Link to the home page.Link to a small biography of Joel Davis' life.Link to a page about Joel Davis' time as a journalist.Link to the different types of photos Joel Davis has taken.Link to a few of Joel Davis' most popular photos.Link to information regarding Joel Davis' freelancing opportunities.Link to Joel Davis' contact information.


I've always loved a good story--whether told around a campfire, on a movie screen or on the printed page. As a young kid, I think my earliest career hope was to be a stand-up comic. Too shy for that, I decided to become a cartoonist for Walt Disney. I delivered newspapers in my neighborhood, and as I'd fold the 113 Sacramento Bees each day, I'd see that front page photo so many times--I began to dream about doing my story-telling in newsprint.
In the 50s, nobody had heard of "attention deficit disorder", but I was surely a textbook case--I hated being bored and would quickly become involved in whatever was going outside the window, on another planet from whatever the teacher was lecturing about. I followed my nose and ended up shooting pictures for different newspapers.
The appeal was magnetic. A different story everyday, sometimes three or four. A new situation, a new adventure, something fresh that I'd never seen before--I'd have gladly paid for this fun, and here somebody was putting money in my pocket while I satisfied my thirst for adventure.
Police Officers in a Standoff
An average day? There were no average days--everyday was different. Everyday had the potential for exploding into something huge--the Big Story. But even the little stories were big to the people I was shooting, and that made them exciting as well. I enjoy people, and I enjoyed listening, hearing their stories. I had an uncle who told my Dad, "Joel would make a great salesman," but I hated closing the deal, asking people for their money--as a newspaper photographer, closing the deal meant simply pushing the shutter.
Fighting Pitbull to be put to sleep.
  Forty years in the business actually went by quickly. Now the business is going through changes, tough times. The computer and the worldwide web has changed the nature of communication, the media, the entire model of how people get their news. Journalism is a profession, with standards, but now anyone can declare themselves "bloggers" and say just about anything. There are no editors, no fact-checkers, no safeguards. It's an exciting and chaotic time ahead.
  Young people ask me about the business, and I'm not sure what to tell them. Learn to use your tools, and you may end up making pictures, although it may be for someone's wedding album, not for a magazine or a newspaper. Times are changing and they're changing fast. We have to change with them.
  It's really not about newspapers, magazines, books, TV, youtube, flickr or any of those formats. It's about communicating--telling our stories.
When horseless carriages began to roll down the rural roads, scaring the livestock--I'm certain there were many who held onto their buggywhips and swore they'd never give up their buckboard. But the true issue wasn't the auto versus the horse; just like now it isn't cars versus bikes, or trains versus jets--mobility is a necessity, though the form may change over time. Just as story telling is essential. The caveman drawing pictures of the hunt with charcoal on the cave wall is seamlessly linked to the guy on the iPhone, uploading his video via wifi to a youtube channel. We all love a good story.


All photos are owned and under copyright of Joel Davis and/or The Oregonian
© 2008, Jack Davis