These are almost 200 photos from my nine months at The Derrick and News-Herald that I think represent a pretty good look at how I approach my job as a small community photographer. After 17 plus years at The Meadville Tribune I changed jobs and am serving the folks of Venango County with a little spread over into Clarion, Forest and Mercer as well.
I believe each story I work on requires me to give it my best. Obviously there are days you are on and there are days you are not at your best. Most photographers of any worth will tell you that you have ups and downs weekly and you almost never feel like you quite 'got it' with any assignment.
As I was collecting this loose edit I remembered these assignments and remembered how I was feeling at the time and how that affected the outcome of the images. Some were better as a result of my happiness or sadness at the moment, or could've been better if i had felt another way. We seek to tell other's stories, but there is no doubt that our own mood and ideologies filter in when we're listening and looking for the elements to tell a story.
I will be posting a tighter edit of my absolute favorites later this week with further explanations and captions. I am still hoping to make a picture or two this week that will make it into the best of and my favorites slideshow.
In the slideshow you will see news events, sports and slices of life moments captured from assignments given and self made and just roaming around. There are also some illustrations i made in order to help with eith covers of special sections or stories that lacked a current visual that could be photographed in a documentary way.I also posted several portraits, something I am doing more and more of as I am trying to understand who we are as a people in the second decade of the 2000s.
Documentary style photojournalism means a great deal to me. There are no set up photographs other than portraits and I refuse to ask a subject to do something just so i can photograph it. I will ask the question, when will you be doing what you do and that is when I will be there. This is important in the day and age of fabrication that we act as truthfully as we can in the newspaper business. We need to be the steadfast in this in order to save the credibility of our profession that takes hit after hit.
This past year I really studied the work of Robert Frank again. He is considered one of the fathers of modern documentary photojournalism. I wasn't a huge fan of him when i was younger, but as i age I see the subtle images he made very intriguing. I think a great deal about his work when I approach my work now.
To me a photograph needs to be a layered structure of the elements you need to tell the story. The more layers you can include without visually overwhelming the reader, the stronger the story. I want the reader to get a sense of not just the nuts and bolts of a story, but how that situation possibly feels by the moment of action, reaction or emotion that is captured in the faces, body language or even light of the image.
Life is full of countless little moments that make up the fabric of who we are. If I do my job right, maybe we understand each other in our community a little better.
Thanks for looking. Soon I'll be on to 2016 with a whole new set of emotions and new stories to investigate.