It was Columbia, South Carolina in September of 1993, and I was at Farm Aid. Standing in the photo pit with my friend Ebet Roberts. We were the two official Farm Aid photographers (as we still are today), and the show was about halfway over. I heard someone behind me saying, “look at those two people with the old tiny cameras- I wonder how they got in here.”

I looked around and realized that most people in the pit had new, big shiny cameras and fantastic lenses. I smiled at the person and asked who he was shooting for. He named some small publication on the east coast. Jump forward to 2013 in Satatoga Springs New York, and Ebet and I are still the Farm Aid photographers. Wonder what happened to the guy with the shiny new camera!

That brings me to an article in Digital Photo Pro Magazine this month where the writer suggests that :

Everyone has a story about showing a favorite photo and being asked “What kind of camera did you use?” The leap of logic is that the photographer didn’t take the picture, the camera did.

He concludes that knowing how to use the camera, whether it is a modern DSLR or an iPhone is a step to being a photographer. It’s not the end of the journey.


Which brings me to this headline in the latest edition of Chicago Magazine:

Sun-Times Chairman Would Have Fired The Photographers Sooner

From the Chicagoist:

Chicago Sun-Times chairman Michael Ferro gave his first public interview to Chicago magazine since he bought the newspaper, and the portrait reporter Bryan Smith paints of Ferro is a complex one.

In what will become another PR fiasco, Ferro was asked about the Sun-Times’ decision to fire its photography staff in May. Ferro defended the decision, as expected, but not in the most tactful manner.

“I am very sympathetic toward [the photographers]. If I were in their shoes, I would feel bad too. It would be like you’re a carriage driver and the cars come and you’re really upset that you can’t have your buggy whip and hit your horse anymore.”

In fact, Ferro says, the photographers should have been let go sooner. “I knew the photographers would be going from the day we took this paper over. We took a year and a half too long to do it. … I can tell you 100 percent before we bought this we had that cutlass ready.”

Guess I had better get my horse and buggy reved up! Gotta buy some hay for the horses to eat!

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One Response to Equipment

  1. barbara nellis says:

    I’ve been a magazine editor for over 40 years, 33 of them at Playboy. Without photography, newspapers and magazines would have no certain way to draw a reader into a story–except–maybe–a perfect headline. The thing most wrong with the new world order of technology replacing print is the ‘anyone can do it’ model. And also that they will do it for little or no money because they are just so thrilled to be published. Think about anything from war photography to the March on Washington to the Apollo landings to Woodstock to …keep going..who would have 1) gone to the story or 2) stayed with the story, without photos? With the demise of professional photography comes a lack of respect for what we all got from it. Pretty sad.

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