Gems from the darkroom: Photojournalists practice visual editing
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Steamboat Pilot and Today’s reporting team is blessed with some exceptionally gifted photojournalists.
John Russell, sports editor Joel Reichenberger, Matt Stensland and city beat reporter Scott Franz, have all won recognition for their imagery.
Russell has a keen eye for what we call “grab shots,” or “wild shots.” If the editor sends him out to find an image that isn’t connected to a news story, he often comes back with a compelling wildlife shot.
Stensland has undergone training to allow him to get within shooting distance of wildfires and comes back from the forest with frames of orange flames.
Franz, who is leaving the newspaper this week to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, will be missed for his eye for landscapes. We can’t wait to see what he posts to Facebook over the coming six months.
Photography has been a big part of my own career at the newspaper. The images I value most came from outdoor adventures; cattle branding, wild horse roundups, wilderness backpacks, and river trips.
Earlier staff photographers like Ross Dolan and Kevin Dougherty have also produced exceptional work for the newspaper. Dolan mentored me both in making portraits, and developing black and white film. Dougherty pursued action ski images with a passion.
All of us have been fortunate to work for a newspaper that didn’t just allow, but required reporters to improve their photography skills.
Photography, whether the subject is wildlife, fashion, sports action, architecture or human interest, is always an art form. I’ve always thought of photojournalism as a visual form of editing. The photographer decides what to include, and what to edit out of the rectangular frame.
At the Steamboat Pilot and Today, much of our best work has supported the content of a story whether it be hard news or a feature, by providing our readers an emotional connection to the text of the story.
With the approach of May 2018, the staff of the Steamboat Pilot and Today is extra busy sorting through almost 20 years of accumulated files, magazines, books and the good luck charms we keep on our desks. It’s also preparation for moving the newspaper offices, in early June to the former Yampa Valley Eelctric Building on Tenth Street in downtown Steamboat.
We’re also sorting through our archive of black and white prints, produced before the change to digital came about in 2000.
Stored in a dozen over-sized file cabinets packed with manila folders that are labeled by subject matter, are hundreds and hundreds of photographs. The majority of the images are mundane. Some are simple portraits of long-gone Routt County residents both well-known and others relatively anonymous, though no less significant.
There are some photographs that are special to me because when rediscovered, they take me back to forgotten sporting events, outdoor adventures and so many of the people across the decades who have made Steamboat Springs a special place to live.
We hope you enjoy revisiting some of these “Gems from the Archives” in the Sunday, April 29th and May 6 newspapers (and of course, in digital form, at SteamboatToday.com).
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1
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