Here’s to you, grim-faced photojournalist who waited just long enough to make sure 20-year-old me learned an important lesson, before saving me from the consequences of my own poor planning. Every day on the job, I’m trying to pay it forward.
In 1989, I was an intern in a crowd of media professionals covering an education summit hosted by President George H.W. Bush at the University of Virginia.
With my tripod and a zoom lens, I had snapped so many photos of the preliminary speakers (which included, if I recall correctly, the president of the university; a celebrity politics professor whose face I would regularly see on national news shows; the state governor; and a black-haired before-he-was-president Bill Clinton, who made very little impression on me at the time) that by the time Bush started speaking, I was out of film.
Today’s digital photographers can of course make more room by deleting older photos, but in those analog days, if you were out of film, you were out of luck.
One of the professional photographers, wearing the credentials of a prominent national news organization, must have observed my frantic pocket-patting. Shaking his head at me in a mild rebuke, he reached slowly into his vest and very dramatically offered me a spare roll.
I got my shots.
I don’t think my editor actually published any of my photos — I was not the designated photographer. But the photos are in my college photo album.
(The attached photo is from the National Archives… I can’t be bothered at the moment to find and scan in one of my own photos.)
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