Awards Text, Time Book of Photojournalism
|There are some news stories that cannot be summed up in a single image, they must be told with a sequence of pictures that support and enhance each other. A motor-driven camera and lenses of different focal lengths can be extremely useful in obtaining such sequences. Most often thought of as a tool for recording very fast motion by shooting multiple frames per second (see pages 174-175), a motor drive can also be used to narrate dramas that unfold more slowly. |
Covering the aftermath of an earthquake in Osoppo, Italy. for London`s Sunday Times, Bryan Wharton set the motor drives on both his cameras for single frames, rather than nonstop bursts, to free himself from having to advance the film after each shot. He could thus keep his eye to the viewfinder, keying on the soldiers digging through the rubble and on an old man who had kept a 30-hour vigil for news of his only son, who had been inside the quake-leveled house.
Wharton created a rhythm for his photo sequence by alternating between the two cameras, one with a wide angle lens, one with a zoom. A long shot of the search party at work is followed by a close-up of the discovery of the missing son's protruding hands. Wharton pulls back once again to focus on the waiting father, then moves steadily closer as the old mans fear mounts and finally gives way to an outpouring of grief.
The large photograph opposite of a father grieving at the death of his only son in an earthquake might have stood by itself but it is the narrative sequence the search, the discovery of the sons body, the mounting anxiety and ebbing hope that gives the final image its lull impact "It's not futile to look for the one picture that tells the story," Bryan Wharton says, "but you have to be extremely lucky The other prctures put it into context "