Yannis Behrakis of Reuters recently completed a Wider Image special for the news agency titled "Greece: witnessing the migration crisis." The operative word is witness.

Some journalists can do their jobs without leaving the office, but not so for photographers. They must be eyewitnesses. 

The news business exacts a high toll from photojournalists so they can be on the front lines of history. 

Wars, disasters, crises of every sort demand their presence, and we count on them to convey with photography what words alone cannot communicate.

They document humankind at its very best and at its worst. They shed light on the darkest corners, triggering action and reaction. 

Roger Fenton laid the groundwork for modern photojournalism with his pictures
of the Crimean War, printed in the ILN (Illustrated London News). Fenton is considered the first "official" war photographer. 

Matthew Brady gained fame for his photographs of the Civil War in the United States, published by Harper's Weekly. Because of Brady and war photographers who followed we know how battlefields actually looked, understand the horror of Verdun, the aftermath of the Blitz, and what soldiers faced in the jungles of Vietnam. 

Many of the earliest women photojournalists were in Britain and France. 

Jesse Tarbox Beals,  born in Canada in 1870, was the first published female photojournalist in the United States. 
Eve Arnold worked with Magnum Photos. Lillian Bassman was an early fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar. 

Local news photographers captured the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, documented the ghettos of New York, the civil rights movement in the United States, the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. 

We celebrate photojournalism this month on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the New York Press Photographers Association. 

Like the Newswomen's Club of New York, the New York Press Photographers Association was formed during the golden age of newspapers. Today it counts among its members, as do we, some of the best photographers in the business. 

So here is a salute to news photographers everywhere, many of whom risk everything to be the eyes of the world. 

Toni Reinhold
The Newswomen's Club of New York