What was your introduction to photography and photojournalism?
Dean Rutz: My father worked at the Chicago Tribune his whole life. He was an executive at the newspaper and was reading through two or three papers at the kitchen table every morning, so newspapers were something I always paid attention to. Because of that, my interest in photography was always related to photojournalism. I first got published in newspapers at 14 years old. I was shooting high school sports for the local papers. There was a huge appetite for that, so they were hiring stringers all the time at $25 for a picture of anything!
I was actually a photo editor at the Seattle Times for 10 years. I was also shooting for the paper when the need arose, but in 1992 I covered the Barcelona Olympics and I became really enamored with the spectacle of sport. It was then that I committed myself almost full-time to sports photography, while still working as a photo editor. After 1998 I left the desk and went back to full-time shooting.
John Lok: I had a business undergraduate degree and was doing social work when I was younger. I only discovered photography when I was about 28. It happened when I spent a weekend up at a cousin’s house in Canada. Photography was something he did as a hobby. We went to a local park and I started taking pictures with his gear, of pretty generic stuff like flowers and ducks. Later we got the pictures back from the one hour photo lab and…I can’t really explain it but I just fell in love. Something about the photography process and the gear just lit a fire in me.