Award-winning photojournalist Spencer Platt speaks to Inklings

Award-winning photojournalist Spencer Platt speaks to Inklings

Katie Settos, Creative Director

Renowned photojournalist and Staples graduate Spencer Platt ’89 visited Inklings during period 6 on Wednesday, April 24 to talk to aspiring journalists about his career.

Frequenting such publications as Time, Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times, Platt, who works for Getty images, is a recognized talent. In fact, he won the World Press Photo of the Year in 2006 for his photograph of a group of young Lebanese driving a car in the destruction of south Beirut.

Platt simply described the job description of photojournalists as being “give us art, make it happen.”

However, having navigated war-torn countries from Iraq to Lebanon and periodically risking his life in search of a powerful shot, it is clear that Platt’s job is much more challenging than he lets on.

“Most of the world doesn’t want you there,” Platt said. “People are always putting up walls, whether they’re in business suits or guns.”

Yet according to Platt, the beauty of photojournalism lies in exposing the public to the realities of the world.

After he showcased some of his poignant photos, many depicting poverty and grief stricken refugees, students were curious as to how he manages to cope with the horrors he faces in the field. Explaining the need to evolve a callousness in sake of journalism, Platt likened his interactions with his subjects to wearing a mask.

“You have to have a developed type of empathy to deal with people on the fly,” Platt said. “The most important part of photojournalism is that you need people to trust you and spend time with you. You can’t be an introvert.”

With a high tolerance for risk and a seeming immunity to fear, Platt’s life is never boring.

Student journalists in the room said they were not only drawn to the excitement of the profession, but also its capacity to change the world and evoke strong reactions.

Platt advised interested students to study as many languages as possible in preparation and to start from the ground up in the industry by interning at a small newspaper.

Inklings members said they feel fortunate to have gained so much experience in high school and look forward to seeing where their journeys take them journalistically in the future.