“Man bites dog” is how the old saying goes. It means that there is something a little different about a story. After all, dogs biting people is fairly common, and, unless very serious injuries occur, not very newsy. But if the situation is turned around, then it becomes more interesting.
Newspapers are always looking for a different angle on stories we’ve covered time and again. It’s the same with news photography. While day-to-day things are different, we are often called upon to shoot the same annual events again and again. Finding things that are different, even just a little so, helps to keep creativity alive.
I recently saw Christine Craft and Dennis Braun sitting under the sunshine on the grass at Victory Park in Stockton throwing a tennis ball for their dog, Dakota, to fetch. Nothing very different, but it showed what a pleasant day it was. They tossed the ball a few times and Dakota dutifully and cheerfully brought it back.
Then Craft, trying to free the freshly returned ball out of the dog’s mouth, bent over and grasped it in her own mouth as well. The two had an impromptu mouth-to-mouth tug-of-war over the ball (though I guess that if Dakota really wanted to rip the ball from Craft’s teeth, she would have no problem).
Photos of people sunning themselves are pretty ordinary, as are ones of people out playing with their dogs, but when Craft bit into the ball when her dog did, it became a woman-bites-dog type of picture.