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25 Examples of Powerful Documentary Photography

on Photography

Images can be powerful. They can communicate a story straight to your heart before it can beat. They can tell it in terms you can understand, even if those depicted speak another language. When images are used to capture the realities of the world we live in, you have photojournalism. You have documentary photography.

Documentary photography is used to document significant and historical events and is most prevalent in professional photojournalism or while reporting events from real life. However, it can also be used as an academic or artistic pursuit. It can even be a personal hobby.

When it comes to documentary photography, the most important thing to remember is to document things as they happen naturally. This is not the time to set up elaborate photoshoot sets or to wait until the light is just right.

Another important tip to remember is that you have to capture the person’s essence which means there is no need for poses that capture our most flattering side or the best smile. Part of what makes documentary photography so powerful is that it captures raw, honest moments.

And it is those raw moments that trigger our emotions and make us connect with the photo, that show us what is so special about the moment, what makes the subject of the photo truly unique.

In this roundup, we’ve gathered some of the best examples of documentary photography to show you just how powerful this style of photography is. We hope you enjoy them and use them as an inspiration.

Old Warrior
Old Warrior documentary photography

Child Soldiers
Child Soldiers powerful photography documentary

Western Sahara Public Transportation
Western Sahara Public Transportation inspiring news photography

A New Country – Southern Sudan
A New Country - Southern Sudan powerful photography documentary

Holi documentary photography

Holy Flute
Holy Flute inspiring news photography

My Man in Iraq
My Man in Iraq powerful photography documentary

Colour Prayer
Colour Prayer documentary photography

The Nagas
The Nagas powerful photography documentary

The Apostoles
The Apostoles inspiring news photography

Hopee powerful photography documentary

Under the Bridge
Under the Bridge documentary photography

Demonstration powerful photography documentary

Hold Your Fire
Hold Your Fire inspiring news photography

Floods in Benin
Floods in Benin powerful photography documentary

Where Am I?
Where Am I? documentary photography

Kushti Training
Kushti Training powerful photography documentary

Salting Squid Preservation
Salting Squid Preservation inspiring news photography

Abigail powerful photography documentary

Bats in Cages
Bats in Cages documentary photography

Baptism in the Jordan River
Baptism in the Jordan River powerful photography documentary

Waiting for Haiti
Waiting for Haiti inspiring news photography

Below Ground
Below Ground powerful photography documentary

Haiti Earthquake Disaster
Haiti Earthquake Disaster powerful photography documentary

Slaughter Pig
Slaughter Pig documentary photography

Schoolgirl after the Pakistan Earthquake
Schoolgirl after the Pakistan Earthquake powerful photography documentary

Gipsy Portrait
Gipsy Portrait powerful photography documentary