By Dean Stattmann
The New York Times is among the most prestigious news publications in the world and has always come across, at least to me, as a place where I would likely never work. But in the back of my mind I’ve always entertained the idea that maybe one day I will go on to write or take photographs for our national paper of record.
This fantasy escaped me the past six months as I focused all my energy on my internship and journalism classes, trying to absorb as much as possible. But today something happened that made me see things a little differently.
I have been visiting SoHo religiously over the course of the semester, familiarizing myself with the neighborhood for a beat reporting class that I am currently enrolled in. I return from every visit with a enhanced feel for the area as well as several new photographs to add to what has become a hefty collection, one of many that I have acquired in this profound city.
Today I logged on to The New York Times’ City Room blog to see what was new on my beat when I found a set of black and white photographs. Now there’s no way to articulate this next point without sounding pretentious so I’ll just say it. I could have taken these photographs. I’m not saying they’re bad, because I personally like them. I’m just starting to think that maybe my unofficial goal isn’t that ridiculous after all.
These are the photos I saw online. Both were taken by James Hill for The New York Times.
…And here’s what they reminded me of. These are my photos.
Clearly I’m not claiming that these photos are identical. But I feel that my images, taken before logging on to the City Room, reflect to a certain extent both the content and style of the Times’ photographs.
This realization taught me a valuable lesson. I always assumed that published writers and photographers were light-years ahead of me because they were published and I was, well, in college. Wrong. Yes, there are more talented journalists out there than I would care to count, but just because we’re in college, there’s no reason why we should underestimate our abilities. After all, we are the next generation of professionals, and when the city room empties out, someone will have to step up. It may as well be one of us.