These days, everyone’s a “photographer.” They say the best camera is the camera you have with you, usually on your smartphone. The good thing about that is the pressure’s off me, a professional photographer for over 30 years. I used to hate missing “spot news” opportunities, realizing if I didn’t get the photo, the moment would be lost.

So while everyone can “take” a picture, it’s really more about “making” a photograph. Pushing the shutter button is only a small part of creating a memorable image.

For instance, photographing this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, they used confetti cannons, which I’d never photographed before. When 14 year old Snigdha Nandipati, 14, from San Diego, CA correctly spelled “guetapens,” and they went off, it was a scene reminiscent of the Super Bowl or a “Survivor” finale (above).

Second-place finisher, Stuti Mishra, 14, of West Melbourne, FL applauds the winner:

And I loved this fleeting moment, after misspelling her word, Emma Ciereszynski gave the crowd some love:

After this year’s Bee, I accompanied 16 Archdiocese of Cincinnati Educators on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where they were paired up with Palestinian Christian educators. Documenting their life-changing journey, a common theme started to emerge — hands.


Renewal of Baptism on the Jordan River:

Emotion expressed by Archbishop Elias Chacour, who promotes reconciliation between Arabs and Israelis:

Fr. Rob Waller using a challis signed by all the Pilgrims with the backdrop of olive trees:

And the one photo that made my assignment worth all the time and effort covering the Pilgrimage. It appeared so quickly, then was gone.

We were in the Cenacle of Mount Zion, the Upper Room, where Christians believe the Last Supper was held, and Fr. Rob had been blessing everyone. When it came time to bless him, pilgrim educator Andrea Koverman, who is training to be a member of the Sisters of Charity, blessed him. That action alone was beautiful, spontaneous and fleeting. But what made it even more beautiful was the light coming through the window and having Andrea’s cousin, Sr. Kateri Koverman, who IS a Sister of Charity, appear between the two of them, and appearing to be looking on approvingly.

Making a photo like this one gives me great satisfaction but I’m equally disappointed if I miss the opportunity. It comes with the territory for a photographer.





Copyright 2012 Mark Bowen/
All rights reserved.