Ann Brooks Photography

Photojournalism, art photography, studio happenings & resources

Editing lesson from Kim Komenich, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist.

with 2 comments

I recently met with Kim Komenich, Pulitzer Prize winner and teacher extraordinaire, for his edit of some of my work. As a late-blooming photojournalist, I always learn a great deal from his comments. He explained that he was editing for a photojournalism story, beginning, middle, end.

Komenich picked this image as a scene setter. It shows the peoples faces, is about who is there, we can see people we can care about. Additionally he singled this one out for it’s “staying power”, as being a powerful image on its own.

I took these images in Oaxaca, Mexico on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Mexico City massacre. Students, anarchists and others held a protest march keeping the memory of the massacre alive as well as protesting current injustices. Their message was “Ni perdon, ni olvido Mexico 68.” Neither forgive nor forget — the events on October 2, 1968. Here are Kim’s picks for the story with his comments.



Above, though not a fan of showing other people’s signs, Kominech says this one is another way to set the scene, it tells why they are there.

Image right, Komenich points out, “is full of little gifts”. There is a lot of activity, people reacting to the situation in a variety of ways.

He also points out that the image has it’s faults — is tipped and not taken square on, as it sould have been. But hey, it has it’s “gifts.”

abrooks_081002_035 abrooks_081002_055

Image left, he sites for good design.

On the right Komenich begins to drive home the importance of being able to see people’s eyes. The image shows lots of action and reaction.

Below left, he points out, is a young man who isn’t “playing anarchist” as he surmises all the ones with masks are. He is the real thing and isn’t hiding.

I remember working so hard to keep other people with cameras out of my pictures. Kim wisely pointed out that when it’s a “media circus” sometimes you just have to show it for what it is, lower right.


To see the contrast between Komenich’s edit and my original edit of this story click here and check out the slide show. Big lessons here.


Addendum:    This morning, by the bright light of day, I see I missed posting the flag burner (right) that was Kim’s choice. He made a point of the fact that in this one you can see his eyes. Check out the pick in my original edit and compare how much more powerful the image is when you see the young man’s eyes.

Yes, it is indeed very difficult to edit our own work.

Written by annbrooksphoto

April 9, 2009 at 1:11 am

2 Responses

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  1. Ann,
    Thanks for sharing Kim Komenich’s comments with us. They are really eye opening, especially when presented with so many interesting photos. Once you see what he chose and why, our response is “of course” but it’s certainly not always so clear when editing our own photos. Guess that’s part of why he’s Pulitzer Prize winner! I love the graffiti image and the tipped image–many “gifts” indeed!

    Sharon Christovich

    April 9, 2009 at 7:10 am

    • And thank you, Sharon. Among other things, in this blog I hope to share resources, information. Kim and his huge knowledge and experience in photojournalism – and teaching – is a great resource. Ann


      April 9, 2009 at 9:49 am

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