Yes it is Easter weekend, and yes there are a lot of other things that needed my attention. It still didn’t mean I was willing to actually do them. Instead I plunked myself down and pored through the pages of an autobiography by Jim Lo Scalzo. Don’t know who that is? That’s okay. I wasn’t familiar with him either, until I saw his book praised on a photography web site (Sportsshooter perhaps?) Jim does a good job of painting a vivid image of his 17 years in the business of photojournalism. He reveals a lot about himself and does not hold a lot of things back, including his shortcomings. He explains the trade-offs of the life he chose. The globe-trotting photojournalist always looking for his next fix of adventure, at the expense of his relationship with his wife.
He has a chapter in his book about time he spent here, on the Navajo Nation. He mentions
The images are available in a piece titled Along the Byways of the Navajo Nation, and was published by the
The book title is Evidence of My Existence. He has a web page dedicated to the book posted through the US News and World Report web site.
Here is a quote from his book –
Photojournalism is accessible; it is about the world, for the world. And its players take more risks, endure more hardships, witness more misery in order to practice their craft than any other artisans I can think of. When they make a picture, they are not imagining a scene but standing right before it. The crackheads and Russian whores and people dead or dying all an arm’s reach away. (pg 71)
In the end Lo Scalzo deems his wife, his newborn child, to deserve a priority in his life. He has an epiphany in
When I used to hear of severe wrecks or fires or other spot news I was excited about the chance to make some powerful images. Now when I hear such thins over the police and fire radios I cringe and try to prepare myself for seeing somebody’s life drastically, even tragically, altered. Yes, I still am excited about making images, but not for the same reasons. Even though the image may come out the same, the thoughts and feelings I have making the images has changed. I don’t show up at most of these things wondering what I can take away from the scene that will make me look better as a photographer. I come away from these scenes, most times, wondering if the readers will understand why they should care about what has happened.
So many times I have met young photojournalists that are all about their egos, about their work. They want the accolades and the bragging rights. Somehow they have managed to enter the profession with the idea that they can be cool and artistic; or else they have lost sight of things along the way IT IS NOT ABOUT US! It is not about the ability to show up full of ourselves and look down on people that are not as talented as we are. Photojournalism is an obligation to give people a voice that they otherwise would not have, and to let that voice speak, not be tramped upon by our enormous egos. Realizing that I am not, and likely will never be, this great photojournalist is not a bad thing for me. It means I can sit back and look at what my subjects have to say, and then use my skills to try and focus that voice into a visual that the readers will understand.