Do you still believe that old proverb that one picture is worth a thousand words?
You should. It is true. There is excitement and interest in a photograph. A color news picture on the front page of your Deseret News goes far beyond just words. Photos mirror the action of the world.Photo journalism is a very important part of news gathering. It is a lot more than just snapping pictures. More than keeping up with new technology, which is a job in itself. Photo journalism is capturing a moment of time and bringing it to you in the paper. It is the emotion, action, and response of people in a changing environment. Photo journalists must have alert and creative minds and quick responses. They need to know about people and understand them.
True, electronic technology has moved photo journalism forward in new directions, and very rapidly at that. We should make a new proverb that says, "100,000 numbers is worth one picture." That is because photographs are now transformed into numbers - a specific number for every tone. By the use of a computerized scanner the photograph can be digitized, or put into number form, and then sent by satellite to a distant receiver, and a picture equal to the original quality can be reconstructed.
The stage is set, and electronic cameras are in the wings ready to get in the act. In the future, photographs will be taken electronically without the use of film, transmitted through the airwaves, and delivered to your home in the splendor of full color in just moments.
Today, news photographers do not have to make photographic prints using chemicals in a darkroom. Recently, the Associated Press introduced the AP Leafax 35, a miniature electronic darkroom, that will convert and transmit black and white or color film to prints ready for printing. Pictures of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting in Moscow were transmitted quickly for use in newspapers in the United States and around the world. Oh, the machine weighs 30 pounds and fits under the seat of an airplane.
Though the electronic camera is down the road a bit, the press cameras of today do boast such automatic features as exposure, focus, film advance, with interchangeable zoom lenses, and a built-in computer program. That is a far cry from the bulky press camera that required a box of film holders and a bag of flash bulbs to do the job. But that was 40 years ago when I first enjoyed the excitement of being a press cameraman for the Deseret News.
The strides that have been made in photo journalism are amazing, and to your benefit. You enjoy the results of talented and highly skilled photo journalists as you see the pictures that appear in the Deseret News. They are trained to gather news, to see the unusual, to catch the moment of time that is important and bring it to you.
As a photographer, I was often amused when someone at a news scene would come to me and ask, "Is that all you do - take pictures?"
"Yes," I would say, "that's all I do," and then curving my index finger in a camera snapping motion, I would smile and explain, "That's all there is to it."
That was sarcastic. I'm sorry, but there is a great deal to being a news photographer, and there never seems to be time to explain it. Perhaps I should say there aren't words to explain, so please look at the pictures.