Why reportage is important

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Studio 1482 has had great success with our One Drawing A Day book based on our daily blog so I was excited when Veronica asked me to contribute to the third volume of an Urban Sketchers reportage series she was working on for Quarry. Last year, long after turning in the work she requested and after I had nearly forgotten about the book itself, I received a copy of The Urban Sketching Handbook: Reportage and Documentary Drawing in the mail. The drawings she used were of the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013, which I was reminded of the other day when I saw an article about Pete Souza trolling the current administration. Mr. Souza was the White House photographer for President Reagan and President Obama. He recently started matching political current events with similar “First 100 Days” moments of the  Obama administration to show a marked difference in posture, respect, and countless other qualities lacking at the moment. As I stated last month when I covered the 2017 inauguration of President Trump, I realized the greater value of the drawings later that night when a photo from the day appeared on twitter. Only it wasn’t a photo from that day but that day four years earlier. On January 20th 2017 there was very little celebration of AMERICA going on in the crowd. In 2013, I could barely see the jumbo-trons lining the mall through all of the flags being flown in joy and celebration. Let’s not even discuss my view in 2009.

I can make a ton of idealistic comments about media and journalism and why facts are facts even when ratings dictate what may be covered on the news at any given moment, but I’ll save that for the one-on-one conversations. What I will say is this. Like Mr. Souza, capturing the moment involves a trained eye and a skilled professional. It took 4 years to realize the larger importance of the drawings from 2013, drawings I was proud to have made and been present for. In 2017 it took about 8 hours to vindicate drawings of what I saw as a rather lame transfer of power.

Check out Pete Souza’s photography here and follow him on instagram.

Below are the drawings of flags from 2013 that appear in the book.

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