Category: photojournalism

doctor medical professional work portrait
A doctor you can trust

Meet Dr. Ophthalmos. You would trust this guy with your eyes, right? I would. Of course, I know him personally, so that is much less of a problem for me. What I was trying to capture was familiarity, compassion, and professionalism all wrapped into one.

Here was the assignment. The clinic where he will be moving to work after residency asked him for a photo they could put in the paper. It is one of those here-is-the-new-eye-doctor-in-town paper articles, but really it is just free advertising for the clinic and for him in particular. They wanted him with his equipment, something that said ophthalmologist, and they wanted a photo that was inviting.

I would like to say I am some hot-shot photographer that made all this happen in some kind of beautifully historic way, like Yousef Karsh’s iconic photo of Winston Churchill. Alas, my doctor friend made it easy on me.

Katie Armiger reluctantly signs an overzealous youth's bicep.

I was going about my own business, teaching school (music, these days), when I heard about a young singer who was coming to the school to share about her experience in the music industry and, of course, sing a few songs for us. It turned out to be Katie Armiger, an up and coming female vocalist in country music.


I am just now beginning to face the brute reality of setting up as a photographer here in the Temple-Belton-Killeen. When I lived in Asia, I did not really have to advertise that I did weddings: because I was not a local, I did not really have the style the locals like, and among friends and coworkers, those who wanted me knew where to find me. Not so here in the US. I have to make myself known, and figured it was a good time to create my first wedding photography portfolio:

the beauty of a moment - wedding portfolio


It is easy to enjoy photography, but sometimes, it is much less easy to feel like I am serving any higher purpose than just satisfying my own desires. A quasi-family member of mine (back in China, this relative certainly had a title, but “brother’s brother-in-law” is the best I can find in English) will soon be leaving as a photojournalist for a non-profit organization and I wanted to send a note of encouragement.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you develop photographically. You have certainly taken the fast track — you do know that is always the more painful option, right 🙂 — and jumped in with everything you have.

It is easy, as photographers, to doubt the “spirituality” of what we do. Indeed, there is a time to put down the camera and remove the glass barrier between you and the people, but there is so much more to this job, so much that truly is a spiritual sacrifice to the Lord.

Preparing traffic lights for installation.
Preparing traffic lights for installation.

Asia is great for photography, especially photojournalistic photography. You can always find people on the streets and, from a Western perspective, there is always something interesting going on. Having just returned to the United States, I have to adjust to the new situation, adjust to the rhythms and patterns of the American culture, to be able to catch those photos which can portray life and work and reality in the United States.


I have been challenged by War Photographer, a documentary film about the “anti-war” photographer James Nachtwey. As it points out, though he may have started out with at least a partial desire for the travel and adventure, he has become something of an anomaly: he is a quiet and hopeful photographer, who believes his photography can make a difference, even in such overwhelming issues as war, poverty, hunger, and disease.

He says in the film, “We must look at it, we’re required to look at it, we’re required to do what we can. If we don’t, who will?”


I just read an excellent interview with Ami Vitale by The Adventure Life. The interview, thankfully, did not focus on gear or the technical side of photography, but instead gave us a good idea of who Ami Vitale is, how she works, how she survives, and a great feel for how she covers the stories.

Is objectivity an illusion? What does objectivity mean to you? Is it something journalists should strive for? Why or why not?
[Ami Vitale said…] “Yes, I believe objectivity is an illusion but I also believe that there are a multitude of viewpoints and that no one “Truth” exists. I believe that unless we understand and give voice to these perspectives, reason remains veiled. Ignorance in each other’s stories leads us to assume we know them. It allows us to maintain perceptions of differences based on our own preconceived notions.”

Scrap Iron Office
Scrap Iron Office

This week, due to changes in the fire code, I have had to remove the wooden staircase from my coffee house and replace it with something non-flammable in order to obtain my fire permit. So, I have had several visits to this little metal-working store front to order a metal staircase to be made, though “store” is a little misleading. This place is more like a man-made cave connected to the street.

My boy is utterly fascinated with the moon.
My boy is utterly fascinated with the moon.

All day long, though he knows it is rarely visible in the day, my boy is asking about the “mooyn”. Every circle is a moon, not a ball or even a sun…it is a moon. Even my SmugMug camera strap, which features a simple smiley face (two dot eyes and a crescent looking mouth) is a moon and two stars to him.


What is the difference between photojournalism, editorial photography, documentary photography, and telling a “photo story”? Well, I wish I knew. The last one seems to be an attempt to leave the terms behind and go with an obvious meaning which does not need defining. The other three seem to be interchangeable, if not, then quite close to it.

“Photojournalism” is probably the most well know of those terms. We think of news photographers, war photographers, and the like. That one, even if it does have some other definition, already has a practical definition in the minds of common man.