February 10, 2013

Brian Snyder had no idea his storm photo appeared on the front pages of four major newspapers this weekend until people started sending him links about it, he said by phone Sunday afternoon.

These four papers (and a few more) featured Snyder’s photo on Saturday’s front page.

A senior photographer for Thomson Reuters, Snyder has covered five presidential campaigns, the Super Bowl, and most recently a snowball fight between students at Harvard and MIT.

The 44-year-old is based in Boston, where on Friday in front of South Station, he captured the now-ubiquitous image of a pedestrian heading into the winter weather that was bearing down on the northeast.

Photo courtesy Brian Snyder/Reuters

“You have to be situationally aware” to find the story in the storm, Snyder said. “What’s fun about it? What’s a bummer about it? At the start, the wind was ferocious and it wasn’t that cold yet, so the stuff falling was sharp and hurt” like needles. His photo conveyed that feeling to readers of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Washington Post and other local papers that featured it on their front pages.

Snyder doesn’t know whether the pedestrian was a man or a woman. “When you’re bundled up in the cold like that it’s kind of hard to tell,” and he didn’t have a chance to talk with the person, or get a name as s/he rushed by.

The photo was captured using a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. “The exposure is a kind of crazy digital one of ISO800, 1/250th of a second at f/7,” he explained by email.

Snyder “fell into” photojournalism, he said. After graduating from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, “I worked at a camera store with a guy who worked for the UPI at the time. He got me connected with UPI and Reuters, and it built from there.” Snyder freelanced for Reuters from 1989 to 2005, then was hired on staff.

“Being a one-person bureau in Boston, I get variety, that’s what makes the job fun,” he said. “There’s politics, culture, there’s arts and there’s news and sports, but you’re not covering the president all the time.”

By Sunday afternoon, the winter storm had passed, and Snyder was photographing Cambridge rivals MIT and Harvard in a snowball fight his wife learned about online.

“We needed a little more storm coverage today,” he said, and “how many storm pictures have editors looked at in the last two and a half days? To get their attention it has to be a pretty good picture.”

It was.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University students have a snow ball fight in Cambridge, Massachusetts February 10, 2013 following a winter blizzard which dumped up to 40 inches of snow with hurricane force winds, killing at least nine people and leaving hundreds of
thousands without power. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
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Julie Moos (jmoos@poynter.org) has been Director of Poynter Online and Poynter Publications since 2009. Previously, she was Editor of Poynter Online (2007-2009) and Poynter Publications…
Julie Moos

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