I started working for newspapers in the mid-1970s, one of the first generation of college-trained newspaper photographers. Many of the photographers we replaced were men who had learned their craft in the military around the time of World War II; they called themselves “press photographers” or “news photographers.” One way this new generation I was part of emphasized our difference from our predecessors was by taking a new name. We called ourselves “photojournalists.” Sometime during my first week at The Seattle Times in 1977, Kathy Andrisevic, who had been hired there three months earlier, told me to insist that “photojournalist,” rather than “photographer,” be printed on my business card.

The distinction was important, and it was the word “journalist” that was critical. Journalist implied an educated “reporter with a camera,” an equal of the journalists who used words, the writers. It claimed that we were literate, thinking reporters who told stories in pictures and could no longer be treated like “second-class citizens in the newsroom.” We meant to contrast ourselves with the oldtimers, the press photographers, who often were treated like baboons with cameras, as reporters ordered them around and told them what to photograph. Stereotypical “press photographers,” as opposed to “photojournalists,” were uncouth, socially insensitive eccentrics. They were often considered “characters.” They made posed pictures of corporate executives giving checks to directors of charities (contemptuously called “check passings”) or holding shovels at groundbreakings. They photographed spot news: accidents, fires, and crime. When a house burned, they were on the spot with their big flash and a pushy attitude. Kathy Andrisevic told an apocryphal story about how that kind of news photographer worked: A photographer from a New York paper sees an accident, rolls down the car window, and yells, “Any dead?” When someone says, “No, no one died,” he rolls the window up and drives away.

Newspaper photojournalists, on the other hand, were concerned about the


“Out of the darkroom and into the newsroom”