Being a photojournalist means much more than taking pictures for newspapers. It’s about capturing the world’s people, cultures, conflicts, and occurrences. With a single snap, a moment in the present becomes a documentation of the past that will tell a real-life story not just in current events, but for future generations down the line.
Graph Paper Press user William Thomas Cain is an award-winning professional photojournalist based in Philadelphia. With more than 30 years of commercial and editorial experience in the Delaware Valley, Mr. Cain is a visual connector capturing everything from presidential speeches and political awards to sporting events, celebrity portraits, and local happenings throughout the region. He has worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Associated Press, and is currently represented by both Getty Images and Black Star. He also helps to mold the next generation of photojournalists, teaching at Wilmington University and running his own independent workshops.
We caught Mr. Cain for a few quick questions about his passion, career, and experience using our website toolkit. Here’s what he had to say:
When did you discover your passion for photography?
Freshman year at University of the Arts – I was an Illustration and painting major, and we had to take photography as an elective so we could make our own reference material.
I was hooked from the first photogram. I loved the idea of painting with light as opposed to paint and a brush. I was very shy before that first photo class, and photography brought me out of my shell. For the class assignments, we had to photograph strangers, so I had to interact with people I did not know. Meeting cool people and seeing cool things was inspiring. It beat staying in the studio painting for days with no human interaction.
What was your first big break in your career?
My first big break happened during my sophomore year of college. I was taking a photojournalism class and we had the assignment of creating a picture story on any subject we wanted.
For my story, I thought it would be fun to photograph a day in the life of Philadelphia’s legendary radio personality, Pierre Robert of WMMR. I called the station and asked for his permission, and he agreed. So I shot the picture story – probably got a B. I was under-lensed and under-flashed in those days.
Pierre had seen the images and asked for a large print of him and John DeBella during their morning to midday show changeover. I obliged, and when I dropped it off and inquired about whether or not the station used freelance photographers, he said, “Hold on for a sec.” He then put on a long record and marched me down to WMMR’s promotions director and introduced me. He said, “Jack, this is my friend Bill. He is a very talented young photographer and you should use him.”
I spent the next two years photographing events and concerts for the radio station. Without meeting Pierre, I’m probably sitting in a studio drawing comic books right now.
What is it about photography (and photojournalism in particular) that you love?
The process of finding the image is what I find most enjoyable. I’m given an assignment, and then I have to go and find the image that best tells the story.
I also love the fact that I get to photograph different things daily. One day I’ll be photographing sports; the next day I’ll be shooting a presidential event. The day after that, I’ll be doing spot news. The variety is both challenging and rewarding. I rarely do the same thing twice in the same week.
What made you choose Graph Paper Press for your website?
I chose Graph Paper Press after searching for a website solution for about a year. Every other company had templates for photographers, but none of the layouts were clean and simple.
When I found GPP, I fell in love with the simplicity and easy-to-use templates. GPP’s themes enhance a photographer’s work. You can tell they make a point of not detracting from the images. They understand that the goal is to show off my photographic work, not show how flashy a website can be.
What do you like about Graph Paper Press?
GPP is easy to use, with great design and support staff. Once I decided to go with GPP, it only took a few minutes to get the site up and running. If I ever have issues, Rick or any one of the support staff members is always quick to respond and address my issue. GPP is constantly evolving and releasing new designs and products.
Also, one of my favorite things about GPP is that it integrates seamlessly with PhotoShelter.
If you were to recommend us to a friend, what would you say?
If you want a seamless, beautiful and easily manageable website, GPP is the best decision you will ever make for your photo business.
Their templates are designed for multiple uses including business, news magazines, and portfolios. There are also plenty of plugins that integrate very easily.
I’ve had a website since 1992, and it was always a chore to manage until I found GPP. So I have to say, quite frankly, thank goodness for Graph Paper Press! They simplify my life and enable me to focus more on my craft than my website.
Thanks so much for the kind words and loyalty, Mr. Cain! It’s a privilege to have you in our creative community.
Check out a few images from William Thomas Cain’s portfolio below, and be sure to check out his website, www.cainimages.com.