Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2012/06/09

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Subject: [Leica] How about this one?
From: tedgrant at (tedgrant at
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2012 12:48:37 -0700
References: <>

Phil Swango ASKED:
Subject: [Leica] How about this one?

> Ted Grant wrote:
>>My job was to cover the event! Not make a journalistic statement or 
> justification one way or the other!
> I agree that that's the ideal posture from a news perspective, but I 
> wonder
> how easy it is to keep your emotions and your seeing separate.  Here's a
> book that explores the question. I haven't read it yet but Errol Morris is
> a respected documentary filmmaker so I expect he's thought quite a bit
> about this.<<<<<<<

Hi Phil,
Actually for me and I suppose 62 years of published assignments, books and 
lectures illustrating how and why not to be one side or the other allows me 
to shoot what others see as cold and heartless? My assignment is covering 
the event....... not who is right or wrong! As a documentary photographer 
you shoot what you see and what motivates, not which side is right or wrong. 
You cover it all simply because you are a story teller with your cameras 
regardless of subject! Right or wrong!

I suppose there are a great number of people who wouldn't agree with this, 
but that's quite simple really. They are not story tellers with the camera 
and recoding life as it's happening. That doesn't mean photojournalists are 
cold hearted don't care folks.

People who know me personally, know I'm without question, quite as I refer 
to myself..... "An emotional jerk!"  I have photographed nearly 200 child 
birthings and I can honestly say I have shed a tear at each one simply 
because one minute there is a humpy bump and next thing it's a little brand 
new human being sometimes howling it's head off!

At the Olympics, Canada wins a Gold Medal and I'm trying to photograph the 
athlete with medal about their neck as our national anthem is played and 
manual focus a 400mm 2.8 and doing that through tears running down my 

However covering riots, war or major demonstrations it's a whole different 
ball game! You are shooting everything good, bad or ugly being done by 
either side simply because that's the assignment. Not that one side is right 
or wrong!


If one is a true recorder of life? IE: "A photojournalist/documentary 
photographer"  you shoot every motivating bit of what's happening before you 
without feeling. Yep a tough call at times, but the "in their hearts, souls 
and mind" people who claim to be "photojournalists" and have shot real life 
horrors of day to day living without direction or a bias attitude one side 
or the other, do it as a job. As tough or easy as that can be at times.

But I can say wihthout reservation.......... the emotions can kick in later 
when we least expect them depending on what we've just gone through as a 
photojournalist/documentary shooter.

Dr. ted

Replies: Reply from richard at (Richard Man) ([Leica] How about this one?)
In reply to: Message from pswango at (Phil Swango) ([Leica] How about this one?)