© Heinz Kluetmeier, left, © E. Jason Wambsgans, right
This past weekend, I was a judge and speaker at the Wisconsin News Photographers Association convention - a gathering of newspaper photographers from around the state. I spent my first 10 years working in newspapers, and I still feel a kinship to the industry. Fellow judges for the year-end contest were Erv Gebhard, a retired photographer from the Milwaukee Journal, whose work I admired for many years in my hometown paper, and Chicago Tribune photographer E. Jason Wambsgans, who brings artistry and a unique eye to daily newspaper stories and multimedia pieces.
The biggest pleasure was reconnecting with Heinz Kluetmeier, the longtime Sports Illustrated photographer and keynote speaker at the convention. For several years during high school, when Heinz still owned a house in Milwaukee, he was very kind to this young, want-to-be photographer. He had me assist at games for him and for other photographers, lent me camera gear, and generally encouraged my interest in the profession. His life experience was certainly inspiring, and I realized later that his generosity of time was, as well.
One of the most interesting things he said to the group of daily newspaper photographers, was this: "The most important pictures you make are often within 10-15 miles of your home."
The same can be said for sources of youthful inspiration.