For LNP Photographer Dan Marschka, the most important part of his job has nothing to do with his camera. In fact, the success of many of his assignments comes when he puts down his camera – and talks.
In his nearly four decades of award-winning work, Marschka has photographed everything from floods and fires to food and football games. But it’s people who have captivated him the most.
“I don’t rely on the technical knowledge of my craft as much as I rely on people skills,” says Marschka, whose first big assignment for LNP was the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. “The thing that’s so motivating for me every day is the different people and personalities I cross paths with. Their personal stories are inspiring.”
The challenge is conveying that inspiration in an image that will touch LNP readers. That means taking the time to get to know his subjects and develop a level of trust.
“You can’t just jump into a story and represent it for thousands of readers without making a conscious, responsible effort to find out who these people are first,” he says.
Sometimes, the process of discovery is painful, even emotionally draining. Such was the case several years ago when Marschka photographed a young addict shooting up with heroin as part of an award-winning series with LNP investigative reporter Susan Baldrige.
Other times, it is pure, unexpected joy, like his recent assignment to photograph a new downtown gallery owner. Marschka arrived to discover the woman had her 9-month-old daughter in tow, which prompted a discussion of family and the inspiration to photograph the two of them together – glowing mother and smiling baby with art as their backdrop.
“Those are the kinds of assignments that are just simple,” he says. And satisfying.
“I still enjoy it,” he says. “I still love what I do.”
Contact Dan Marschka and share your thoughts: dmarschka@LNPnews.com