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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk 
Thread started 19 Jun 2011 (Sunday) 18:55
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What do I have to do to become a war/news photographer?

 
The ­ Framed ­ Life
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Jun 19, 2011 18:55 |  #1
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Since I was little I was always fascinated with the pictures in magazines like national geographic with pictures of war, conflict, culture, and news from all over the world, and I've always wondered what one would have to do to become one of those people taking them. I'm 18 now, and have spent the last year really focusing my education on photography, and building a small gear collection, and making some money from photography. I originally wanted to pursue sport photography, but the adventure and surrealism that I see in news photography keeps drawing me in, and I want to take a go at it, but what do I have to do?

I watched the movie "War Photographer" from 2001 with the photographer James Nachtwey and he said when he was ready to take a shot at it he moved to NYC, is that the best way to go about it? I've lived in Saskatchewan, Canada all my life, and from what I can tell, this is about the worst place to live for anyone looking for an exciting and adventurous career, so I'm definitely willing and wanting to leave, but I can't help thinking there's more to it than walking into some big print media HQ and asking for a job. Do I have to know people, do I have to go out and travel and shoot some of my own photos without any media pass to build a portfolio? Does anyone have any experience with it?


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Jun 19, 2011 19:11 |  #2

Sub'd. No idea how you would get started, but my guess would be that you would have to get your feet wet with some local photojournalism first at least. And 18 is pretty young at that.

If you want to get into a war zone (even to take pictures), the easiest way would probably be by joining the army.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:18 |  #3
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If I join the army I can't get close enough to the action from both sides.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:23 |  #4

The Framed Life wrote in post #12622026 (external link)
If I join the army I can't get close enough to the action from both sides.

...if you join the army you won't be close enough to the action (involving both sides)?

Serious question: do you understand how dangerous a profession being a war photojournalist is?


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Jun 19, 2011 19:27 |  #5
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That's what I said, and yes, I realize how dangerous it is. The true fact of the matter is joining the army won't get me in a position to shoot the true story and show both sides of the conflict with my camera, that's just not how military works, maybe in WWII it would have been an option.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:29 |  #6

You just missed the Vancouver riots...that would have been a start ;)


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Jun 19, 2011 19:34 |  #7
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that was actually the first thing I thought about when I saw it on the news.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:36 |  #8

Get yourself into a respected journalism program and squeeze their resources for all they're worth in terms of contacts, alumni, internships, etc...


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Jun 19, 2011 19:36 |  #9

The Framed Life wrote in post #12622079 (external link)
That's what I said, and yes, I realize how dangerous it is. The true fact of the matter is joining the army won't get me in a position to shoot the true story and show both sides of the conflict with my camera, that's just not how military works, maybe in WWII it would have been an option.

The military offers positions for photographers.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:37 |  #10
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Staszek wrote in post #12622148 (external link)
The military offers positions for photographers.

For them, yes, but I'd prefer to shoot for a magazine to show an unbiased view of both sides and be able to show the effects on anyone.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:49 |  #11

Think about the army position though - you don't have expenses, you get a pension, and you have people backing you up when the situation gets nasty (e.g. Tim Hetherington...god bless him for what he did but what a risky move, and I'm sure the outcome would have been different had he been with a NATO team).

Are you willing to risk your own life to cover an event like this? I personally would not be - and one side has plenty of material to keep you busy for your career, too.

Even if not a designated photographer, I'm sure there are ample opportunities for bringing a camera along when working in the armed forces to document.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:54 |  #12
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I'd really rather do it outside the military, personal preference, I was in army cadets as a 12-14 year old and it's a lot of stuff I don't want to do just to take a camera to a war zone, and even then there's no guarantee I'll be deployed for a long while, and once I am there won't be much time to go out with camera.

And again, yes, I understand the risk.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:55 |  #13

The Framed Life wrote in post #12622149 (external link)
For them, yes, but I'd prefer to shoot for a magazine to show an unbiased view of both sides and be able to show the effects on anyone.

The Army will give you discipline, experience, contacts, exposure and protection.

Do that, then strike out to tell both sides.

And while you are in, learn a new language.


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Jun 19, 2011 19:58 |  #14
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I don't want to join the army..already said this.


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Jun 19, 2011 20:02 |  #15

The Framed Life wrote in post #12622149 (external link)
For them, yes, but I'd prefer to shoot for a magazine to show an unbiased view of both sides and be able to show the effects on anyone.

There is no such thing.

Each person always brings their own bias to the table....


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What do I have to do to become a war/news photographer?
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