John Loengard - Thoughts on being a picture editor

Been a while since my last post, I know. Well, I hope this little gem will be worth the wait. Scott Kelby, renowned author and Photoshop genius, recently posted on his blog a remarkable interview with John Loengard, the legendary photo editor of Life magazine and a fine photographer in his own right. I've been a picture editor and, if ever there were an interview that ought to be required reading for picture editors everywhere, this is it (and, it's a pretty good read for photographers, too)!

Here are a few excerpts.

The Role of the Picture Editor

It is not important if photographs are “good.” It’s important that they are interesting. What makes a photograph interesting? I’ll count the ways: It can be our first look at something. It can be entertaining. It can evoke deep emotions. It can be amusing or thrilling or intriguing. It can be proof of something. It can jog memories or raise questions. It can be beautiful. It can convey authority. Most often, it informs. And, it can surprise.

Other editors, with the story’s text in hand, may judge photographs by what they have read. Don’t join them. The reader sees before he ever reads and may never read if there’s nothing interesting to see.

Don’t try to tell a photographer how to take a picture. You want the photographer to follow his own instincts. You should, however, let the photographer climb upon your shoulders for a better view. That is, explain your thinking about the story. Talk about what might happen. Raise the possibility without demanding to see it. Instead, expect to see something better.
 Encourage good photographers to work for themselves, for posterity, for their grandchildren-not just for you.

CLICK HERE for the full interview. It's really terrific.