What makes for a great newspaper photograph?
There are many things, of course.
But one of the most important is that an image tells a story immediately, without words.
That’s what Fernando Salazar’s photo at left does. Salazar won our most recent in-house photo contest with this shot of a Kansas Humane Society worker holding a dog before it was euthanized.
And though voters didn’t give a reason for picking their winner, it’s safe to say that the emotion captured in this image affected many of them.
The touching embrace of worker and dog tells the story in an instant: compassion for an animal whose life is about to end.
The photo was part of a Sunday front-page story about Wichita’s animal shelters, which euthanized roughly 10,000 adoptable pets last year.
That’s a painful statistic, and Salazar’s photograph captures a tender moment before the pain. This mixed-breed dog, which was unsociable, would not live much longer.
The worker feels the impending loss, as do we.
That’s the heart of the story, told without words. Something only a great photograph can do.