In previous entries I talked about some of my favorite portraits and some of my favorite travel images. Initially I wanted to cull them down to five top all-time images, but found I was unable because so many of my favorite images presented themselves for my consideration. Compared to that, this project is much more difficult: reducing my entire career in photojournalism to just a few dozen images.
When I started working on this post, I culled a number of images from over the years and put them in a folder called “Best of PJ.” When I opened the folder I found 128 images in it, so I made a folder called “Best of best of PJ,” and moved what seemed like my best images to it. I somehow managed to get that folder down to just 40 images. Most of them are from my time at The Ada News and Ada Magazine, since most of my career has been here. Many of the images in this entry won awards from organizations like the Associated Press and the Oklahoma Press Association.
The Oklahoma Daily and The Sooner Yearbook, Norman, Oklahoma, 1983-1985
When I was with Oklahoma University Student Publications, I focused more attention on the yearbook, since I believed, correctly so, that the quality of reproduction of my images in the yearbook would be higher. As the years passed at OU, however, I saw more opportunity to get into print from the daily. Once when I was in college, I was in Tulsa to see a couple of friends and I had a few extra minutes. I had some images with me, so I decided to run them past an editor at the Tulsa World. Not only was he impressed, he kept asking me, “You’re a student?” I have to admit, that was pretty flattering.
The Shawnee News-Star, Shawnee, Oklahoma, 1985-1988
An Associated Press photographer for whom I had been freelancing called me one morning in the fall of 1985 and said, “Get your butt over to the Shawnee paper and get that job,” and hung up. I started on the evening shift at the News-Star in November of 1985, where I was partnered with day-shift photographer Ed Blochowiak.
The Daily Times, Ottawa, Illinois, 1988
I was only in Illinois for a short time, but I was paired with a talented young photographer named Harold Krewer, and Harold and I often challenged each other to various “shoot-outs.” Harold is no longer in the news business, as last I heard he was following his dream of being curator at a railroad museum.
Ada Evening News, The Ada News, Ada Magazine, Ada, Oklahoma, 1988 to Present
In October of 1988 I returned to Oklahoma to work at my current newspaper, the Ada Evening News, which has since become The Ada News. Since I am the sole photographer, by default I am the Chief Photographer. A few of the significant milestones at our newspaper include the ability to produce our own color separations in 1991, our first use of digital imaging using a film scanner in 1998, and my first digital camera in 2001. In 2007 we started Ada Magazine, and I was named its editor.
Without a doubt I have omitted many great images, but hopefully these represent the character of my work. My photojournalism is a work in progress, so I intend to create a post similar to this at the end of 2012, and annually after that.
You can see a much larger collection of my photojournalism here.