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|| News Item: Posted 2007-04-24

#100: One Hundred Things Completely Right About Our Job
By Chip Litherland, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Beyond the left field wall, a family rest on a grassy hillside while taking in a New York Mets and Washington Nationals game at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., on Saturday, March 10, 2007.
It seems that every day I have to sift through a new batch of blogs, message board threads, and columns about the imminent demise of our profession. In celebration of that fact --- and that Sports Shooter is publishing its 100th edition of the newsletter --- I asked a bunch of inspiring photographers to compile a list of 100 Things Completely Right About Our Jobs:

1. We could be sitting in a cubicle right now processing paperwork....for the rest of our lives.
2. Seeing something that no one else sees.
3. Looking at people for an extremely long amount of time and not having to feel creepy about it.
4. The sound of a shutter...and someone not noticing.
5. Realizing my entire portfolio adds up to about 10 seconds worth of life.
6. Traveling to weird unheard of places to shoot unheard of things.
7. Experiencing both the best and the worst parts of peoples lives, sometimes in the same day.
8. Enjoying the fact that the longer you are in the business, the smaller it gets.
9. Sleeping until noon.
10. The ladies think it's sexy.
11. Showing people things they have never seen ever and having the responsibility to introduce them to it in a way that doesn't completely sensationalize the issue.
12. Wanting to show someone their photo on the back of the camera.
13. Getting to a really cool assignment and realizing you are the only one there to witness it.
14. Everyone has a story and they always want to tell it. All I have to do is ask.
15. Hurry up and wait.
16. Being my own boss.
17. Seeing the best (and worst) of human nature.
18. Having that one photo that will come in handy for blackmail down the road.
19. Saying No.
20. Hail Mary.
21. Bringing 4 lights, tripods, battery, extension cords, backdrops, soft boxes, clamps, and an assistant to realize you want to shoot it ambient.
22. Listening to my iPod in my car with the windows rolled down, just cruising for moments and sweet light.
23. Lying awake at night thinking of new story ideas and waking up the next morning and forgetting them.
24. Unwrapping a new piece of gear and throwing out the instruction manual.
25. Understanding what only half your camera can actually do.
26. Seeing a scene that make you never want to take the camera away from your face.
27. Being the first of my friends to get sunburned...because my job made me go outside on such a great day.
28. Giving back.
29. Finding a patch of light to call your own.
30. History is made in front of me.
31. Seeing a story develop.
32. Avoiding a foul ball.
33. 6 columns.
34. A bad day making pictures is still better then a good day swinging a hammer.
35. Spending $20,000 in gear, but liking a photo made with a $25 Holga better.
36. Making a bride cry.
37. Hanging a friend's photo on your wall.
38. Looking down to see your name and photo printed on a laminated press credential that most would pay thousands for.
Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Vikki Layer and her sister, Kellie, share a laugh in their hommade Mets shirts and matching tube socks while digging through a purse outside of the bathrooms prior to their Mets taking on the Washington Nationals.
39. Overpricing yourself and landing the job.
40. Every time you tell someone what you do, they NEVER say "Oh, man, that must suck."
41. Changing someone's mind.
42. Creativity.
43. Curiosity.
44. Chicken salad.
45. Citizen submitted photos make our photos look really, really nice.
46. People are getting weirder and weirder.
47. "What channel are you with?" "4."
48. Pretending like you don't know what you're doing when someone hands you a point-and-shot to take a group shot.
49. Having more expensive toys than your kids.
50. Running into a past photo subject.
51. Having an excuse to approach a complete stranger and find out who they are.
52. Talking shop after hours.
53. 1-111-111-1111
54. Never waking up to the same two assignments, shooting the same damn thing, or meeting the same damn people.
55. Forgetting where your flash is...since 2001.
56. Finally being able to function after being pepper-sprayed.
57. Warped bookshelves courtesy Arbus, Webb, and Nachtwey.
58. f/1.4
59. Seeing your name in print.
60. Shooting a photo just for yourself.
61. Putting down the camera and listening, because people will tell you the damndest things just for being a stranger that cares.
62. Not caring about your level of geek.
63. Killing the competition the next day.
64. It takes one picture to say what a 30 inch story can, and it translates into every language imaginable.
65. First 3 songs.
66. Arriving at spot news and not being hassled.
67. Secretly despising college photographers who make you look like a chump because they are THAT good.
68. Learning something new.
69. Knowing that your photo made a difference in someone's life.
70. Working to preserve the moments everyone remembers but forgets to capture.
71. Co-worker's Christmas cards.
72. Taking the moral high ground against doctors and lawyers when it comes to annual salary.
73. Couches, floors, and the guest room.
74. "Wow, that's a big lens you got there, buddy."
75. Jersey numbers on front, back, and shoulders.
76. Having a friend come back from a war zone safely.
77. Finding a new photographer's website.
78. Being a nice guy/gal.
79. The skill of eating Chick-Fil-A at 65mph.
Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Photo by Chip Litherland / Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Homeless minister Obadiah Franklin pauses to pray as he walks with a 12 ft. cross painted blood-red along Lime Ave. in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday, April 11, 2007.
80. Paper clip on an email.
81. Traveling the world on someone else's dime.
82. Knowing that somewhere in the country, you photo has been made into a magnet on a grandmother's refrigerator.
83. Letting a kid chimp your photos.
84. Avoiding the pack mentality.
85. Leaving the suit and tie on a hanger in the back of a closet.
86. Soaked coasters, sticky tables, and frosty mugs at a workshop.
87. Sitting on and entirely too dirty hotel floor with another photographer and looking at each other's portfolios.
88. Dropping that last image in the FTP folder.
89. Payday.
90. For every manipulated image out there, there are thousands made with - gasp - a camera and an eye.
91. Mom and dad calling to tell you they saw you on TV almost get nailed by a running back.
92. Shaking a new hand.
93. Walking out to the driveway at 7am to see your photo on A1.
94. Realizing that that picture you thought was out-of-focus is actually newspaper sharp.
95. Media parking.
96. Putting a name to a face.
97. Being part of a community like and (blatant, yet expected, plugs)
98. Giving a voice to someone who needs it.
99. Shooting 4 assignments, coming home, trying to think of 100 things completely right about our jobs.
100. When all is said and done, getting paid to take pictures all day - what really could be better?

Many thanks to the crew over at who came up with most of these in a matter of hours. The sky is not falling.

(Chip Litherland is back on the staff at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after freelancing. To view his work, check his member page: and his personal website:

Related Links:
Chip's member page

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