Recommendation and lesson

I try not to use this space to advertise very often, but occasionally I’m moved to recommend something just because it is so good. The Reuters photography blog is one such item.

The blog is two things at once. It is an ongoing lesson in photography that is written, it seems, for people exactly like me: amateurs who are looking to get better, and looking to learn about visual news as much as photography. And it is an ever-evolving story of a life that is as fascinating as I can imagine. The blog’s contributors are people who love to see and convey the world, and who are not interested in or moved by the pretty nearly as much as they are by the profound.

The most recent post, “Death all around,” by Finbarr O’Reilly, is as powerful as any I’ve seen on the blog since I started reading it at the end of the summer. The photos and story come from a Congolese refugee camp. It doesn’t deserve a description, only a recommendation: read it for yourself. But one sentence struck me hard, and is worth pulling out:

There’s no joy getting a good picture from a baby’s funeral.

How much is built into those eleven words? How perfectly does such a short sentence convey the passion of a man’s occupation and the humanity that in this moment overwhelms it? How universal is the sentiment he expresses, even to those who have never worked to get a good picture, or to the millions of us who have so thankfully never had to attend a baby’s funeral.

I hope to one day be able to take pictures like the ones on this blog. I hope to be able to write about my experiences as the photographers do. I read the blog for the artistic lessons it teaches. But, more importantly, I read for its lessons about the life of a photographer: these can be your experiences — if you want them, if you can handle them, if you can capture them.

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