Richard Lautens, Staff Photographer
Journalists are supposed to be rough and tough and unaffected by the stories they work on. Usually this is the case. It is really no different than a judge who can keep his or her emotions in check while concentrating on the facts of the case or a surgeon who can calmly cut into flesh without flinching.
A good journalist however feels every emotion 100 per cent but is able to channel those feelings into a better story or photograph and remain outwardly calm.
I am usually surprised when I work on a story that really disturbs me. It is never the one that is obvious. I can work on stories of death and destruction and compartmentalize the story into another part of my brain and not shed a tear but sometimes the most innocuous story can really creep up on me.
I am working on a feature about divorce with writer Sue Pigg. One of the parts of the story is about divorced fathers and their struggle to maintain a relationship with their children. I have been happily married for almost 20 years and have two great kids and love every bit of it. To look in another Dad’s eyes and listen to his lament as he longs for more of a relationship with his children just broke my heart.
Look for the series later in the month.
One other thing to mention. It still seems a long way off but our Vancouver Olympic preparations are well under way. Last November I took a trip there for a week to start touring venues and planning out the best ways to cover the Games. The Star will be sending a large team there and it takes a colossal amount of organization (let alone money) to cover something like this.
The Star is sending 6 photographers to the Olympics. We had our first meeting last week to start the ball rolling.
There are a million little things to figure out like the number of long lenses to bring with us (probably two 600mm, three 500mm, one or two 200-400mm lens) that will be shared. Accommodations, itineraries, communications, filing times, blog rotations, stories to cover all need to be discussed and figured out. Even something as simple as who is likely to cover hill events (like downhill skiing) requires preparations like whether or not to ski down from the top or strap on crampons and hike up from the bottom, each of which requires different equipment.
It is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking to start planning out the whole adventure. Stay tuned for more.
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star