A picture is worth a thousand words, sure. But have you ever wondered what was reeling in the minds of the photographer as soon as they released the shutter? We asked several photographers to share their personal favorite shots and the stories behind them. From pulling all-nighters to capture the best lighting to traveling the corners of the globe to touching life tales of their subjects, here’s proof that there’s much more to a photo than simply pointing and shooting. Here, three seasoned photographers recount what it took to get that perfect shot.
Operation Liberty Dogs by Amiee Stubbs
“I’ve worked as the photojournalist for Animal Rescue Corps since July 2012. We do large-scale animal rescues, in situations like hoarding cases, dog fighting rings, natural disasters and puppy mills. It’s emotionally taxing work, but highly rewarding. We were called to a suspected puppy mill in Virginia on July 3, 2014. We worked with law enforcement to remove approximately 120 animals from horrific conditions. As dogs were removed from cages, they would each wait with a handler for an on-scene preliminary veterinary exam. Near the medical tent, I looked over and saw this defeated English Bulldog waiting in a shady spot with her rescuer. I noticed a wooden American flag leaning against the house behind her. I quickly moved closer and caught her attention just in time to get this shot. Our rescue was called Operation Liberty Dogs, and I think this image perfectly represented that day. She may not have realized it, but this dog was about to know freedom and independence for the first time in her life.”
Angelina by Jeremy Jones
I tend to shoot professional sports, classic automobiles and urban landscapes that are then pretty highly processed in post. While my style does get me attention and earns me clients, it is this one relatively unprocessed, simple monochrome photograph that stops folks in their tracks every time. Most viewers see it as a stunning portrait of a beautiful young girl. The emotion in her face is intense, and it conveys something different to each individual viewer. JPG Magazine recently awarded this photo the Grand Prize in a contest, and that win scored me a $1,400 lens as a prize.
In contrast to the pull of this photograph, however, the story behind it is rather mundane and normal to anybody who has ever been the parent of a six-year-old girl.
We were at the local swimming pool on a late summer’s day. The air and water were both cool enough that Angelina’s lips were beginning to turn blue (literally), and she was shivering—yet she did not want to get out of the water. As parents, we had to make the decision for her that it was time for a break, and the picture you see is the last of about five or six that I took of her as she went through a six-year-old’s emotional meltdown. This picture is about five minutes after her tears and wailing finally subsided, and there was nothing left on her face but sheer sadness and weariness.
I hope he speaks English by Bala Murali
I am a wildlife photographer from Kenya. I was recently at the Maasai Mara National Reserve and was following a cheetah from afar and taking continuous shots as it moved. All of a sudden the cheetah jumped onto my vehicle and sat barely two feet away from me. I was thrilled and very quickly changed my lens to a super wide angle and shot a few photos. After some minutes, the cheetah came down from my vehicle and jumped onto another, which was not far from me. Although, I have been to all the game reserves in Kenya in the past 20 years, this was the first time I had such an experience. It was just fantastic.