political chum

If there’s one thing I learned late in my days as a staff newspaper photojournalist, it was to stop looking at the newspaper.  Nothing good can come of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love newspapers, but I’ve seen my photo cropped to a circle before.  Literally.  I don’t save clips.  I have a small stack of papers that I have saved from 10 years of work that could fit inside my back pocket.  That’s it.  I learned to stop worrying about what someone else does with my work, and to just concentrate on making said work uniquely mine.

I think most photojournalists at newspapers need to really stop worrying about how your photos run and just worry about making images that you are passionate about.  Images that make you happy.  Images that don’t exist.  Images they won’t run.

More often than not, they won’t.

We shoot a lot of politics down here in Florida, and even more now that I’m freelance.  Photographing politics can be some of the most rendundant, annoying, and hard things to do….and I love every minute of it.

The love doesn’t come from being following politics.  It’s about imagery and making photos.  It’s about fighting light (most of the time the light wins), battling campaign wranglers, and trying to shoot something different than the 12 other people on the left and right of you – I really savor the challenge, and make sure to come out of each little rally or event with photos that break free of what the candidate wants to see or the publication is expecting.  It’s my own little mental victory.

I love it when there is an army of photographers there, because it gives me that sense of urgency to step-up my game and break free of fighting for the same shot.  Once I get the armpit shot, I see it as my ticket to stop shooting a guy regurgitating the same speech from the night before and to start playing around with the oversaturated red, white, and blue chum floating around in the rim-lit crowd of sharks circling him.

These were shot for The New York Times from a post-CNN debate rally for Republican Rick Scott, who is running for governor in the State of Florida:  more photos can be found at my Photoshelter site:  here.

2 thoughts

  1. How a photo is published matters, but your job as a photographer probably isn’t to tackle that issue. It’s your editor’s job to deal with that.

    I’m a control freak about that because I have a certain aesthetic I like. But, I don’t have a photo editor to do that for me.

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