DO WE NEED PHOTOJOURNALISTS?

Jerry Burnes, news editor of the Williston (N.D.) Herald, said, “Without the heart of a photojournalist, a camera is just a camera.  A picture is just a picture.  A newspaper is just a publication without its heart and soul.”

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John H. White~ Photojournalist

"Newspapers may come and go, but great storytellers will be with us forever" Karen Pulfer Focht

Berto Guerrero and his baby Massi were strolling in the west loop last Saturday. John H. White and I were heading to get breakfast and catch up. John H. White is my hero, dearest friend and mentor.  He is the kind of person that is a blessing to everyone he meets.

White is a Pulitzer Prize winner who worked for the Chicago Sun Times before they decided to lay off their entire staff. Even though White is retired, he still carries his camera everywhere he goes; he still has the rookie spirit with a pro's eye and a passion for visual storytelling.  

Guerrero happened to catch John's eye. It was the way he lovingly carried his baby while multitasking, carrying his dry cleaning and drinking his coffee. White stopped to take his picture. As the two started to talk White determined that he and this baby shared the same birthday. Coincidence? White told the baby's father that he would send him a photo of the sunrise from the day the baby was born.  It is Whites habit to start each day on the lake as the sunrises over lake Michigan and meditate.

Guerrero mused of how much love he felt for his new little baby. We stood outside of the Oprah Winfrey Harpo Studios and exchanged some pleasantries. We smiled together all feeling blessed by our chance encounter. I told Guerrero it was his lucky day and that he had no idea how special the man is who just took his picture.

 White said as we walked away "there are some pictures we take and there are some pictures that say take me" Always the teacher he then added "there are visual treasures out there for those who see them and those who are alert to them."  

"Be blessed,” he said to Guerrero as we walked away. White who is a minister’s son, in many ways is unaware of what a blessing he is to everyone he encounters, whether he takes their picture or not.

 

Everyone has a story.

As a photojournalist, I am a storyteller that happens to use a camera. I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, every day. 

Some days I can't believe they pay me. Other days they can't pay me enough. 

But I have been given a front row seat to life, in all of its glory and in all of its pain. 

I've been to the White House, and some crack houses too. I have covered the rich and famous and I have covered the poor and hungry.

Everyone has a story.

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