It was a real pleasure meet award winning photojournalist Lisa DeJong recently. She has been a local news photographer for the past 20 years has been on the staff at the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the last seven. Before that she worked for the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan and the storied St. Petersburg Times.
We’re very fortunate in the Cleveland market to have a staff of excellent photographers at our local newspaper. For years I’ve been following their work and in the process have learned so much about working with available light, composition and capturing the moment.
As part of my daily ritual of catching up on the news I’ve admired Lisa’s work by seeing her publish one brilliant photograph after another. Yet she takes it in stride describing it as another day at work. Like most true professionals, she makes it look easy. It’s not.
A local newspaper photographer has a very difficult job. They’re responsible for covering many stories every day. Not only do they have to deal with traffic, bad weather, uncooperative subjects and bad light, but they are under constant pressure to “get the shot” every time. They don’t have the luxury of coming back another day when the light is better…they have deadlines…every day. It doesn’t stop. But they’re artists too, and creativity on a time schedule, under pressure isn’t easy.
Lisa is a perfect example of this. She tells us in order to be successful in her field you have to do the work every day with you feel like it or not. It’s important to be detached to become invisible and not be part of the story. To capture the story and not be part of it.
Street photographers have much to learn from photojournalists. They work fast, in the moment, make the best use of available light and work in the moment. Many of Lisa’s photographs that we show in this article are not considered street photography. But we felt it was important to show the depth and breadth of Lisa’s work in the types of photographs she has to make every day.
This is the first time that I had an opportunity to sit down with my interview subject face-to-face and have a real conversation. It was a true pleasure to meet one of my influences in person. I hope you enjoy it too.
– Bob Patterson
To to hear my conversation with Lisa, click the audio player below.
A Selection of Lisa’s Photos
Beyond Rape: A survivor’s journey
To get the full impact of Lisa’s photos this story is best viewed on the original newsprint. Absent that the story can be read in it’s entirety on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website. Here’s a link to the article
Fading Middle Class (portrait series)
Ohio News Photographers Association
- 2008 Photographer of the Year- Ohio News Photographers Association
- 2010 Photographer of the Year
- 2011 Photographer of the Year
- 2007 Photographer of the Year – runner-up
- 2013 Photographer of the Year – runner-up
- 2008 AP Photographer of the Year
- 2010 AP Photographer of the Year
- 2007 AP Photographer of the Year – second place
Ohio Society of Professional Journalists
- 2008 Best Photographer – Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
- 2009 Best Photographer – Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)-second place
- 2011 Best in Ohio: Body of Work – Press Club of Cleveland
- 2008 Best in Ohio: Body of Work – Press Club of Cleveland-second place
Pictures of the Year International
- 2008 POYi ( 66th Annual-International)
First – Feature Picture story (Survivor’s Journey, Beyond Rape)
- 2009 Picture Editing awards – Best of Photojournalism
Newspaper Special Section – 2nd place- “Survivors Journey, Beyond Rape”
- 2009 Society of Newspaper Design- Photography/Multiple photo series category
- 2011 Society of Newspaper Design- Special New Topics: International-Award of Excellence
- 2008 James R. Gordon Understanding Award
- 2009 Dart Award- ‘Beyond Rape’
- 2009 Editor and Publisher Award- First Place
- 2010 Headliner Award- Third Place
- 2012 Clip Contest Winner – Ohio News Photographers Association
- Canon 5D Mark III with 16-35mm f/2.8 lens
- Canon 1D Mark III with 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens