Photojournalism is supposed to tell a story, which I attempted to do here when I entered this photo into the photojournalism category of my camera club’s monthly photo contest. I was excited about the possibilities of this photo, thinking it captured a touching moment between a father and son–a role reversal where the son seemed to be offering advice, encouragement and support to his father.
The comments I received on the photo taught me a couple of valuable lessons. First, if the viewer of the photo wasn’t present when the photo was taken (or even if they were for that matter), the viewer may interpret the scene differently from the photographer. I guess that’s a nice way of saying, “The viewer may not have the same emotional attachment to the subject”. Duh. The main subjects of this photo are my son and grandson, and only a very few people will truly understand this photo. But that’s okay, the point is that every scene will be interpreted differently and some will like it better than others.
Secondly, being more objective about the photo, the story could be told better with a different shooting angle. The shot can be improved considerably if I had taken about two steps to my left so the person in the background attempting to putt the ball was visible. An excellent point! Had I done that, the story would be more complete by showing the other father-son pair putting while the father-son pair in the foreground looked on, waiting for their turn.
As I analyze this photo and the critiques received, I better understand what I love about photojournalism. Its the challenge of capturing the “moment” without any warning or prep time to get the lighting, exposure and composition just right, no practice shots, no do-overs. There’s a lot of shoulda-woulda-coulda when you view photojournalism photos, but you only get one shot and you have to make the best of what you have to work with. That’s quite a challenge, and I love it.
I’m thankful for digital cameras. I could never afford to attempt photojournalism with film, I’d be bankrupt. With digital technology I can take a thousand shots, hoping to catch the “moment” and throw the other 999 photos away. Quite often I throw away all of them. No charge, nothing hurt, just move on and try again. I also appreciate the feedback I get from the camera club photo contests, and anyone else that sends me comments on my blog; it really helps me see things from a broader perspective.
Thought for the day: Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy and not be good at. Jimmy Demaret