One day you’re blessed with either a camera or the funds to get one. You think you’ll try your hand at it, and quickly begin to find some joy in the craft. So you do a little research online, or maybe you buy a neglected book hidden at the bottom of a pile in some dusty vintage shop or car-boot sale. You flip/scroll through its pages becoming acquainted with the jargon and then in an attempt to make you a well-rounded photographer, it moves your education forward by bringing with you the lessons of the past.
And then you’re there. You’ll undoubtedly arrive at whom I believe to be the most quoted (and misquoted) photographers: Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams. If you’re in America, it’s Adams whom you’d be most familiar with. In fact, in youth when being educated on historical sites and national parks, you get to know them visually via images taken by Adams. His images of the American West and Yosemite were largely taken when he was hired by the US Department of the Interior to photograph these locations, and now the Department of the Interior is looking to hire a photographer again, much in the same vein.
The listing is under the sexy title ‘Photographer, GS-1060-11/12 (1564575)’ and it’s a full-time position out of DC, with a salary up to $100k. At a time when staff photographers are like the American Bison, this is somewhat a surprise. Or maybe it’s not because this isn’t for just anyone who can take a nice landscape with their DSLR for posting online. The requirements are much like what Adams himself adhered to, and that’s shooting large format for one.
Furthermore, it will require a good amount of travel, though relocation to DC is not required. Speaking of DC, however, the images with be documentary-style for the permanent collection at the Library of Congress. Here are the list of duties as found on the job posting:
- Produces large-format photographic documentation to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the HABS/HAER/HALS permanent collection at the Library of Congress.
- Develops photographic guidelines and standards for traditional and born-digital photographic processes and products.
- Produces exhibition quality prints for exhibition, publication, or other visual purposes.
- Evaluates submissions and provides advice and assistance concerning production of photographic documentation for donations to the collection or for mitigation purposes.
- Makes presentations about the collection or the programs to various public and private groups.
Of course, to execute this, there is a stringent list of qualifications required, and you can see those in full on the job posting here, along with how you will be evaluated.
It sounds absolutely brilliant to me, because aside from everything else, this will cement your work in history, and in an age where images are disposable, that’s about the biggest reward.