Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Blogger: Assistant Director of Photography at the Dallas Morning News, Irwin Thompson

Irwin Thompson is the Assistant Director of Photograhpy at the Dallas Morning News. Here's what he shared with us:

"I graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1984 and worked with the Monroe News Star World for two years and three years with the New Orleans Times-Picayune. I have been with the Dallas Morning News for 19 years - three years as the Assistant Director of Photography.

With the recent downturn in the economy, I think the biggest challenge in the newspaper business has to be what to do with online content. It's difficult to compete and sell your product when you're giving away the content for free, as most media organizations do on the web. I think when the economy starts bouncing back, hopefully, we can find a way to charge something for the content.

The biggest mistake I see in photographers is attitude. Attitude is everything and it shows in everything you do in life. Before you can take a great picture, you have to believe you can take a great picture. Nothing comes easily in life or photography; you have to work for what you want.
You're not owed anything, you have to put in your time and the more you shoot the better you with get. It's ok to make mistakes, but learn for your mistakes and build on them, and you will improve your shooting. If you think you can or can''re right!

Learn everything you can, listen, ask questions and never ever give up. It's going to get tougher and tougher to get a job in the newspaper industry, but learn to shoot pictures and video, build slideshows, edit video and do audio slideshows and multimedia. The more you know, the better your chances are of getting hired. Don't be afraid to work long hours and do whatever it takes to get the job done. You have to love journalism to work in this field. Where else you get a chance to live the news?"

For fun, we submitted two images (below) from Ai Dallas student, Christian Fries, as if they were submitted for publication. Irwin put on his "photo editor hat" and gave the following critiques:

"I love the light on the metal worker, but the only way I knew he was a metal worker, was by the slug. Very nice composition, and portrait. I love the rule of thirds here, but I need to see more of his environment. I want to know what he does without reading it. I need to see more separation on the cap and background. Overall nice effort."

"A simple black and white portrait. Everything is great here...except the cropping. I think we can crop down from the top to the black line on the wall and up to the belt on the bottom. It just cleans up the picture and takes you to the center, and it reads quicker. Again, love the rule of thirds."

Finally, Irwin sent us one of his own images, which we found to be pretty powerful:

(photo credit: Irwin Thompson)

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