Capturing the storytelling moment

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Steve Pfost

My interest in photography, particularly photojournalism, traces back to when I was around 12 years old. I’m a fourth-generation volunteer firefighter. My great-grandfather started the fire company on Long Island in which my family currently serves. As a child, I would watch my father race out the door to get to a call. Often my mother would take my brother and me to the scene. When I learned how to use a camera, I began bringing it along.

I took this photo in April at the scene of a house fire on Seward Street in Rochester. At the time, I was interning at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle doing some multimedia work as well as responding to spot news. The fire ultimately spread to two neighboring houses. I was on scene for about 10 minutes shooting the magnificent sight when I decided to focus on what was going on around the fire. That’s when I noticed this boy standing there with his hands cupped, eyes fixed ahead. One thing I’ve learned is that recognizing and recording the moment is the most important job for an aspiring photojournalist. Within the recorded moment you no longer have just a picture, but you have created a story waiting to be read and interpreted.