David Ballou teaches his photojournalism students to watch for the “decisive moment,” the split second when a photo opportunity presents itself. (The term, “decisive moment”, is credited to the French photojournalist, Henri Cartier-Bresson.)
“It’s about being aware of your environment, and developing a sense of when a picture is about to happen,” he says. “Whether you’re doing still photojournalism or video photojournalism, you have to be ready to capture an image.” David’s work is powerfully illustrated through this series of faculty photographs, designed to capture the essence of each professor. As a photographer, he points to his grandfather – a turn of the century Boston portrait painter – as the greatest influence on his work.
“His portraits always allowed his subjects to make a statement about who they were; in the same way, I photograph people the way I see them.” Additionally, David studied with Boston portrait photographer David Brooks, of Fabian Bachrach’s Studio.
It is the love of making pictures that tell stories that Professor Ballou works to instill in his students, many of whom have become award winning television photojournalists in their own right. He also strives to convince students of their individual potential, and to make each one realize that they are capable of doing considerably more than they may think they are capable of performing.
“I’ll have to admit that I can be demanding,” he says. “Challenge isn’t always comfortable, and the act of rising to a challenge with no guarantee of success is rarely painless. But it’s worth it.”