A few weeks ago, I was at Kent State participating as a panelist for the Media Ethics Workshop they do in combination with the Poynter Institute.
Dave LaBelle is a professor at KSU and a longtime friend. We left his office in the journalism school and started up the stairs. I saw the light, borrowed his camera to make a handful of frames of him before giving his camera back.
Dave’s wife, Erin, posted it to Facebook and Don Winslow saw it. An hour later it was on the cover of News Photographer Magazine.
I’ve been an NPPA member since college, and one of the major draws is that incredible magazine.
LaBelle has been a hero of mine since I was a student at the University of Kansas and heard him speak.
One of the first times I thought about the power of photojournalism was reading The Kent State report by James Michener, where he wrote about the Pulitzer Prize winning image taken with a borrowed camera, by a 20-year-old journalism student named John Paul Filo just steps from the Kent State journalism school.
As I did with LaBelle, I met Filo when I was a student at KU. John was working for the AP in Kansas City. He was later one of my editors at SI. We’ve been friends for many years.
This was a nice tidy circle. I made a picture of a friend, in a place that started my photographic recognition — although I didn’t really understand that at the time — and another friend saw it and put it on the cover of a publication that has been integral to my understanding of my profession.