Pacific Northwest | December 28, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineDecember 28, 2003seattletimes.com home
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CONTENTS
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NOW & THEN
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY COLE PORTER

Capturing the moment
 
Seattle Times 2003 Pictures of the Year
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A family gathers around a table sharing photographs that evoke memories perhaps otherwise lost. Simple images that trigger emotion and preserve family history.

Since the invention of film, photojournalists have essentially done the same thing, making pictures by which neighborhoods and nations have recorded and preserved their history.

Like the pictures they take, photojournalists have different styles, different subjects, different purposes. But all see the world through the filter of a millisecond, capturing an action or emotion so it tells us a larger story. Photojournalists share the ability to walk into a situation and evaluate what makes that story-telling image. They work to take readers someplace they have never been or show them something familiar in a different way. It can be a single face in a crowd of thousands or a fraction of a second in a sporting event that puts everything in perspective. Photojournalists bring us stories that stir emotion, stimulate thought and sometimes even provoke action to solve issues otherwise ignored.

None of this is easy. It takes a special way of seeing the world. The best photojournalists have compassion for their subjects. They have courage to venture daily into the unknown. To compete against deadlines, bad weather, the unscrupulous. And through it all, their pictures must reflect truth.

Much has changed over the past 25 years. Most of the images in this section are digital. Darkrooms have vanished, replaced by computers. Negatives are now megabytes of data. Perhaps more than ever we live in a world of images. Perhaps more than ever the credibility of those images is at risk. The temptation to change "what is" to "what we want" is everywhere. Modern technology has given us powerful tools that can alter images, distort truth.

Seattle Times photographers understand it's their job to make pictures that remain reflections of reality, in all its imperfections. Times photographers are vested in the community they serve, committed to bringing us something new, something important and true, every day. In the photos gathered here, a piece of our reality — our shared history — is preserved.

Cole Porter is The Seattle Times director of photography.

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