Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Sun photogs

TSF received several comments about the loss of promising young Sun Media photographers, including a one-liner about Ottawa Sun management.

Another reader, a former Sun photographer who has been there, done that, offered a more detailed account of conditions at Sun newspapers that contribute to the loss of promising young award-winners like Blair Gable at the Ottawa Sun and Darryl Dyck at the Edmonton Sun.

"There have been a lot of young shooters leaving the Sun in the past five months . . . and there are a number of reasons for this," says the reader.

"Lack of resources.

"Sun media shooters (need) to beg to buy a camera bag to carry gear or other pieces of small equipment. There is a lot of stuff (not) supplied in most shops that is essential to making award winning images or functioning on a day-to-day basis.

"The majority of Sun Media photogs are using some piece of their own gear to make images for the paper, risking wearing out or breaking the piece of equipment for no reimbursement from Sun Media.

"Cheesy photos.

"A lot of photographers, not all, but a lot, inside Sun Media do not agree with the Sun's style of photography. The set-up shots make us look and feel ridiculous, painting the shooters in a bad light with photographers from other papers who have ethical issues with what Sun Media photogs do on a regular basis.

"New multimedia approach of Sun Media.

"Sun Media photogs going shoulder to shoulder with TV crews, while still trying to compete with the still shooters at certain events. It is impossible, and I have tried, to do both video and still at the same time without suffering a loss of quality, in one or both mediums. It also ads twice as much gear to carry to these assignments, which most are not worth shooting video at anyways.

"If video is so important, put the resources into it instead of overworking the photogs. It is good that they hired editors to cut up the video, but it is still a lot of extra work for the photo staff.

"Overtime and lower pay scales also help the negative attitude of Sun Media photographers in newsrooms.

"Right now, photojournalism has the old school guys and the younger new school shooters. The style from both of these groups is drastically different. And the style with the new school shooters doesn't always match up with the Sun style.

"That is why you see them leaving and other photogs laughing at Sun shooters as they run around with video cameras and still cameras, getting people to do ridiculous stuff instead of waiting for an actual moment to happen."

Thank you for the e-mails.

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