Laid-off photographer: People, not tools, put photos in focus

Photog still recommends studying photography

Neal Augenstein | November 14, 2014 7:07 pm

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WASHINGTON – Rob Hart woke up last Thursday, May 31, as an award-winning photojournalist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Two hours later I was a former photographer, ” says Hart, who lost his job when the paper laid off its entire photography staff.

The newspaper plans to outfit its reporters with iPhones to shoot photos and videos, and will hire freelance photographers.

Hart wasted no time, and has been documenting his life with photos taken on his iPhone in his Tumblr blog, “Laid Off From the Sun-Times.”

Hart, who also is a professor at Medill Journalism School, says his 20 years of training and experience have made him a photographer — not the expensive cameras he uses.

“The tools help us succeed, but it’s the people behind it,” said Hart.

Despite changes in the business, Hart would encourage people in all fields to study subjects about which they’re passionate.

“I don’t think you can substitute a great education for anything,” said Hart.

“I went to art school, thinking I was going to be an artist, and I turned into a photojournalist.”

As he contemplates his next move, Hart isn’t soured.

“Technology is just always going to change, and there’s going to be a ‘next thing’ other than an iPhone,” said Hart.

The 35-year-old says he was reminded recently how quickly technology can change when he found a 256MB camera memory card in his basement that was state-of-the- art a decade ago.

“To think that you could even use that for anything, other than put it under a table so it doesn’t wobble.”

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