Husband of the Year
I got lucky and won an award for the second time at work recently — TheBorder Mail‘s Best News Photo. It was a shared win with my good friend Mark Jesser (who’s work you can see here).
Lucky for a few reasons — firstly, all the photographers at the Border Mail are exceptional, Tara Goonan is the 2013 Photographer of the Year, and you can see all our favourite shots for 2013 here.
Tough competition, huh!
I’m also lucky the job sheet for my winning photograph fell into my hands … there’s so many variables that come between photographers and the jobs they’d like to shoot, and very rarely do all the planets align and we get a chance to shoot what we’re passionate about.
(It’s an old unwritten newspaper rule that nobody gets to pick what they shoot … sometimes you may be able to volunteer yourself to something, but, for better or worse, photographers aren’t allowed regular rounds or beats like reporters are.)
I love people stories. So when I heard there was a really sweet story about a man’s appeal for a lost wedding ring, I crossed my fingers and hoped I’d get the job.
I wanted to help him get his ring back, because I reckoned he was probably the greatest husband ever. He’d lost his wedding ring. The greatest physical link to his late wife. And he was inconsolable.
What a legend. That’s the kind of husband I hope I’ll be.
Making the picture was simple. As he sat in his chair I noticed his lamp was on. I angled it quickly to light his face, the sat cross-legged on his living room floor. Turned the ISO up on my camera to 6400 (maybe higher), set a shutter speed of about 1/200th and spun the aperture dial until the exposure looked right on the LCD. Set my camera’s drive to SILENT so it’s clicking wouldn’t interrupt the interview with the reporter and waited.
These interviews are always tough to be a part of. Tough especially on the subjects, and also hard on reporters and photographers. But — they are necessary.
And if you’re ever in the privileged position to photograph a person when they’ve opened up truly and are vulnerable in front of you, you owe it to that person to take the picture.
It’s hard. You’ll want to cry too, but you gotta press that button, for their story’s sake.
A few days after this picture was published, a lady who read the article had found the ring and returned it.
I’d like to think I helped with that.
A few months later, we heard the man died peacefully, with the ring on a chain around his neck.
Like I said, World’s Greatest Husband.
Was a pleasure to photograph you, Sir.
(Note: I’m moving some content across from my Wordpress. Apologies for spamming old posts.)