“Faces….great photojournalism is all about faces,” an editor told Dennis Vandal early in his career. It proved to be a crucial lesson that helped Dennis define his entire approach to photography in general, and photojournalism in particular.
People photography is at the core of Dennis’s work and it has led him to a wide variety of assignments yielding photographs that have been published in newspapers and magazines all over the world. He has done hundreds of assignments for the Boston Globe and the Associated Press, as well as numerous corporate clients. He also won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International.
Dennis has successfully made the transition from film to digital imaging, but he refuses to throw away the quality of the old processes. “On a professional level, I’ve switched over to digital imaging and I think it’s very exciting, but I’ll always keep my ‘old school’ black-and-white capabilities, mainly for personal fine art work,” he said. He uses the latest Nikon gear and software and frequently brings his laptop to assignments, to transmit his images. “The new digital capabilities have opened my career to remarkable new possibilities and I’m thrilled by all of it,” he said.
Early in his career, his talents as a lecturer were recognized by the Eastman Kodak Company, which asked him to develop day-long seminars for professional photographers on how to run an independent, flexible studio.
He became a member of the adjunct faculty in 1998 at Northeastern University in Boston, where he teaches the traditions, contemporary practices and future directions of photojournalism to a new generation. Dennis also began teaching at UMass-Amherst in 2005. There, he was one of the first instructors to record and distribute his photojournalism lectures as digital sound (MP3) files through the UMass Internet-based learning program.
He continues to learn and innovate with the digital workflow as he experiments with the potentials of images and sound in multimedia communications.