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NYC Trip Day 3 – Great Captions are more important than Great Photos

Today the class went to visit the Wall Street Journal and AP Headquarters. I was quite impressed with the WSJ and their story about how they went from a word only and the occasional graphic to a full fledged photo newspaper. In fact, their newspaper’s photo department was actually extremely new only having started around 5 years ago. This was encouraging to hear that a news agency had a photo department that only could grow at this point. Maybe I’ll get to work with them sometime in the future as they grow and use more imagery in their publication.

Here we spoke with Jack van Antwerp and he gave us a tour of the WSJ and photo department. The building was quite beautiful and had a great work atmosphere. He said it was a chill but focused work environment which I could both see and feel.

After the little tour we went to the conference room where we were then able to ask questions of him. Here are some things he shared.

– Great captions are more important than great photos.

– WSJ is looking for photos that will make everyone happy, even if it’s simple.

– Be artistic and stylish but deliver what your client needs and understanding what their needs are and what they’re looking for.

– Read the story before you shoot

– Worry about your reputation when you are 30 and 40 now. Do not make the mistake that will ruin your name just because of some stupid ethical decision. Do not cut corners, there is no place for dishonesty.

– ALWAYS be honest.

– Own your mistakes and own your problems.

My impression that in the photojournalism world, photographers that are dishonest don’t make it very far.

We asked him how someone can go about being a freelancer. Jack answered by saying move to a city where there are no photographers and digging in and do what’s expected of you and you will be busy. He said a couple of cities that have a severe lack of photojournalists were Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles.

He suggested as well that we look up Fativa and sign up on even if we’re not “sports photographers.” Mostly because these are sites he goes to when he’s in search of good lcoal photographers.

Later that evening, we went to Clay Patrick McBride‘s studio. This guy is certainly an amazing portrait photographer. His passion is photography within the music industry and he truly is a master of the musicians portrait. He was also just a really good guy with a lot of heart. I definitely recommend you look at his work. This guy is a baller.


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