Archive for Thursday, December 30, 1999


December 30, 1999


Mike Yoder has a new exhibit highlighting his career photographing newsworthy people and places.

When Mike Yoder looks through a camera lens, he's searching for an image that will tell a story in a single shot.

It's a unique form of journalism -- telling news events without text -- and Yoder has spent 16 years looking for just the right person or place to profile in the pages of the Lawrence Journal-World.

Using a 35-millimeter Nikon and shooting in both black-and-white and in color, Yoder's job is to find the one image that will sum up an entire newsprint story, or to find pictures that will stand alone as their own features in the newspaper.

"I look for the one image that will tell a story in a concise and artistic way," Yoder said. "It has to be fairly recognizable and immediate for the readers, and it can't be abstract or too subtle."

Shooting pictures is Yoder's chosen career, but when the scene is right the photos often take on their own artistic form.

Over the years he's shot reams of film -- breaking news stories, sports and features. His specialty is stand-alone shots, pictures that highlight various people and events apart from any written material.

"It's a feature aspect, documenting Lawrence daily events and people in natural locations," he said.

His work will be on display beginning Monday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth. "Stories in 1/250th of a Second" showcases material that Yoder has shot as a photojournalist. Other photos will include personal projects Yoder has undertaken, such as attending and photographing various music concerts and community festivals.

The exhibit is Yoder's way of celebrating his photojournalism career, and it gives patrons a chance to review past Lawrence news events.

"It's an opportunity for a photojournalist to give people a second look at an image," Yoder said. "Hopefully, it will give the community a chance to take a fun look back at material from the Journal-World."

Doing the job

As the chief photographer for the Journal-World, Yoder will often shoot five to seven assignments daily. He also manages the photo lab, and he coordinates the schedules of five full-time photographers and five part-timers.

They shoot news events as they unfold, but also work on long-term projects. One New Year's Day assignment will find Yoder and several other photographers documenting the holiday hour by hour as events unfold in Lawrence.

The staff also stays on top of new technology that revolutionizes the way they take pictures. The digital cameras they sometimes use mean staff members can shoot an event, load the digital card into a computer and print photos. This process completely bypasses using a darkroom.

Yoder is using the new technical advances in his exhibit and in his own personal photography.

"Things are changing so quickly, and (the exhibit) shows the movement of photography into the next century," he said.

Yoder is exhibiting several photos that he produced on his home computer and printed on a digital ink-jet printer. The banner the arts center will use to promote Yoder's work will also feature a 7-foot-by-5-foot photo of Yoder's that was digitally reproduced by Star Signs.

On his own time

Yoder is rarely without a camera, and he often takes pictures at the various music festivals he attends. He plays guitar in the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, and the group often plays gigs sponsored by the Kansas Arts Commission. Some of his photos from the Walnut Valley Festival will appear in the exhibit.

The band rehearses weekly and plays an eclectic mix of string, bluegrass and other tunes.

"We're kind of a mix of Spike Jones and Bill Monroe," he said with a laugh.

And what does he want viewers to see in his latest photo display?

"I want to capture in photography things people don't usually notice, and to find humor in the ordinary," Yoder said.

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to


What: "Stories in 1/250th of a Second," photographs by Mike Yoder.

When: Monday through Feb. 4.

Where: Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth.

Reception: From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 7.

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