A photojournalist is often called upon to photograph a scene at a moment’s notice. It can be a car accident one day, a music festival, the next and a protest the day after. With that in mind, there are two useful lenses that every photojournalist should carry in their bag to cover such a diverse range of photographic opportunities.
A few months ago, I took an overnight bus from Pokhara, Nepal, to Kathmandu. Arriving at five in the morning was not a part of the plan; nor was losing a night’s worth of sleep to dangerous curves, heavy rainfall, imminent landslides, and music that blared until shortly before arrival in the city. When I got there, I wasn't in too pleasant of a mood.
My heart sank when I first saw the headline that a photographer had been shot by a police officer because his gear was mistaken for a weapon on a rainy night. I didn't want to open the story because I knew it would instill some more fear in my own work while shooting around law enforcement and other potentially dangerous situations. After finally reading the news story, my curiosity led me straight to Andy Grimm's social media to see who he was. I only had to spend a few seconds on his Facebook page to realize that unlike the tragedy that struck him on the stormy night of September 4, his story was pretty beautiful and inspiring.
Being a photojournalist in the U.S. Air Force, there are often some pretty interesting opportunities to cover situations and events that most other photographers I know would probably never find themselves in. When new opportunities come up, there are usually two big questions to ask. One is, am I prepared for this? The other is, how do I even shoot this?
My heart is heavy as I write this tonight, 20,000 acres of my ancestors ceded lands and the very fir trees they once lived beneath, are burning to the ground. Not only is the Columbia River Gorge some of the most beautiful land in Oregon venture in to and photograph, it holds a special place in my own heart. Did you notice the red moon across the country Monday night? Many of you likely took a photo of it like I did here in Louisville, Kentucky. It was breathtaking but today I was devastated to learn the moon was painted by the tragedy in my home lands and across the Northwest.
In a story that could only happen in our current media saturated, social media crazed, 24/7 news atmosphere, a Brazilian man fooled established media outlets worldwide as well as 120,000 plus Instagram followers into thinking he was a United Nations war photographer for the past three years. After being exposed, he is supposedly "in Australia...spend(ing) a year in a van," and his identity still unknown.
I'm sure by now everyone reading this is familiar with the work of photographer and interviewer Brandon Stanton and his long-running project Humans of New York. His crisp, shallow depth of field portraits and poignant interviews have gained international attention since the project's start in 2010. For the last four years, Stanton has quietly been filming his interviews, saving the footage for "something special." Now, that special something has arrived, in the form of a video series which will premiere next week on Facebook's Watch platform.
Stories like this one fill my heart back up with inspiration after times of discouragement. On August 16th, 2016 James Quigg, chief photographer of The DailyPress offered to cover the Blue Cut California wildfire as news of it came into the newsroom. They had just finished covering The Pilot Fire which had changed to a contained status that very day. He expected it to be a quick and easy story as he has learned over 25 years of being a journalist, the second fire was always smaller. When he arrived at the intersection of Interstate 15 and Highway 138 he stood in awe surrounded by flames in all four directions. As he observed the destruction he realized he'd be covering the largest fire of his career and this time he wanted to do something different that would be remembered for years.
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) reported Bill Frakes, a former Sports Illustrated photographer and 1983 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year competition, will not return to his position as a lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after a Title IX harassment complaint was filed against him. The complaint was accompanied by notes from "at least ten other students" including photojournalim majors and those from other universities who also worked with Frakes.