The goal for many of us is to make a living as a photographer. For many it’s not even a lofty goal but a dream. Andrew Harnik is a photojournalist with the Associated Press had the same, and in a discussion with FORMAT for InFrame speaks about how he made it happen, and what’s required when living in DC and your primary subject is Donald Trump.
Many people have a conceptual idea of what being a photojournalist is, and how it works, but Andrew gives some nice pieces of insight into his development, his first job, where he went from there, and also his take on creating compelling imagery. Anyone who seeks a career in photography can probably pick up some valuable advice.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things Andrew touches on is his thought on the moment he was ready versus when he began. This is something most photographers will go through at some point, providing they’re not the type who sees something and immediately thinks ‘I could do that”. He spoke about the Washington Post being his local paper and how it seemed like a logical step for progress, but that in retrospect he was probably ready to freelance or get a job with them years before he actually did. This is actually a recurring theme with working photographers the world over, that they were good enough to begin working long before they did. So many photographers are held back by fear of failure, or that holding a working position is somehow unattainable.
The lesson here is somewhat reminiscient of words of wisdom famously imparted by Richard Brandon, and no doubt other moguls alike. According to Branson, and I paraphrase here, the successful business people begin before they’re ready. It’s deep, but sensible, and perhaps more applicable to photographic business than many others.
It’s also nice to hear Andrew speak about his perception of equipment and how it’s really not something to hold you back; that he believes your average phone is capable of taking a good photo. So in the course of this short video he addresses some major sticking points for the average and burgeoning photographer, and it’s worth a watch.