The challenges facing photojournalists today

Hugh Kinsella Cunningham travels on assignment for a range of news outlets and NGOs. Here he talks about the dangers of his work, the changing news cycle and the impact of photojournalism today

Photojournalism has been going through a rapid period of change in recent years, with photographers facing drastically increased dangers in the field, while questions are being asked over who has the right to photograph these images, and how consent can be granted.

“I think your photos will reflect your personality, and if you have warmth and respect for the people and themes in your stories, that will come across,” says photojournalist Hugh Kinsella Cunningham on making sure his work remains ethical. “I’ve also been concentrated on the same region and topics for five years now, and having a beat that you know in depth means you can be trusted to produce ethical and accurate work.”

Last year Cunningham won a Sony World Photography Award in the documentary category for his series The Women’s Peace Movement in Congo. He has been based in the region since 2019, after hatching a plan to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo for the 25th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

He photographed his time there and those images were published in a few outlets leading Cunningham to feel like he could make a career of it. “I saved up for a year longer, and between 2018 and 2019, began to spend more time in Congo, becoming based there by the end of that year.”

Families run to safety as artillery fire echoes in the hills above Sake, North Kivu, December 2023. All images: Hugh Kinsella Cunningham