THROUGH A LENS DIMLY
IT ALL ABOUT?
Since I retired from my job as a Staff Photographer for Newsday in 2002, I have enjoyed reliving my experiences as a newspaper photographer by "singing for my supper" so to speak. I give illustrated lectures aboard cruise ships, as well as other venues. I have also been sharing these trips down Memory Lane with you on The Digital Journalist. It's fun. It keeps me aware of how fortunate I was to have had a forty-two year career that I loved. And, it's a huge ego trip for me.
But, let's do some math. Adding up all the five day weeks and deducting an average of four weeks a year for vacations and deducting the five paid holidays per year, it would come to 9,870 days. OK, there was lots of overtime, and there were personal days off and sick days, but, let's use that figure of 9, 870 days as the total days that I came to work at Newsday in 42 years..I just said, in the last graph, that I loved my career. Did I love all 9,870 days?
However, some days I loved less than others. Those were the days where I ended up pretty much just shooting "head shots and real estate." This was a term we used for the endless amount of plain and simple head and shoulder pictures of people for The Business Page, The Sports Page, The Society Page, The Education Page, The Political Page, and on and on. So many times, all that we were required to do was to get a simple "head shot" of some politician, businessman, school teacher, baseball player, debutant, show biz celebrity and so on ad nauseum. Or else it was "Get a shot of a fire damaged house for a News Page, or a new house for The Real Estate Page, or the new supermarket that was opening for the Business Page, and on and on ad nauseum.
Boring! Yes. You could try to get an unusual angle or try a different perspective or gussy it up with some clever lighting. But, it was still "head shots and real estate."
There were many times when I photographed a head and shoulder of some celebrity and I would enjoy listening to the interview as I shot. There were also times when I would be photographing an "unknown" but that person might have an interesting story to tell.
I loved being a newspaper photographer because the potential for something interesting and dynamic was always present.
I certainly don't mean to demean the importance of anyone's work, but, if you had your druthers, would you druther do what I did or flip burgers or work in an office or something like that?
If you have labored in the news business for any time, you know this simply isn't the case.
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