We had the good fortune of connecting with Gary Hershorn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gary, how do you think about risk?
When I look back on my career as a photographer, I would say risk-taking played a huge part in my development from the very beginning. When I started, I had an awesome mentor who instilled in me the idea that I needed to know exactly what I had to achieve when I went out to take photographs of news events but that accomplishing that sometimes would involve taking chances to get the best picture. I was never afraid to take a risk in where to stand or what lens to use as I was supremely confident that if something happened in front of me, like a winning touchdown at a football game, I had the ability to capture it every time. The risk that I took was in how I chose to capture the image. I quickly found out that if I did things a bit different than the pack of photographers that were at the event I could come up with a better photograph almost every time.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have had a 43-year career as a photojournalist. I started working with United Press Canada/United Press International in Toronto in 1979 and then proceeded to work for the Reuters News Agency from 1985 to 2014, first in Canada than in Washington, DC and New York City. My career has taken me all over the world covering major news and sporting events. News photography quickly became my way of life after finding the business during my first year of university in 1977. The business is highly competitive and I thrived under the pressure of being at high-profile events like the Olympics or soccer World Cups where missing the picture was not an option. My ability to perform under stressful conditions allowed me to be assigned to the biggest stories throughout my entire career. After leaving Reuters in 2014, I changed the focus of my photography from news to working on a long-term project documenting New York City. This is where my present-day work is focused on. It was a new style of work for me that allowed me to be far more creative than my photojournalism career allowed me. I did jump into this new photography with the same mindset that if I was going to do it I wanted to do it better than anyone else. That is something that has always pushed me, do what you do, better than most, and do not be lazy about it. Hard work is always rewarding.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the New York City area, there is an endless amount of things to see and do. Almost everyone who comes to visit wants to see the vistas of the Manhattan skyline that I shoot every day. I would take people to see the sun rise and set against the New York City skyline. I would give them the full New York City experience from both outside and inside the city. They would walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, ride the Staten Island Ferry, watch a sunset from Battery Park depending on what season it is, see the sun rising behind midtown Manhattan from Weehawken, NJ, and of course walk through Central Park. They would have to visit, Greenwich Village, The Upper West Side, Union Square, Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, and all over lower Manhattan which is one of my favorite places to hang out. Restaurants are everywhere. Name the food you want and we will find a restaurant worth visiting.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mentor back in 1979 when I started was a photographer/photo editor at United Press International, Robert Carroll.