Mark Garfinkel, a staff photographer at the Boston Herald, clearly loves his job. You can hear it in his voice when he talks about his work. He can tell you what kind of lens he used on a specific photo, where he went to get the perfect shot, and how it felt to be where he was when he was getting the picture.
In an age when newspapers are laying off staff photographers, Garfinkel said what a paper gets with him is another journalist on any scene. “What I bring to the table, you can’t buy,” he said. “I still feel what I’m doing. I get the pulse of the community because of what I’m doing. I don’t discount the iPhone, but you will only get one day out of what that produces. With me, you get another journalist on the scene.”
Garfinkel was a guest in Dan Kennedy’s Fundamentals of Digital Journalism class on Tuesday, October 1. Kennedy had previously asked his class to follow Garfinkel’s blog Picture Boston.
Garfinkel told the group he got his first iPhone only three months ago, and he loves it. He added that someone who wants to use a smartphone for its camera capabilities should spend time reading the manual and seeking out tips on how to make their photos better.
For the most part, though, Garfinkel sticks to using Canon and Leica cameras. He works a 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. shift and said it’s often, “get there fast or don’t get there at all.” But while he nearly always has a police scanner on, and has plenty of photos from fire and police scenes, some of his favorite pictures to take are of sunrises, the moon, and planes.
He has embraced using social media, posting to Twitter and, more recently, establishing an Instagram account. With his blog he says he wanted to “hit the common person. I put up the sucky photos, too.”
Many aspects of his job have changed over the years since he started, including now having to gather video while on stories. But from the sounds of it he has no intentions of giving it up any time soon.