Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Life through Eyes of P-D Photographers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Life through Eyes of P-D Photographers

Article excerpt

SO there we were at some god-forsaken ski resort in Southern Illinois in the dead of winter to do a layout on the dernier cri in ski togs. It was a cold and unforgiving day; snow lay on the ground, but it had a gray, second-hand look to it. The motor that ran the ratty chair lift was being contrary. What more could go wrong?

What more?

Larry Williams, who had brought a Hasselblad camera outfit that practically demanded a trailer of its own, forgot the damn film. Somehow, someway, film was secured, and the pictures - as usual - were good as can be.

Thus a cherished, Kodachromic memory was produced, and there are so many, many more memories, hilarious and poignant, born of experiences with Williams and all the other talented and dedicated photographers of the Post-Dispatch staff.

Another one: Ted Dargan and I we went out to Times Beach in pre-dioxin days to do a story that required our visiting in a depressingly overdecorated salon with a monkey breeder and a bunch of his loose and semi-crazed simians.

Also high on the bizarre scale: Evenings when a half a dozen of us, reporters and photographers, would get ourselves up in white ties and tails or ballgowns to cover the visit of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan and the coronation of his Queen of Love and Beauty.

Debutantes, loose monkeys, broken levees, fashion models, murderers, the rich, the washed-out, the glamorous, the wicked, athletes, jumpers, oil spills, storm damage, fires, deaths, charity balls, New Year's babies, destruction, confrontation, death, absurdity. Photographers for major metropolitan newspapers have seen it all at least twice, once through their viewfinders, once with their minds and very often with their souls.

These journalists who juggle f-stops and shutter speeds and demanding reporters and a world constantly in motion are permitted no specialties. You shoot a luncheon at noon, put your camera into the jaws of life at 12:30, high-tail it back to show what you have in hopes of satisfying some picky editor, then go out to cover the ball game. All in a day's work.

This appreciation of the newspaper photographer is not done only to curry favor with the photo desk. The main reason is that my photographer colleagues here at the paper were asked to organize a show of their work, which went up about a week ago at the Martin Schweig Gallery in the West End.

It is worth your while to go by, not only because it is a satisfying experience altogether but also because, if you have a special interest such as sports or kids or fashion or the weather or far-away places or heads of state, there is something hanging up to satisfy just you.

Sixteen photographers are represented, each by at least a couple of examples of their work. They and work of theirs that appealed particularly to me are:

Odell Mitchell Jr. opens the show with the kind of bang you get on the Fourth of July when night finally falls and the fireworks fight for attention in the sky over the Arch;

J. …

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