Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Photojournalism: The Ups and Downs

It starts off with the fun part, going somewhere and taking pictures. That's the only thing about doing the Photojournalism job I really enjoy. A big upper, for me.

I'm throwing this wagon wheel photo in here because it's part of the ups and downs of photojournalism, too.

You go round and round in this business while you're having those ups and downs. And every once in awhile you get smacked, right on the head with one of those wooden spokes. It's good. It keeps you on your toes.

Those wagon wheels are on the front of the Gold Hall Cafe, a really cool place to visit, in my hometown.

Well, I shot photos at this place and at two other locations over a period of about a year. All three locations have caves. So, I decided I'd do a cave article.

Then comes the research end of the photojournalism business. If you're going to tell a story with your pictures you want to do it right.

On a blog, you might get away with some mistakes or half-baked truths. I see it everyday and people get away with it, more than likely, because nobody really reads the stuff !

To get my photos and writings published, I try to use what I consider the "Gold Standard". That'd be something you see published in a magazine like National Geographic. They hold the "Gold Standard" as far as I'm concerned. People called fact checkers do stuff, like, check the facts.

You don't ever want to get caught submitting your photojournalistic stuff to some place that has fact checkers who may catch you telling a lie. Lie on your own blog, if you want to, it's one of your options. Freedom of speech, I guess you could call it.

After I get my photos ready and do all the research the really hard part of the job comes next.
That would be the writing and the typing, the part of photojournalism I do worst. But, I do the best I can at it. I type with one finger, one from each hand if I'm in a hurry and not smoking or drinking coffee. So, usually, any mistakes I make typing aren't from typing too fast. Most times I catch a typo and backspace before the digital ink dries. Sometimes the Spell Check Dude catches my mistakes. Other times I ignore him because he doesn't understand half the language I use anyway.

This Cave Article, I was submitting to CNNGO. They have published my photos and writing before. I know, they use the "Gold Standard" and they fact check and all. You know who owns CNN?  Ted Turner owns the whole operation.  So, I wanted to make sure I give them nothing but the truth. You don't want to get caught making mistakes around the Turner Network, for sure.

Now, if he walked in the room right now, I probably wouldn't recognize the guy.  But, Tina Turner, I'd know her, anywhere. She could really sing and dance and was pretty shapely for an old lady.
I kinda got the idea for my Laugh and Dance bit from watching her back when they had rental videos. Has anybody seen her lately?  I always thought she was a superstar. Hope she didn't get fat.

OK, back on track, now. Everything was researched, typed, photos processed and the editor at CNNGO says "It a go".

I got a deadline. I'm feeling an up coming on. It's a great feeling. This photojournalism isn't so bad once you start seeing the hard work all coming together and getting published.

After you submit everything, though, you have to be patient. You will wait awhile before it's time to celebrate.  Fact checkers are going to check the facts, editors may want to edit and there might even be a whole pile of more important stuff that has to get published before yours does. You wait.

Today my wait was over. My Okinawa Caves Story hit print at CNNGO.  That's the big "UP" and you just can't beat it.  There's no better feeling a Photojournalist can get.  WU HU HU !

The first thing you do is get a big head.  I run around and tell everybody, "Look it's UP"!
My head was too big. It must have gotten too much air, or oxygen. The wagon wheels were spinning too fast. I was about to get smacked in the head with a wooden spoke.  And I did.

There was a mistake in the publication.  That's a big DOWN.  There was a typo in a contact phone number.  That stupid Spell Check Dude didn't catch it.  I had to contact the editor.  I made the mistake and sent in a bogus phone number.  This could be the end of my photojournalism career.  They could have Tina Turner come over here and dance on my deflated head in her high heels. You can't get much more down than that. That was just minutes after that Big-UP-High !

Well, between contacting the editor, sending emails, internet going up and down right along with my ego and verifying telephone numbers and contact information all day long, it's done. Everything is corrected and even newer links added to the article. Time for me to do some laughing and dancing, again.

Now, I wonder if all photojournalists have ups and downs like I do, or is it just something Irish ?


Unknown said...

Ahhh. To do what you want to do... it's a good life you lead. Having said that, it's hard to get away from those unwanted tasks (all that writing for example, which by the way you do well).

I think living up to a gold standard is always a good thing to do. In your photojournalism, blog, or just plain normal life.

RyukyuMike said...

If it's alright to shorten your name, a bit, thanks.
Don't get me wrong, in my lifetime I've lived some other standards besides gold. From the coal in the stocking standard on up to the diamond in the rough I imagine I've probably shovelled about everything imaginable that needs shoveling along the way.

So, I figure, when it's time to sit down, relax and do some reading, I don't want to have to put up with what someone else is shoveling, unless it's gold, too! LOL