On November 13, a North Korean soldier defected through the demilitarized zone, eventually being shot 5 times by fellow North Korean soldiers before lying about 55 yards over the border, where he was dragged to safety by South Korean sergeants 40 minutes later. This video from the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission shows the harrowing escape from start to rescue.
The essence of channeling your inner muse to create amazing photo-journalistic images requires a very specific mindset. Here are a few tips I've learned on perfecting your photojournalism skills to create more powerful intentional images, and these tips can be adapted in other forms of photography to fit your purpose.
When I photograph events, I do my best to become a “fly on the wall.” I try to stay out of the way, to be unobtrusive, to not affect what’s happening around me and just document what I see. To be a photographer in the White House and be a fly on those walls — surrounded by high stress, classified this and that, diplomats, dignitaries, tragedies, and achievements, while being charged with capturing all of it, 24/7/365 — would obviously be a job that would take all you’ve got. And to do it for not one, but two presidents? That’s nuts. But there’s one guy who did it. His name is Pete Souza.
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.