I say photog rather than photographer because that is what many photojournalists are called.
To paraphrase one of my journalism professors: Photogs are funny. They just stand back and let you [the reporter] deal with the situation. They’re just there to take pictures.
But of course there is a lot more to it than that, especially when dealing with the ethics of photojournalism. During a media and ethics class, I had a group presentation on this very topic, which led to viewing some very disturbing images and discussing whether or not it was right to publish certain photos.
This decision process, which can cost the reporter their job/reputation as well as affect the newspaper, is not made with as much consideration as it used to be, thanks to the ability to instantly upload images to the web and the never-ending demand of social media. This means, as my textbook stated, that instead of sitting down with your photo editor and discussing the ethics of showing certain photos, you must make split second decisions in the field on your own.
Ah, the life of a photog.
When I started journalism, I had no intention of venturing into the realm of photography. I had planned to be a simple print reporter, devoting my life to the written word. But then blogging and geography events came along and with them the lesson that today’s reporter has to be able to do it all. Luckily for me, I found out that I love photography. I’m proud to be called a photog.
I started out with a small old digital camera (the kind you can fit in a pocket). It only had 9.1 mega pixels and so took phone camera quality pictures. Eventually though I decided to get serious and bought my first ever high quality camera, a Nikon Coolpix L820 with 16 mega pixels. No, it wasn’t the fanciest or the most expensive, but it was 1,000 times better than my old camera. I was in love with it. I took photos for my senior journalism class, geography field trips, summer adventures and even fun photo challenges. Unfortunately my photog days ended when my camera got stolen right before Christmas of last year.
I have since gotten a new camera, the next level up since L820s were no longer being sold, but it hasn’t felt the same. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had any photo worthy events to go so far this year. Maybe it’s because I’m scared to have my camera seen in public in case someone tries to steal it from me again. Maybe I just loved that camera too much. I had a part of my heart in it and when it was stolen maybe a part of me was taken too. I’ll probably never bestow as much love and enthusiasm for photography as I did the year I had my L820, but photography is still in my blood. I’ll keep taking photos and I’ll always be a photog.
One way I plan to get myself back into photography is try some photo challenges. I did two last year thanks to the blog FatMumSlim, which posts photo challenges. In previous years the challenges were by month and I did the August and September ones. This year the challenges are by weeks. The best thing about these challenges is how creative you have to be sometimes to get the photo (or how lazy).