Platypus Workshop Report
 
by Larry Hatteberg
 
We have looked through the lens of history and have forever changed. 

Those who participated in the first-ever Platypus Workshop in Norman, Oklahoma in March saw, for the first time, the art of photojournalism blur the lines between still and television photography. 

As the Platypus Workshop blended with the NPPA TV Workshop, participants saw photojournalism leave our old familiar road to take a new one yet unmapped. We watched still images dissolve into moving images of television -- taking the best of each discipline to produce a powerful method of visual storytelling. 

We have witnessed history in these two workshops and I donít believe photojournalism will ever be the same again. 

To see the excitement in the eyes of still photographers as they watched their images move across an electronic screen was breathtaking.  We saw their creative juices flow as they saw the power of combining two disciplines into a single powerful entity.  

Watching television photojournalists see the power of still images impacting television and hearing a standing ovation by those in TV for their brothers and sisters in still- photography was overwhelming.  Part of that feeling is the notion that the business has created a new breed of photojournalists Ė a powerful and distinctive new breed who will impact our business for years to come. 

We are moving down a road yet undefined, with few familiar landmarks to guide us.  Some will fall by the wayside because the new techniques of storytelling require a different kind of photojournalist --- one who sees not only composition, light and color  -- but who hears sound and sees movement as an exciting addition to their visual tool box.  

Not all will arrive at this new destination.  Some will fail, but others will go to new heights with techniques now only imagined. 

Now the box has been opened and the fire inside canít be contained.  The smoke will filter into newspapers, magazines, the web and television.  The change in our business will be profound. 

I am aware that there are those who donít see this change as a positive move for photojournalism.  There are those who believe attempting to be all things is folly.  In the past, that may have been so.  But technology is now moving us to rethink our old ways.  

It is true that there is uncertainty in the future, but there is no denying we are moving into a new century with a new way of thinking.  Our minds must be open to new ideas or we shall be left with the flashbulbs of the past. 

Some will cope, some will not.  It will be as it has always been --- those with the desire, talent and vision will surface above the rest.  It is also true that none of us know how this new breed of storytellers will function in the New World of storytelling.  There are many questions left unanswered, still problems to solve, along with new challenges. 

If the events of March 1999 in Norman, Oklahoma are any indication, we have only begun to see the power of storytelling in the new Millennia.  

I am proud to have been there when history was made.  
 
 

Larry Hatteberg is a broadcast anchor and photojournalist at KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas. He is a past president of the National Press Photographers Association and a two-time winner of the NPPA TV Photographer of the Year Award. He has won over 90 national, state and local awards for his work in photojournalism.  He has been with KAKE Television for 36 years and is a co-director of the NPPA TV News Video Workshop.

 
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