Kenneth Jarecke, Contact Press Images
A few days back someone asked if it was really worth trying to be a photojournalists anymore. Which is a far enough question.
Money wise it has never been that good, although never as bad as now.
Ink is drying up pretty fast, yet it is easier to get published (and seen) now than it ever was.
Access? Everybody has access to something. Remember, wherever you are there are a hundred other photographers that would love to be making pictures there.
What else, gear? Yeah, expensive, but getting cheaper and better all the time.
Really, the only stumbling block is the first one, money. That's not going to get fixed overnight, but it will get fixed. So really, if you have the skills and the desire why not?
OK, there's still a couple of other things. When I read a piece like this one
by Alexandra Avakian I have to ask myself if the photojournalists thing is something I'd like my children to pursue.
So now it's personal. Now the question isn't quite so easy to answer.
At the end of the day does it all add up?
I drove about 900 miles this weekend. By the end of the day (if all goes well) I'll have flown about 7000 miles. The weather has been just this side of brutal. The roads, snow-packed and the flights and airports just plain packed. The portrait (on a frozen lake) had to be moved on account of a couple of moose who also liked the spot.
Yet at the end of the day, looking at another six hours of driving, with a good cup of coffee and the iPod pushing out just the right kind of jazz, things feel pretty close to great.
I've got no complaints.
I've learned this craft from the best (I'd give you a list, but it would just sound like bragging).
Of course, the photography part was the least important thing to be learned, but it did allow me to jump into stranger's lives time and again. Which in turn gave me more chances to learn, you know, more important stuff.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no George Bailey
. Given the situation, I'd probably beat Old Man Potter down with his own wheelchair, but I think I might be a better person than I could have been.
I hope anyway.
Why is it that PFJ's think about things like composition when they should be crying, and crying when they should be thinking this is a horribly sappy movie?
As far as my kids go... well, they're already better people than I'll ever be, so maybe the don't need to follow this path.
But if they really wanted to do this thing, I have to say, that would be cool.