"If you can't take criticism from one of our own, how are you supposed to act when people are yelling, crying or upset with you while on assignment? Photojournalism isn't for everyone." Chris Stanfield, photographer
This was a comment Chris Stanfield made when on a recent discussion board at sportsshooter.com concerning constructive, or destructive, criticism of a student's photographic work.
I get asked all the time what it's like to photograph some of the most intimate, heart wrenching moments a human being is put through. Well, it's not easy. My heart races, my mouth gets dry, I become profusely apologetic. But I keep on taking those photographs. It's something I feel I was meant to do. It is a very hard job to do sometimes. But it is also rewarding.
In this photograph a mother and daughter are embracing after they lost their barn with several animals in it following a massive grass fire in Ordway, Colorado last year that nearly wiped the town off the map. Several houses and other structures burned to the ground. Two firefighters were killed and many animals perished. It was a brutal assignment but I knew I could do this without hesitation.
After I was done photographing this scene the little girl graciously gave me a piece of Bazooka gum and thanked me for doing my job. I still carry the wrapper in my wallet.
Again, photojournalism isn't for everyone.
But everyone needs photojournalists whether they realize it or not.