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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-11-02
Leading Off: Sponsor me?
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter
I get a ton of emails everyday… mostly junk but a lot of them concerning the workshops and the website. Frequently I get asked to "sponsor" someone for new membership into our little family at SportsShooter.com. There are lots of professional photography organizations out there that require sponsorship (fill in the initials here: NPS, CPS, NPPA and ss.com to name just a few).
Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter
For me, I would only "sponsor" someone that I personally know pretty well.
So much about this business is about things other than shooting pictures... professionalism, ethics, personality, conduct, etc. are all things I would consider before "sponsoring" someone, especially for a professional organization.
(Needless to say, I see a lot of people at events --- too many in fact --- that I would NEVER sponsor for anything. Their lack of professionalism, motivation and conduct is insulting not just to me but to the profession of photojournalism as well.)
Sure there are lots of photographers out there that can shoot. But as my good friend Ron tells me over and over, "Anyone can push a damn button!"
Just looking at someone's photographs, to me, just isn't enough. I am recommending the PERSON, not the 12 or 15 photographs they show me.
This is not a knock on others out there that sponsor people for membership into various organizations based on an email and looking over a web gallery ... even to this site. This is principle I have, something learned from years of being in photojournalism.
Which leads me to how I was sponsored into a certain 4-initial-organization organization many, many years ago:
I approached a photographer that I had met on the sidelines of a high school football game that was on staff of the local paper, the Fresno Bee, Ryan Miles Marty.
I had long admired this photographer's work and talked to him several times at various games we both would be covering.
Wanting to join an organization that required someone to recommend me, I went to the Bee's office one afternoon and asked Mr. Marty if he would sponsor me. I was disappointed when he turned me down. I didn't ask anyone else to sponsor me so I didn't send in the application.
Fresno was pretty much a wasteland for young punk photographers like myself. There was no Internet in those days. There was no local organized group of photographers like you see on college campuses nowadays.
There would be just me and my good buddy Barry Wong and I sitting late at night in a Denny's talking about photography and showing each other our recent work. The opportunities to learn and grow professionally were limited and if it were not for Barry and our intense (but friendly) personal competition and without those late-night sessions talking about photography over bad coffee, I'm not so sure I would have continued on with the idea that I could be a working photojournalist.
About 9 months later at a prep baseball game, Mr. Marty came over to me and asked: "Do you still need someone to sponsor you?" I told him I hadn't joined this organization and he said he was ready to sign the form for me.
He told me later after the game that he had watched me over the months at events we were at and he had also called over to the school to ask about me. He said that after doing all of that, he felt he knew me enough as a person to recommend me for membership.
That was over 30 years ago and I remember this like it happened last week. It really made an impression on me, and I have used that standard for myself ever since.
* * *
This month's edition of the Sports Shooter Newsletter features our annual "Intern Diaries" series. Recent interns Carlos Delgado, Luke Harris, Jonathan Moore, Teresa Prince and Patrick Smith write about their experiences, what they learned and how it compared to school.
Dirk Dewachter in our regular "Ask Sports Shooter" feature tackles a topic we all dread: Getting ripped off.
Allen Murabayashi pens another thoughtful and enlightening article about the business side of photography. Matt Brown contributes this issue's "Photographers Toy Box" with a look at the new Nikon D700.
My good friend Myung J. Chun from the Los Angeles Times kicks off a new regular Sports Shooter column "VJ For PJs" which will feature tips, advice and thoughts on multi-media. Another regular column debuting with this issue is "Travel Smart" by Think Tank Photo's Doug Murdoch.
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This month's reading list includes "Appaloosa" by Robert B. Parker (if you are a fan of westerns, check out the new film adapted from this book in theaters now) and "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative" by Allen Raymond.
On heavy play on iTunes is Rachael Yamagata's eagerly awaited release "Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart"; "Tales from an Austin Motel" by Debbie Davies and "The Blues Roll On" from one of my all-time favs Elvin Bishop.
As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Paul Myers and Bob Deutsch.
Thanks this month to: Allen Murabayashi, Dirk Dewachter, Myung J. Chun, Jonathan Moore, Luke Harris, Teresa Prince, Patrick Smith, Carlos Delgado, Doug Murdoch and Ronal Taniwaki.
I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.SportsShooter.com.
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