Being a full time photo editor, I don't get out much. Though lately, as newspapers continue to reduce their staffing, it seems as though, well, as though I'm getting out of the office again. And it usually comes in the form of a late photo assignment or chasing down a piece of "wild art" to fill a page.
Call it what you like...wild art, standalone, enterprise, or free standing, but most newspaper photographers commonly refer to it wild art. For the "uninitiated," wild art is a "found" photo of a situation, event or moment (not a news photo) driven by it's visual appeal. And most photographers will agree, it's a love-hate relationship.
We hate it because it usually follows into one of the conditions listed below:
- The request comes 15 minutes before your shift ends, and the amount of time required to find wild art is exponentially multiplied by how much time you do not have to find a photo.
- It's 110 degrees outside, and the only people suffering through the heat wave are photographers looking for people suffering through the heat wave.
- It's 0 degrees outside, and the only people suffering through the cold snap are photographers looking for people suffering through the cold snap.
- It's pouring rain and the only people in the rain are photographers and old men building arks.
- You're two hours into your search, your gas gauge has been on empty for the past 20 minutes and pay day is three days away.
- That simple request to "just make a snap of something to fill page 3," has now turned into the lead photo on page 1.
- You get to meet really cool people who you never would have met while shooting pet-of-the-week.
- You're out of the office when the desk asks if anyone is available to shoot a ground breaking.
- You now have time to pick up a birthday present for kid's birthday party being held that evening.
- You're out of the office when the desk asks if anyone is available to shoot a ribbon cutting.
- That breaking news coming across the police scanner and the amount of time required to get there is exponentially decreased by the amount time it would have taken you to get there from the office.
- You're out of the office when the desk asks if anyone is available to shoot pet-of-the-week.