Behind the Lens: At the Cleveland Press feature photo shoot.
The June 2007 issue of Cleveland Magazine features a look back at The Cleveland Press. Associate editor Andy Netzel, who wrote the story, also attended the photo shoot, where several of the former news reporters took their turn in front of the camera.
This is not what they're used to. A sense of duty hung in the air. A few of the former Cleveland Press staffers who gathered for the Cleveland Magazine photo shoot looked over to the camera with a weary eye, but they all took their turn in front of the lens
Anyone who has reported for a newspaper has learned the art of dodging cameras: Keeping one eye on the person being interviewed and the other on the photographer so the writer doesn’t mess up the shot.
But this time they are the story, featured a quarter century after the Press printed its last edition in Cleveland. (See “When the Press Was News,” June 2007) A few grumps came here and there, but for the most part everyone was patient — a far less demanding crowd than those at a normal shoot. Maybe it was a sense of payback after asking so many people over the years to have their own photos taken?
Photographer Eric Mull (www.ericmull.com) made the pictures with a 4x5 View black and white camera. He disappears underneath a black cloth as he composes the photo and focuses the lens. He comes out from the cloth, loads the film then tries to capture a moment before those in front of the camera move forward or backward, which would make the photo come out blurry.
Mull said he went with the old-style camera because he wanted the photos to feel old since the story he’s telling visually is one that looks back at the Cleveland Press.
This is not the tool a newspaper photographer uses nowadays, nor one that Mull regularly uses. Normally, he shoots with a digital camera and can click away at each subject. “If I was shooting digital, I would shoot 50 or 60 pictures,” Mull says. “We only shot three pictures of each person. You have to put a lot more thought into each shot. You’re looking at $5 to take each picture.”
The two photographers in the group are amazed a youngster such as Mull — all of 37 years old — would choose to labor away with a tool of the past. Much like the memories of the Press, their memory of the camera is both sentimental and realistic. Paul Tepley has some fond memories of the camera. It’s the same model he used to make his first professional photos when he was in the Navy. “It's a solid camera,” he said. Tony Tomsic is less reminiscent: “That thing is a real pain in the ass.”