According to a newspaper reporter is the worst job to have in 2013.  It inhabits the basement of a list of 200.  Newspaper photographers (AHEM, photo-journalist) live 12 floors closer to the penthouse in the 188 spot in the wobbly world of journalism .  That means we get 12 times less abuse than our scribe brethren.

Now, the reporters I work with all seem to love what they do.  Most are endlessly curious about everything.  I guess if you are a war correspondent, hazards may be a little more intense than the run of the mill city council meeting.  Really, why would you want to be a reporter that writes or a writer that reports?  Go figure.

Without reporters where would we be? Really.  The internet would only be 1/4 successful without reporters, since a ton of web sites copy and paste every story created from news sites.  The culmination of the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was reported almost exclusively by a reporter from the Boston Globe who tweeted live updates during the standoff.  The small sentences were gripping and revealing and left the reader coming back time and again for updates.

It’s an example of the infinite amount of words that have ever been written by reporters, all the good, bad and ugly of our world history.

Abuse them, threaten them, rankle them.  Just like those Actuary professionals (people who interpret statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters) who rank #1 in the poll, it’s what you put in to the job that counts more than what you receive from it.

Now you say, what about those exciting photojournalists?

A few things.  Yes the hours can be cruddy.  I mean who wants to get up at three AM and cover the striping of a freeway?  Does the world turn any faster if the paper runs a photo of paint drying?  Well no.

Yes, shooting in the rain sucks.  Flood coverage is just as nasty, but it has to be done, otherwise no one will see what happened.

Forest fires are dangerous.  Smoky, hot, windy and stinky.  But again, I chose this profession, so why not shoot it?

Covering The Oakland and the Rodney King Riots were pretty hazardous and at times downright intimidating.

That ’89 earthquake was dizzying as were the Northridge and Eureka temblors. But hey, have camera will click.

Somebody has to photograph the World Series.

Somebody unfortunately, has to photograph the Superbowl.

Undeniably, someone has to hike three miles in 75 degree weather to take pictures of other people hiking three miles. I mean come on, three miles of beautiful cloudless weather in Sonoma County?  Gasp.

Yeah, those really difficult to photograph winter wine tastings in the Dry Creek Valley and all those happy 25 year-olds makes me wish I was somewhere else.

All the parades and all those people happy to be in them.  Hmm, it gets worse by the moment.

Man, what about the Sonoma County Fair? Fireworks shows?  All those people making a difference in the world?  Brutal. I mean come on, enough already.

What about those kids from Petaluma that went to Pennsylvania for some baseball tournament?  Someone had to cover it; unfortunately it was fun.

Thousands of stories.  And almost every story needs a photo.  Nearly 25,000 in 26 years.

Am I rich?  No.

But community rich.

Am I tired?

Mmm Hmm, I’m 50. But not tired of photographing life.

Am I happy?  Yes.

Happy that I have a wonderful family and live in an incredibly beautiful area.

Would I do anything else?

Heck no.  I’m near the bottom of the food chain and loving every minute of it.

In my book, It’s job #1.

One of my more brutal assignments, the Gualala River. Stop it, I just can't handle these difficult situations.

-Kent Porter