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2009 Conversations


2008 Conversations


Nancy Gibbs
12.30.07

Bruce Barry
12.23.07

Zollie L. Smith Jr.
12.16.07

Arlyn Pember
12.9.07

Gaylon Wampler
11.25.07

Nichole Nordeman
11.18.07

George O. Wood
11.11.07

Mandisa
10.21.07

David Aikman
10.14.07

Thomas Trask
9.30.07

Charles Crabtree
9.30.07

Russ Taff
9.23.07

Earl Creps
9.16.07

Tri Robinson
9.9.07

Ted Baehr
8.26.07

Thomas A. Grey
8.19.07

Charles Marshall
8.12.07

Steve Pike
7.29.07

Thomas E. Trask
7.22.07

Margaret Becker
7.15.07

Michael G. Spielman
7.8.07

John Ashcroft
6.24.07

Michael Landon, Jr.
6.17.07

Jerry Jenkins
6.10.07

Bear Rinehart
5.20.07

Beverly Lewis
5.13.07

John Rowland
4.29.07

David Barton
4.22.07

David Crowder
4.15.07

Randy Singer
4.8.07

Thomas E. Trask and Juleen Turnage
3.25.07

Chris Rice
3.18.07

Richard Dobbins
3.11.07

Patty Byrd Keating
2.25.07

David Gough
2.18.07

Ed Stetzer
2.11.07

Troy Polamalu
1.28.07

Ron Dicianni
1.21.07

Roundtable: Wilkerson, Smith, Canales
1.14.07


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Gaylon Wampler

One shot at a time

Photographer Gaylon Wampler has traveled the world shooting for Time, Newsweek, People, National Geographic and Today's Pentecostal Evangel. In 25 years as a photographer he has made a name for himself by taking tough assignments and being in the right place at the right time. Recently, Wampler spoke with Managing Editor Kirk Noonan about embracing adventure, photography, the impoverished, and the impact of sharing Christ's love.

tpe: You're not a name-dropper, but tell me some of the big-name people you've photographed.

WAMPLER: Pope John Paul II, Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, former National Football League quarterback John Elway, and many other celebrities and heads of state.

tpe: Didn't you win an award for the Elway photo?

WAMPLER: It won the Dave Boss Award of Excellence in 1995 and now hangs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

tpe: Where did you get your start in photography?

WAMPLER: At a weekly newspaper in Carrollton, Texas. I was offered a job after I submitted a story along with a few pictures. I took the position, but a year later I joined the Army.

tpe: Did that put your photography career hold?

WAMPLER: Actually, it jumpstarted it. I met a Korean War photographer and with his help I won many military photographic awards. He taught me how to develop patience for moments, and an eye for contrast and composition. Though I was a combat infantryman it wasn't long before my commanders had me filling my ammunition pouches with film and lenses rather than bullets.

tpe: After the Army did you have any big-break moments that told you photography is exactly what you needed to do with your life?

WAMPLER: In 1985 Mexico City was devastated by an earthquake. I was still in college at the time but I skipped classes for a week and went down there. For several days I roamed the streets, skipping meals and getting very little sleep. I tried to tell the story of devastation while following rescue teams.

The Associated Press hired me, which was a good break. But my big break came when I was in a hospital room photographing one of the earthquake victims and the president of Mexico came in to visit him. I got the pictures and AP was very happy. I knew then photography was what I was meant to do.

tpe: How has photojournalism changed since you started in it more than two decades ago? 

WAMPLER: Before digital cameras I would carry big cases on assignment filled with darkroom equipment and chemicals. When I covered professional football games I would set up a darkroom in a corner, shoot for a few minutes, process my film, then place the picture in a drum and send it to my paper over the phone line.

It was a lengthy process to get one picture. But from that I learned I had to take advantage of my shooting time and get the best image as fast as I could.

tpe: By traveling the world, what lessons have you learned?

WAMPLER: That I can't change the world. When you see the living conditions of Third World people you sometimes wonder if the Lord has forgotten them. But then you realize if you demonstrate Christ's love and have opportunity to introduce them to Christ, you can make them very rich spiritually. When you consider that, it's very powerful.

tpe: Describe some of your most adventurous assignments.

WAMPLER: To get the shots I've wanted I've had to travel deep into jungles, rappel down cliffs, spend a week in a snow cave with a survival guide, and live in claustrophobic quarters with sailors on a submarine.

tpe: Where is the intersection for you with living a Christlike life and having an adventurous spirit?

WAMPLER: I try to take assignments that make me face my fears or I know will cause hardship physically, emotionally or psychologically. I'm not an adrenaline junkie by any means, but hardships force me to think more about Jesus and how good He is to me. That makes me feel alive and reminds me to be thankful for all the good things He has brought into my life.

tpe: So, living an adventurous life is not just about getting a good shot; it's about drawing closer to the Lord?

WAMPLER: I'd say so. To deny God opportunity to work in my life would be to try and take back control of my life. That's never a good idea.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

 

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