Archive for the ‘Photojournalism ethics’ Category

Lobo Journalism Bootcamp

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Kate Nash and Jim Montobano20130128-082743.jpgMark Holm20130128-082800.jpg

I had  a great time speaking on a panel about cooperation in the newsroom with Mark Holm, Kelly Brewer and Jakob Schiller last weekend as part of the Daily Lobo Bootcamp. Working with students is really rewarding. We didn’t have much time, there’s a lot to learn but at moments you feel like you can almost see the light bulbs on top the students heads going off when you make certain points. They have a lot of bad ideas about what newspapers are and how newspaper journalism should look. It’s can be a lot of work but I’m only here because of the kindness and generosity of numerous other photographers and journalist who shared their vast knowledge with me. But the truth is I think we speakers get as much inspiration from them as they get from us.

Mark, Kelly Jakob & I all worked together at the Albuquerque Tribune. Myself and many other people who knew of The Trib often speak of it is a magic place for photography, but it wasn’t just that the photography was making magic. Every year our goal was one particular award, Best Use of Photography from Pictures of the Year International. Here’s why. From the POYi site:

“Photo editing should demonstrate sensitivity for the selection and organization of documentary photojournalism and the appropriate use of photo illustrations. Page design should reflect consideration for the reader and respect for the vision of the photographer. Judges will consider the effectiveness of the captions, headlines and other display typography as well as photo content. Aggressive local coverage and imaginative editing of wire and syndicated photos are important. Layout of inside pages and section fronts will be evaluated.”

The communication and teamwork at the Tribune or what made the photography great. The Best Use award was presented to the photo staff, but really it was an award for the entire paper. Journalists were treated as equals regardless of what media they used to tell people’s stories, and man did we tell some stories well. The design and copy desks were the real unsung heroes, bringing it all together and making all of us look a whole lot smarter. Given how poorly most newspapers treat their design and copy editors these days, it is no surprise that the students aren’t familiar with good newspaper journalism, it’s harder to find than just a few years ago. I just hope that some of the good work the Tribune did can inspire the students to go further, do and be better. I know it did for me.

Instagram portrait for AARP


Recently I had my first assignment for AARP Bulletin, a publication I really respect because they have been working with some wonderful photographers and producing interesting and innovative journalism under the thoughtful direction of picture editor Michael Wichita. For this particular shoot, AARP was having one photographer in each state make a portrait of a subject and then ask them a few questions about the economy. The catch was it had to be done with my phone and processed using Instagram. Like I said, interesting and innovative. I was cool to be included along with a number of my photo friends and acquaintances, but I think my favorite photo from the series (so far) was composed by Ian C. Bates, a student at Ohio University. I can’t get a direct link to that picture, so you’ll just have to follow the whole project on Twitter  or on Instagram.

Finally, big thanks to my subject Daniel Espalin for taking the time to talk with me and allowing me to photograph him as a winter storm rolled into town.


For the New York Times

During a break in filming, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige poses for a portrait on the set of the upcoming movie "The Avengers" in Albuquerque NM on Thursday, July 14, 2011. (Steven St. John)

My first assignment for the New York Times was this portrait of Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios. He is perhaps the most powerful comic-book geek in the movie business today. I always want to make great pictures, regardless of how big or small the publication or story. My hands were tied a bit on this one, as everything on set of The Avengers is top secret, so I can’t tell you about the big movie stars I met or how the movie ends. While I do like this picture, it was a bit frustrating because there were so many amazing places around the sets that would have been great if we could have gotten clearance to make a picture around it. All that is just to say, I want to get another chance to shoot for The Times and show them what I can do if I’m allowed to sink my teeth into an assignment. Thanks to Robert for getting the screen photo when the picture was on the Times home page in the early hours.