This week in Advancing Your Photography, we sat down with Deanne Fitzmaurice, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who is based in San Francisco, California. She specializes in journalism stills and motion. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Time Magazine, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated , Men’s Journal, Newsweek, The Economist, Stern, GEO and numerous other publications. Over the years, she has partnered with many non-profits such as NPR, UCSF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. She has also created multimedia pieces for NBC, Wharton, ACLU and her corporate clients include Netflix, Target, Avon, and Adobe, to name a few.
Deanne sat down with Marc Silber and talked about her approach to photography. She says, “When I pick up a camera, I try to make a human connection with my subject, and try to humanize an issue.” A while back she had the opportunity to photograph a soldier from Iraq, who, like so many others, had suffered from numerous injuries. As a result, his life was altered and he and his family were deeply affected. Deanne, being the sensitive photographer that she is, went deep into understanding who this soldier was inside and out. “We had to find a soldier who would let us into his life.” It was at Walter Reid Medical Center where she met Brent Bretz who had lost both legs and medically had much to overcome, while also trying to get his life back together. “By gaining his trust, he felt comfortable letting us in his life.”, she says. “After all, he had to put up with us being there, we wanted to capture the moments. We wanted to connect and care about the issue. “
When asked if it is better to plan shoots before going on location, Deane says that although it’s important to have a general plan, she notes that one needs to be willing to let things change. “Things don’t go as you expected, and it should be that way. Unexpected things happen and sometimes it’s a blessing while other times it’s a curse.”, she smiles.
With respect to going Pro, she says anyone can be a pro as long as they are driven. She agrees that it is difficult but if you’ve got the passion then it will happen! “It has to be a part of you. Get up in the morning and think about what you want to photograph for the day. If you just dabble every now and then, you won’t make it. But if you wake up, go read about photography, try new things, subscribe to news on photos, seminars, and constantly educate yourself, little by little you will get there!”, she says. Aside from hard work, she also stresses the importance of networking. Showing your work to various people, attending workshops, and knowing all the important people in the business are ways to make great connections. But above all, Deanne says be passionate!