I work with a talented group of photojournalist. They are not just photographers. They are visual storytellers. They go out into the world every day not knowing what to expect. They bring back digital cards filled with images from such scenes as car accidents, press conferences, celebrity portraits, gut-wrenching stories that take months to develop, as well as beautiful food and even fashion photography. I noticed lately more than ever I use the title photojournalist over photographer to describe my colleagues because beyond the photography, they go out there every day – communicating, seeking and developing stories. These stories just happen to translate visually.
One photojournalist with whom I get the pleasure to work is Francine Orr. She is a woman full of heart and compassion. I do not like to admit this, but just speaking with her in passing about stories she is exploring has brought me to tears.
She has recently done in-depth stories on autism for which she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and a couple years ago, she followed the journey of baby Dylan. She spent long nights with the family. She has traveled to Africa and many other parts of the world and country to cover the economic divide, poverty and injustices. Her assignments tend to take her to stories that tug at the heart. This is somewhat thematic in her work.
So, awhile back, Francine and I were talking and she seemed to have a heavy burden on her shoulders. We spoke a bit about life in general as friends and with her art background we decided she should take a couple days to look for the beauty in the mundane, to make beautiful photographs of nothing too serious, to just sit, breathe and look out the window. We decided that she should take the Metro Gold Line,which goes through Pasadena, South Pasadena, a sliver of Los Angeles and East Los Angeles and take in the landscape as it passed by her. The gallery here is her perspective as she gazed out the window. The outcome is a lovely visual exploration of riding the train and seeing the world gliding by. Nothing too heavy.
I think it was therapeutic in some ways to look at a slice of the city without having to fully engage emotionally. What photojournalists do is not merely art, but rather it can be creative and artful, informative and storytelling. And without them, most stories would not have nearly the depth, dimension and details.
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Gallery caption: Photography by Francine Orr, created while traveling on the Metro Gold Line.