Sunday, November 06, 2016

In the right place at the right time

This is a story about my very first front page picture that I had published 38 years ago in a large metro daily newspaper, the Vancouver Sun. I had been working at the weekly newspaper the Goldstream Gazette for about a year and a half and my editors George and Mike at the time thought it would be a good idea to get me some experience and exposure covering politics and some would say that British Columbia has some of the strangest and wackiest politics in the the country.

So with a media pass in hand I was sent off to the B.C. Legislature in March of 1978 for the opening of a new session which occurred on the 28th of that month, I ended up photographing from the upper gallery where the media cameras were allowed and photographed the procession coming into the chamber. I made my pictures which included speaker Ed Smith as he walked in and then delivered his resignation statement. before the calling of a new session. I think at the time I thought he was going to read the Throne speech or something like that. With that the Legislative Press Gallery was in an up roar, and all of a sudden my pictures were "something". My pictures were important because Mr. Smith had resigned in the wake of a controversy surrounding the hiring of a girlfriend for the auditor-general's office.

The Sun's Victoria Bureau reporter, Harvey Oberfeld asked if I had any pictures, and I said yes I had some pictures of Ed Smith resigning, with that I quickly spun the rewind crank of my Nikon camera and handed the film over to Harvey, who then sent it via float plane to the Vancouver Sun office on Granville Street where it was processed and edited, the next day to my surprise I had two pictures a bigger one and smaller one, on the front page of the Wednesday, March 29th ( 1978 ) edition of the Sun. Wow I had hit the big time! I so was elated, in addition to that I received a cheque for $50 a week or so later, that was very good money for a young photojournalist starting out, which would be around $173 in today's money.

 I figured with my foot in the door so to speak that I would try for full time employment with the Sun, a few months later I dropped off my portfolio to the Sun, then they went on strike and I didn't get my portfolio back for about 30 years, but that is another story ( which you can read here ). This story and others are part of my 40 years of being a newspaper photographer.

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