I remember once being really annoyed as a youngster, when some adult on TV made a remark about Tintin not being much of a journalist, because he didn't file stories...
"...what about the books
?" I thought. "They
are his reports!!"
That at least is how I have always seen it.
In re: Hergé meaning him to be a photojournalist, it's mentioned in the very first frame of the very first book, to the effect that every picture in the book is guaranteed
to have been taken by Tintin - with the assistance of Snowy...
That aside, I wonder if you are thinking of the tale which arose about a "real-life Tintin", Robert Sexé?
Sexé was an intrepid reporter/ photo-journalist of the early C. 20th, who rode a motor-bike, wore plus-fours, and made voyages to the Soviet Union, the Congo and America (sound familiar?). Add to this that Sexé's best friend was a man named Milhoux (sp?)...
I have read that there are frames in Soviets
which are very close in content and composition to Sexé's photos - which allowing for the fact that Hergé never (as far as I know) used a source photo as is, but would alter the view and features, wouldn't make it impossible that Hergé did indeed use him as the basis of his reporter...
for the fact that there is absolutely no concrete evidence that Hergé had any knowledge of the man, his journeys or his photos. Sexé was pretty big news in France and Belgium, by all accounts (although he seems to be unknown here he wasn't even someone who faded away into obscurity - he just moved into motor-cycling events, and I think he was some sort of official in motor-sports by the time he died), so Hergé probably had heard of him, but there is no evidence.
Given that Hergé was so meticulous in his archiving and filing, it seems impossible that he would not have kept any of the reference material if that was his source; it also seems highly unlikely that he would have destroyed it, and yet it isn't there. I believe when the Guardian covered the story, they included a note to the effect that the Fondation were baffled, as they couldn't explain the similarites, yet acknowledged that they were there, and were embarking on further investigation.
My own personal solution to the problem is that when Hergé wrote those early tales he worked in a newspaper office, and didn't have to have his own files - he used the paper's morgue as his primary source! Abbé Wallez would have possibly been motivated to have something similar to the reports that have been circulated to papers by Sexé, and Hergé would have had plenty of access to pictures from the newspaper files. He obviously was adept at searching the catalogue and appreciated it, because his own filing apparently followed journalistic practice.
Anyway, was that what you had in mind?
*****Update: This link
is to a related article, which suggests that Hergé followed Sexé's exploits keenly in Le Vingtième Siècle
, which could mean that the chain has been established properly. Also it was the Orient, not America, to which Sexé went - I stand corrected!And another!
is a photo of the man and his chums in Moscow in 1925 (Sexé is in the middle, sadly neither of the other two is Milhoux...), whilst this
is the man in later life.