|Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. |
PHOTOGRAPH BY LES STONE
Les Stone is 50 years old and has been a photojournalist for exacrly half his life.
Les and I have many mutual friends but we've never met. And we've never talked until tonight.
Tonight, someone posted a link on Facebook to a vtdeo that features Les's life work.
I sat transfixed as Les's images came up on my computer screen - one by one - and I listened as Les talked about the past quarter century of shooting images in the world's hot spots for TIME and Newsweek and the New York Times.
After watching the video, I called Les at his home in upstate New York.
He just got back from Haiti yesterday...a country he's been to 70 or 80 times. He went down to cover the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide. Aristide didn't show up but if he does, Les will be there to document it.
We talked about photography and some mutual friends we have. We also talked about the state of photojournalism, a profession that has all but died.
Les can't remember the last magazine assignment he shot. Magazines rarely assign photographers to stories anymore.
Perhaps the answer to the reason the work has dried up can be found in an anecdote Les related from his just completed trip to Haiti.
On the one year anniversary of the earthquake, Les made his way to the demolished presidential palace in Port au-Prince. He looked around and suddenly realized that "there were 500 foreigners with digital cameras taking pictures."
"They had better equipment than I have," Les said.
Yeah, they might have better equipment Les...but they can't shoot pictures like this!