While Mark Johnson was interviewing Dave Labelle during Photo Night @ The Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Georgia, he joked about well this might sound like, “Get off my lawn.”
He was addressing the fact that veteran photojournalist and he were talking mainly to a room full of college students.
“What would you say is the purpose of photojournalism today?” asked Mark Johnson of Labelle.
Labelle said, “Humans are still the same.” He went on to explain while the technology to tell stories has evolved, storytelling has always been here. “Visual storytelling has also always been here as well,” said Labelle. Storytellers have always used words to paint pictures, even before there were visuals.
With technology as advanced as it has become today Labelle said, “The Glory Years are now.”
Photo Night was a concept started by Billy Weeks.
The format is where a photographer is interviewed and brings just 3 images that they want to talk about. Many photographers often ramble and this format works great. Billy and now Mark both are able to help steer the conversation to the nuggets of wisdom the audience will benefit from the most.
Here are some of the tidbits that I considered gems from Dave Labelle worth sharing with you.
Talking to the students Labelle said, “You are acquiring skills now from your classes for a job in the future you don’t even know about.”
“Calm seas never made a sea captain.” He was saying that if you have a lot of privilege you don’t learn as much as when you struggle in life experiences.
I asked Labelle is there a reason you can see the story before you talk to people? He said that he grew up with a father who got angry and would go into rages. He said his wife thinks that his background made him good at reading people and situations from a pure survival mode.
Mark Johnson asked Labelle, “How do help today’s generation look up and out from their phones?”
“I’m a hugger,” was Labelle’s response. He said he needed to engage with people. The power of human touch is what moves his soul. He said he is never bored, because he just loves meeting people.
Sharing these stories of people he finds with others is his way of giving hope to people. Hearing and seeing people overcome struggles is his way of giving the world a sense of hope to give them purpose.