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Pultizer-Prize Winning Photographer Captivates Aspiring Journalists At Ole Miss

On Thursday morning in the Overby Center of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Bill Frakes gave a presentation to gathered students and community members. Frakes has been the recipient of hundreds of awards for his work, both in the US and internationally, as he has worked in over 140 countries. 
Frakes is currently on the masthead of Sports Illustrated, and he has constituted to ESPN, along with countless other publications during his esteemed career. Frakes has also produced ad campaigns for top companies such as Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola. 
Frakes told the audience how storytelling can be done by anyone, not just those who own a major news network. He urged those in attendance to go out and start telling stories on their own instead of waiting to be told what to do. 
“This is the best time ever to be a journalist,” Frakes said. “You don’t have to own a printing press or a television network; you just have to have the ability to get where you want to be and do the work you want to do, and you can publish it yourself.”
During the lecture, Frakes shared numerous short films with the audience, including a short story about a couple he met at a diner. After a 95-year-old man asked Frakes what he was eating, the discussion grew to include Frakes and his wife’s full story. Frakes knows how important it is to continuously search for stories, no matter where one may go. 
“If you keep your eyes open, pay attention, and you’re sensitive to people, I think you’re always going to find a lot of stories,” Frakes said. “If you can help people understand, that’s a gift. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things in a lot of great places, but you get to meet people and do things that are remarkable. Sometimes, there’s a story that you just want to tell because you think there’s a message that you should share.”
Frakes noted that he never leaves home without a camera, but that’s not the most important thing in his mind.  
“I try to bring my brain along, and my heart,” Frakes said. “You make pictures with your heart, your eye, your mind, your soul, your spirit. The camera is just a capture device, just like a computer is to a writer. You have to somehow get what you’re feeling, seeing, thinking and sensing, and put it in a 2-D form that you can share with people.”
Frakes gave his advice to aspiring journalists and urged them to continue to actively search for opportunities. 
“Curiosity has to play a major role in your life if you’re a journalist. If you don’t want to know what’s next, then this probably isn’t the right idea for you,” Frakes said. “In this industry right now, there are all kinds of opportunities to do work. You just have to go out and find them.”

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com
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