In 1983, University of Florida photojournalism major Al Diaz graduated and applied for an internship at the Miami Herald.
After showing his portfolio and talking with the managing editor, he walked out of the office with a fulltime job instead.
Thirty eight years later, Diaz has accumulated dozens of awards for his work including being part of a Pulitzer prize winning team. Now, Diaz is sharing what he does with the next generation by way of a video produced as part of the Kidvision Pre-K educational series.
“I had to adlib it,” Diaz said about the 8-minute-long video in which he describes what a photojournalist does and shows the equipment he brings to photo assignments.
“I had to think about saying it in a way that kids would understand.”
The video is titled, “A Day With A Photojournalist,” and it was Kidvision Education Director Penny Bernath who thought kids would like to learn about what Diaz does.
“I chose Al Diaz because I am a big fan of his work,” Bernath said. “He has taken some incredible photos,” Bernath said.
“His work is award winning and he also works for the Miami Herald and we try to connect our field trips with local organizations that we can partner with to help get the word out about KidVision. The Miami Herald is a good choice for that.”
According to Bernath, KidVision is on a mission to inform young children about possible career paths. She said photojournalism is an exciting topic because it is full of photos and stories, which is something children can relate to.
“They see people taking photos all around them, all the time,” Bernath said. “And many are able and capable to take photos with parent’s cameras. This field trip is made to inspire them to look a little more closely at photos and the photos they might be taking and to further their thinking about photography and photojournalism.”
In the video, Diaz talks about memorable experiences and still images of action photos, portraits and news flash on the screen in between his interview scenes.
Diaz is a veteran action photographer of college and professional sports including the Miami Heat basketball and Miami Dolphins football games.
He explains to viewers that every day is different for a photojournalist and he has to be ready for anything, from going up in a helicopter for aerial shots to capturing the President of the United States at a rally.
Diaz spreads his camera gear out on a table and explains the difference between a telephoto and wide angle lens.
“It’s journalism because you are telling a story,” Bernath says to Diaz in the video as she explains the concept to pre-k viewers.
Diaz does a photo shoot during the video and explains why he uses certain gear and shares his camera screen with viewers along the way so they can see the results of his assignment.
“There’s a cloud covering the sun right now,” Diaz says and explains how that eliminates shadows and makes for perfect lighting.
Diaz also shows the editing process and how he marks top shots and then narrows it down to the best image. He explains cropping and exposure and touches up a photo to show that when the photo shoot is done, there is still another step before it goes into the newspaper.
“I crop for impact,” Diaz says in the video. “I try to capture the light, the composition and the decisive moment all coming together to tell a story.”
Bernath said she has not featured a journalist before in her series and thought Diaz did a good job sparking interest in the field.
“I am always looking for jobs that people do to educate and young children about what possibilities there are for work that might interest them, to set the wheels in motion, so to speak,” she said.
To see the video click here.
To view more of Diaz’ portfolio click here.