Eyewitness

News Photography in Houston opened at the Houston Center for Photography on February 10 and will be on exhibit through March 25. It was curated by Wendy Watriss.
People see news photography every day, but in a rush to read the news, pictures are often taken for granted. In fact, the best news photography often creates the con­text for stories, and good news photographers are always looking for their own stories. On a daily basis, doing this kind of photogra­phy well requires an enormous va­riety of skills. There may be four to six different assignments in a day, and between assignments photographers are expected to go out and find unusual images. On assignment, a photographer may go from photographing children dying in a car accident, to finding ways to show the effects of Mex­ican peso devaluation on the Houston economy, to setting up a studio fashion sequence, to captur­ing the highlights of a political campaign moving through town.

Professional news photographers are expected to move fast and easily from one event to the next, and to respond creatively to a varied series of subjects. They have to know how to work with artificial lights, how to catch unusual moments in fast-moving sports with available lights, and how to make split-second deci­sions about where to place them­selves to get the best shot of a breaking news event. They must be able to capture the essence of a situation quickly and be able to tell the story in a single image, if necessary. As news photography is rarely shown in the setting of an art gallery, this exhibition has been organized to give people a context in which to look at news photography differently and to show people the scope of its in­volvement.

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