Friday, February 19, 2010

Photogs Up Close

 One of the really good things that has come out of my experience in Haiti is that I've had the opportunity to mingle with and observe dozens of professional photojournalists.  These guys and gals go out every day and document the thousands of stories, and then come back to the hotel and sit around the bar selecting, editing, and sending their work around the world.  It's been an unbelievable opportunity and privilege to watch this process up close.

As I sit here there are several photogs looking over their day's shots on small MacBooks, and editing in Photoshop.  They're serious and pensive within the process, and once the work is fed they grab a beer and relax for the remainder of the evening.  The ever-present question is how long they should stay, when does the story run out?

Here is what I've noticed from the photog community:
  • Most use Cannon cameras, normally two, one slung on each shoulder
  • Photo vests are for PSDs.  Security ruined the vests for photogs.  Now its backpacks.
  • They all seem to edit in Photoshop
  • There is not a lot of sharing or viewing other's shots, but they will show you if asked
  • Way too much smoking going on during the editing process
  • NGOs pay better than magazines
  • There's a difference between shooting art and news
  • During the moment, hold the hammers down, try to stay in composition and focus
  • All have agents they send their photos through
  • Macs are the laptops of choice
  • Skype gets them back home at bedtime
  • The average salary is extremely hard-earned.  This life comes at a price.

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