As a photojournalist I’d like every working day to be filled with content-rich, storytelling photographic opportunities.
But, truth be told, that’s just not how it works in the real world of daily newspapering. Especially in small- to mid-sized newspapers.
Some days the best you can do is turn out competent, story-telling photos which reflect the subject. Just doing that counts as a minor victory.
After a couple days of vacation I got back to work and came face-to-face with my workplace reality.
Back-to-back assignments laden with clichéd photo ops. First was a dedication of a new high school followed by a ground breaking ceremony at local vocational training school. Yeah, perhaps not the best “welcome back to work” schedule.
As I predicted both assignments included the usual clichés. There was a ribbon and big scissors at the dedication. But there were also a few balloons released by high school staff and teachers. And in releasing the balloons some teachers cheered. Click. Done. Perhaps not a Pulitizer Prize winner but I avoided the ribbon-cutting shot and brought back a (somewhat) emotional photo which reflected.
Wapato High School teachers (l-r) Devlin Forrester, Kirsten Anderson and Patti Arreola cheer following the release of balloons Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the dedication of the recently completed high school. Construction on the school started in the spring of 2011 following the passage of a $20 million bond, which was matched by $23 million in state money. The new high school, built to house a thousand students, replaces the original school which was built in 1955 and 1958. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic)
Then it was on to the groundbreaking. Again, as I figured, the cliché was there. In this case, gold-painted shovels to be used in the ceremony.
Luckily, three of the school’s trustees took it upon themselves to get the shovels ready for the ceremony which gave me my photo. I shot the cliché groundbreaking photo for the web but the shovel preparation photo was the one that led our local section the next day.
Perry Technical Institute trustees (l-r) Terry Schmalz, Jake Jundt and Curtis King prepare shovels for a groundbreaking at the vocational training school in Yakima, Wash. Oct. 7., 2014. Ground was broken on a 38,000 square-foot building which will house the school’s instrumentation and Industrial Automation Technology programs. The building will be named Plath Hall in honor of the late Fred Plath and his wife Dorothy. Construction of the building will cost $8 million. The new building will be built on the northeast corner of the main campus and will take about a year to complete. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic)
Neither photo is going to win any prizes but they’re way better than the clichéd alternatives. So I’m counting the day as a minor victory.