February 14, 2008

Justified Journalism

I am asked from time to time why I show up at terrible car crashes or house fires where someone looses everything they own. These inquiries come with harsh voices and short tempers. As a journalist we justify by saying we are on public property or use our editors as scapegoats. The real reason is not easy to explain in the heat of the moment. Experiences like the one the other day prove though why it is important to go to the scene even if it has a negative outcome.

On Saturday, January 26, 2008, over the scanner there was a call to the local stockyards indicating a barn was on fire. When I arrived there was no flames or water spraying as the firemen were assessing the situation. They determined they needed to move the roof that had fallen on a pile of hay that was smoldering. It was basically pitch black dark but as soon as they moved the roof they oxygen rekindled the blaze and flames where shooting up in the air. For a brief moment while fireman Curt Butler was walking by a silhouette was able to be made with the flames as the background.

The photograph will not win any awards but the gratification from being there came when the wife of the fireman emailed me and asked if there was any way to get a copy of the photograph and to sign it for them to hang in their home. I am humbled by the fact the family appreciated me being there and allowing them to see their family member who sacrifices his life everyday for others. Below is a copy of her email she allowed me to publish.

"Jonathan, I am so grateful for the upload! I have already gone through and started making a list of the items I'm going to order with that shot on it--gifts for his mom, my mom, a shirt for our little girl, and a HUGE print to have framed and hang in the house. Once I get the print ordered and it arrives, I would love it if you would sign it in one corner before I get it framed and surprise Curt with it. Would you mind doing that for us? It is such an AWESOME picture and it is so rare and special for a fireman and his family to have such an amazing shot of what he does for a living. Thank you for your talent and for sharing it with all of us.


1 comment:

Lydia said...

It truly is a great shot!