11th Annual Yak Attack

My (Selah) Community Days

I grew up in Selah. It’s the place I learned, returned and now raise a family within. This year, I had the honor of covering my hometown parade. It was an emotional day because it was my last weekend representing the Yakima Herald-Republic as a photojournalist and having my work on parade, literally.

It’s a bit hard to describe, but some photojournalists try to be a fly-on-the-wall, observing and documenting moments to help tell a story while not being noticed. With all the cameras, gear and stuff to help do our visual storytelling — being discrete is challenging, especially at parades.

At parades I gave up on being discrete. I walk up and down the sidewalk, ducking between people, crouching and standing on objects to get a better vantage. It’s hardly fly-on-the-wall.

To get the different angle or better perspective I put myself out into the parade with the goal of visually taking a reader to a place they would not expect when they see my photos.

To get off the wall and out in the action, my camera is oftentimes smashed against my face. It’s a comfortable barrier between me and who I am shooting. Being behind the viewfinder also wipes away the stage fright of being so visible while working.

Which brings me to Saturday. My love of covering Selah days was muted by my roll as a photojournalist all morning — until my family came into frame.

While walking the entire parade route and amidst a middle school band, my family photobombed a series of photos. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I chuckled and smashed my camera harder against my face because I instinctively wanted to hide the tears welling up behind the viewfinder.

Right then, the joy I have of being a journalist was reflected in the faces of my children, wife, parents and grandparents.

– TJ Mullinax




Comments are now closed.