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'Wild Art' — Words photojournalists hate.

Posted by on October 8, 2009 – 6:34 pm

Asking a photojournalist to go look for wild art (see definition below) is like asking a 2-year old to give up an ice cream cone. First you get a blank stare, then it’s followed by tears, and not tears of joy. A photojournalist can NEVER find wild art when asked to look for it, so I learned a long time ago if you see something that could be used as wild art — SHOOT IT! My philosophy on wild art is shoot first, ask questions later.

Here’s a good example of a missed opportunity. Last week as I was driving northbound in Chandler, a white jeep passed me traveling southbound with a huge black & white Great Dane’s head sticking out of the sunroof, it was a very cool visual so I did a U-turn (don’t ask if it was legal & I won’t have to fib) to chase it. Unfortunately I didn’t catch them so I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.

Anyway I digress. Here’s a good example of wild art. Today as I was heading toward another assignment I saw two maintenance workers hauling a refrigerator with a handcart behind an electric golf cart, so I just had to shoot it. I always keep my camera within arms reach while working because you just never know when you’re going to see a Great Dane sticking its head out of a sunroof, or guys hauling a fridge behind a golf cart. And keeping your camera in your trunk won’t do you any good for fun spur-of-the-moment photos like this one below. So keep your eyes open, your camera close, but most of all have fun and follow your passion. (My definition of wild art in the photo world: an image of something unique not driven by a news story that can help fill a hole in the newspaper.)


  • Chasing wild art was never #1 on my list, but I still worked hard at it and enjoyed grabbing something when none of the other staff could on those slow, slow news days. I prided myself on having a number of locales filed away in my head for emergencies that usually could create a wild art if I needed on in a pinch.

    My favorite story: I was once sent to a nearby small town to look specifically for wild art of someone hanging a banner to celebrate a new Naval Homeport that was being opened there. It was late and nearing deadline and I’m thinking there’s no way I’m going to find anyone doing anything. It’s a sleepy little town. Lo and behold, I drive to town and the first thing I see is a guy in overalls straddling a billboard nailing a portion of a sign that reads “Welcome to Homeport”. I snap off a few nice shots and go to ID the guy hammering and discover it’s the mayor of the town–BONUS!