the Internet does not automatically grant you rights to use it for any purpose other than viewing or listening to the media on the web. 

Before downloading or using any media, check for any copyright and usage restrictions.  Most web sites provide information and guidelines for the downloading or use of media contained on the site.  If a picture or clip is labeled as being in the public domain, then it is available for public use.  Many websites also allow use of media for non-commercial or educational purposes only.  It is your responsibility to follow the guidelines for the use of media from individual web sites. Some of the sites ask that you provide credit to the web site in addition to a link back to the original location.

For more information on copyright and fair use, see the library's Copyright Issues guide.

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