Westport — long known as an artists’ colony — has been home to photographers too. For a few years, we were even the site of the Famous Photographers’ School.
Today, though, is our true photographic heyday. Three of the top photojournalists in the world hail from Westport. All attended Staples in the 1980s.
American Photo Magazine’s current issue includes — in a story on small-town newspapers — this amazing trio: Tyler Hicks, Spencer Platt and Lynsey Addario.
Hicks and Platt both started their professional careers not in Westport, but at the small Troy (Ohio) Daily News. Hicks moved quickly to the New York Times, where since 2001 he has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Platt now works for Getty Images. He photographed the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006 (and won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his shot of grinning Lebanese girls in front of a devastated building). He also worked in Iraq, Liberia, Congo and Indonesia.
Addario — another prize-winner — is a noted Times photographer herself.
The American Photo Magazine piece examines the role small-town newspapers play in a photographer’s career — and what those photos mean to a community. In the internet age, photographers lament the loss of a reliable, professional outlet for their work.
Platt says of his early days: “We awoke each morning excitedly going through the paper to see how big our images appeared. Front page, a photo spread, a bad crop, 6 columns, color, black and white. We were either mortified or euphoric.”
He recalls covering his 1st tragedy: a car accident outside of Troy. He photographed a grieving mother.
In the years since, he says, he has covered wars and disasters throughout the world. But the 1 person he will never forget is “that young man spread out in the field under a beautiful blue sky. It was my introduction to the news.”