Andrew “Moose” Brown of Lewiston performs a backflip into the Clearwater River in August 2021 in Lewiston, Idaho.
The story behind the photo: One of my favorite parts about working at the Lewiston Tribune is that it had always been a photojournalist-friendly newspaper, and it’s been like that for decades. Instead of spending a lot of time at Ccity Council meetings or mundane court hearings, or other things that weren’t especially visually interesting, they wanted us to go out and find photos that we liked. And the readers typically liked what we found to be visually interesting. So we would spend about four hours a day just feature hunting … every day. Some days it was easy, some days it was really difficult.
In the summer of 2021, the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley suffered through over 20 days of 100-plus-degree weather. Two major rivers converge in the valley, so there are a lot of opportunities to find people cooling off in the hot weather.
Andrew “Moose” Brown and his buddy were sitting on a dock as I walked by, and I saw that they had wet hair, and I just assumed they were jumping into the river. After walking down there to greet them, I noticed they had a backpack full of beer and were just enjoying themselves, and we talked for a few minutes. I explained to them what I was doing, whom I worked for and asked if I could just hang out with them for a little while. So they drank, and we talked, and then they decided to cool off in the river. And as Moose jumped in, it was just pure luck that the timing was perfect. There wasn’t much more to it. Just perfect timing based on frames per second.
But it’s never easy to walk up to strangers and ask to hang out and take their pictures. It doesn’t always work out like that. About half the time people tell me to buzz off (using an assortment of expletives), but when you run into some nice people and treat them kindly and then leave with a good photo, it makes your week.
Advice: One piece of advice I will never forget (except for the fact that I forgot who gave it to me) was: Whenever you think you see a picture, stop what you’re doing and make the photo … typically you won’t regret it.
My advice to younger photographers is a couple of things:
- Bring a camera wherever you go and be kind to people.
- There are small papers out there that badly need photojournalists. Just because you work at a small newspaper doesn’t mean you can’t make amazing photographs.
BIO & CONTACT
My name is Pete Caster, and I love making photographs. It doesn’t really matter what the subject is; I just enjoy the process. I am a visuals editor and journalist at the Tacoma News Tribune in western Washington. Previously, I worked at the Lewiston Tribune for four years, and before that, I was at the Centralia Chronicle. I would say that 90% of my entries that placed in the monthly clip contest in 2021 came from Lewiston. The freedom they gave us to experiment in Lewiston truly allowed me to develop my eye as a photographer.
You can see my work at petecaster.com and follow me on Instagram @petecasterphoto or on Twitter @pete_caster.
Peter Caster was awarded second place 2022 Best of Photojournalism Photographer of the Year, Small Market. He has been an NPPA member since 2012.