This is an interview I did with the Collegian’s Chief Photographer, Hunter Thompson, about how to shoot photos in the cold.
Archive for October 27, 2011
I read this blog last week and sat down to start writing about it right away. But now here it is four days later and I’m still not sure what to think about it.
It challenges a very fundamental belief about being a photographer, that your talent is more important than the gear.
As much as it pains me to think that gear plays a large role in the product a photojournalist creates I think he has a point. I have personally experienced some of the things he talks about. I’ve had to borrow a colleagues Nikon D3s so I could shoot a candle light vigil at 12,800 ISO, I’ve missed moments in sports games when I tried to shoot with a D100 at 3 frames per second and I have been left frustrated by the changing exposure that comes with a variable aperture lens.
Really I think the fundamental part that is touched on but not really driven home is photojournalism is always asking for moment. There is always a great picture to be made in any situation but catching a great moment is something that requires both incredible skill and sometimes incredible technology.
And as a quick aside I truly believe that I would not have been able to get the photo at the top without having borrowed the Nikon D3s I mentioned earlier. It really is a moment that would have been missed.
In a time when many are calling the profession of photojournalism dead, people are still trying to work their way in. According to Neil Burgess, former head of the New York Magnum Photo office, as newsroom budgets are cut photojournalists are the first to go.
Burgess goes so far as to say “I believe we owe it to our children to tell them that the profession of ‘photojournalist’ no longer exists.” Now why would someone want to enter a profession that has been declared dead before they even get there?
There are some out there who still fundamentally believe in pursuing photography as a profession. Among those is Dylan Langille, a photojournalist for The Rocky Mountain Collegian — a student newspaper in Colorado.
However the demand is still there at some small local papers such as the Collegian for photographers.
The Collegian’s Visual Managing Editor, Greg Mees, sees the demand everyday. “Without strong photography a newspaper cannot have the strong visual presence necessary to get many people to pick it up,” he said. “While the industry may be changing from the print model, I don’t think the demand for photos will go away.
While the profession of photojournalism may be struggling at the large operations such as wire services like Magnum, local news organizations may be the future of the industry.
At the most basic level many photographers seem to have a similar basic need from their profession.
In an interview with Langille he talks about a fundamental need to do something that changes. For him the desire to follow the profession comes from a need to do something different all the time and to better himself.
The current medium may be changing but there is still a fundamental need for the work and a desire to do the work from many. What this means is that the medium may change in the near future but the need for photojournalism is not going to go away.
On Assignment with Dylan
Note: I currently work at the Collegian with Langille and Mees
I just came across this post in Photo District News’ Photo of the Day. It’s a photo story about a marijuana farmer in Northern California by Maureen Drennan.
White really strikes me about this is the story behind it. As far as interesting subjects go a marijuana farmer ranks pretty far up there. Mostly because you have a profession that is so taboo to so much of our country and culture yet is perfectly legal.
To really get a good look at it I would take a look at her website as the story has a real depth in visuals that you can’t see in the five photos on the PDN website.
I posted this a few days ago on twitter but the more I think about it the more I have issue with the particular direction of the blog.
Or maybe its not so much of an issue as it is I think they buried the point of the post. As you read through the first couple of paragraphs you are given a few remarks by photographers basically saying that Jobs was one of the most difficult people to photograph they had dealt with.
But as you get further through the story you realize that while Jobs was a very demanding subject it was in a manor similar to a demanding editor.
Jobs knew when things worked visually and he expected the photographer to do their job well. The quote that I found most profound in this entire story was by Doug Menuez.
I’ve been in war zones, but I like to say that I became a man learning how to stand my ground with Steve.
And the meaning behind this is clear, Jobs may have been difficult to work with but he made the people he worked with better at what they do.
I figured it would make sense to start off my blogging with a little bit about why I’m pursuing a career in photo journalism. The primary influence for this was my granddad, Timon Sinclaire.
He passed last February after a struggle with a brain tumor.
I can say that what really started me on this path was when he bought me first digital camera as a high school graduation present. It was a Nikon D50 that I then used for a few years to shoot landscapes, cars and my friends.
When I came to CSU a few years later I felt like I had been drifting away from photo so I decided to find something to help keep me going. Thats how I found the Collegian and what I want my carreer path to be.
I joined the Collegian and have since moved through positions until now, where I am the editor in chief.
Last february I wrote a column about my granddad and why I started for the Collegian. You can find it on my website or below.
The idea of legacy has been on my mind. On Feb. 13 my granddad, Timon Sinclaire, passed away from a brain tumor after a six-month struggle.
He was not only a loving member of my family, he sparked the interest in the one thing I’ve found that has given me direction in life.
When I was 10 he taught me how to load a roll of 35mm film into a developing canister. There was something exciting about the way the film felt as it slid onto the reel while standing in the dark. Long before that, I remember my granddad setting up his studio in the basement to do portraits of my family and me. I remember the large muslin background, the large format film camera and the flashing strobes.
This all led me to become interested in photography. The process was started then, but it took a long time for these ideas to take hold. Now I find myself setting up backgrounds and strobes to try to tell the story of another person.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I truly found that I liked taking photos.
I played with a few borrowed cameras from other family members, and toyed with the standard cheesy red, black and white photos in Photoshop.
At the end of my senior year, people began asking me what I wanted for graduation.
After some thought, I decided that I wanted my first professional style –– or so I thought –– camera, a digital SLR. So I asked my granddad and that same day the two of us drove to a Ritz Camera up the hill from their house to buy my first camera — a Nikon D50.
I now find myself more than five years, multiple cameras, and hundreds of thousands of photos down the road. And for this I have my granddad to thank.
This may not have been his plan. His interest in photography was always a hobby to him; he was a building designer by trade. I have no idea if he ever considered photography as a profession –– he always loved what he did.
But without the interest he shared, I would not have found the one profession that seems to make sense to me.
I spent almost four years outside of high school pursuing photography as a hobby, like my granddad, until I decided that I needed to take it further. I made the leap to applying for a job at the Collegian. I now find myself wrapped up in an industry in which I think I belong. In less than two years I have moved from the position of staff photographer to next year’s editor-in-chief.
My granddad and I drifted apart those two years. Then Last September, I received a phone call saying that he had developed a brain tumor that was most likely inoperable. With this news I flew out to see him toward at the end of October.
Even with our separation leading up to last fall, we still had photo to talk about. Despite his stroke-like symptoms, he still had the life in him to talk about our shared love of photography.
What rings true in my mind from that weekend is what he said: “just keep snapping.”
I hope that I can honor what he gave me now that he has passed. I plan to do this through continuing to shoot photos for as long as I can still work a camera.