Friday, April 23, 2010

Jackie Larma: "People Will Have a View of the World Because of Your Pictures."

JACKIE LARMA SPENT so long in Israel, working as a photojournalist, that the place feels like home to her. Raised in Texas, she was immersed in the struggles and daily life of Israel for 17 years. She visually documented activity in the Middle East, and also traveled to Europe and Africa to tell stories from there. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for her images documenting the struggles of Rwandan refugees.

Now, she serves as the photo editor for the Associated Press here in Philadelphia. Here are a few things she said during her visit to class:

- She didn't have worked lined up in Israel after college. She just went.
- Before she went, however, she met with editors in the United States to make connections.
- "It's hard to remain neutral," she said of documenting struggles and conflicts. "Being neutral is ignorant, in some way."

- A journalist has to learn to deal with conflict and death in a professional way.
- "People will have a view of the world because of your pictures," she said of photojournalists. "That is a huge responsibility."

- She says that witnessing violence does not numb you. It makes you more sensitive to it.
- The images she created do not haunt her. But she thinks about those people every day.
- If she saw a person in trouble, she would help them. But she wouldn't become the story like Anderson Cooper did. "He's doing a job," Jackie said of Cooper. "He's going to leave when the next big story comes along."

- Photojournalism is the exact same job as being a reporter or broadcaster. You just use different tools to gather and tell stories.
- The best journalists avoid filters - rather than get official statements, talk to those who were immediately impacted.
- She would not lie to get stories or access to information. That is against the Associated Press' code of ethics.
- She did joke with a police officer once, saying she worked for Playgirl.
- She has been detained by authorities on multiple occasions. She knew that her phones were often tapped.
- Danger surrounded her during her job. And, while serving as a photo editor, she frequently sent other photographers into harm's way.
- Being a journalist is similar to being a firefighter. "Journalism is just like any public service," she said. "We're civil servants."

What stood out for you?


Annmarie Dinan said...

Although what Jackie did seems to be amazing and interesting, it seemed to be really risky for her to just go to Iseral as a young woman wihtout a job or a way to support herself. But her images of people told the most devastating and beutiful stories, and she was clearly an incredibly talented photographer.

Jess Lopez said...

I respect Jackie's bravery and passion for photography. She was extremely soft spoken but her pictures spoke volumes. It also surprised me how she could detach herself emotionally from some subjects and keep taking pictures.

Jessie Fox said...

Jackie's photos said all the words that she didn't. Her pictures told stories and I feel like they didn't need to be explained. I thought her pictures were amazing and she was very humble about her work. It amazed me too that she was so emotionally detached from her images. Some were even difficult to look at, but it takes a good photographer to keep oneself out of the photo and let them create a picture and story of its own.

Paul Kedziora said...

She clearly is a beast at her job, her pictures leave a strong impact. I found her to actually be a good source of inspiration for actually becoming a journalist. Her visit showed me that as long as you put great effort in your work, people will want to know more about you and that to me is useful because I tend to not know what to say about myself a lot.

Frankito29 said...

Jackie is a very passionate journalist. i didn't really enjoy what she said, but i absolutely loved her pictures. Amazing is all i have to say. i really liked and felt touched by her inspiration, passion, love and commitment to journalism!

Michael Stoltzfus said...

Jackie's photos were really cool to look at and i feel like she has so many stories she could tell but I just didn't enjoy her as a speaker. She was kind of one-noted and flat. She seems like a great person but I was kind of bored with her responses.

Anonymous said...

She is not a good speaker and the one note flat tone is spot on.I don't think she is aware that sending photographers into harms way is a means to an end, not withstanding the danger. The pressure to get the picture is paramount and if a photographer gets hurt - collateral damage. Not everyone is the same though thank goodness!