A quick addendum to that last post: it was this image that got me thinking more about photography lately and really jazzed up about its storytelling power. Look at it for a moment. Click on it, and read the full caption. It comes from a photo essay titled Jim Comes Home, shot by Todd Heisler when he worked for The Rocky Mountain News.
(The Rocky Mountain News shut down in early 2009, when the newspaper industry seemed to be imploding alongside the banking sector. The industry has since revived a bit, but the News was never resurrected.)
This is just one in a series of photographs Heisler shot that took my breath away. Even now, as I write this post, I have to avoid processing the image to keep writing. It makes me cry. That’s what a photograph is supposed to do.
Heisler took second place in the Pictures of the Year International competition in 2006. It’s no wonder why. I look at these photos and I think about the profession I’ve chosen, the task I’ve been entrusted with, every time I try to tell someone’s story. That’s what he did so eloquently, and it shaped people’s views on events a world away. That’s what reporters, photographers, the media are entrusted to do. When they do it well, like Heisler did, it gives all the rest of us something to aspire to.