Iconic images on display as Sun-Times photographers protest layoffs

July 30, 2013 (CHICAGO)

On Tuesday, some of those photojournalists displayed their work at a public protest.

It can take hundreds of words to describe a news event, but the essence of the story can be captured in a single photograph.

Pictures showing Ray Charles at a gig in Chicago, a grief-stricken woman at a funeral or Michael Jordan celebrating yet another NBA championship- all images from the Sun-Times archive on display Tuesday.

Scott Stewart holds the photo that got him hired at the newspaper 25 years ago. It shows firefighters in action.

"When I went to cover an assignment anywhere in this town, it was for the people who couldn't be there. I was their eyes, along with my fellow co-workers," said Scott Stewart, photojournalist.

Stewart and his coworkers were laid off from the Sun-Times exactly two months ago.

That's when the paper terminated its entire full-time photography department, comprised of 28 photojournalists.

Included was Pulitzer Prize winner, John H. White.

"I'm still too hurt to cry," said John H. White, photojournalist.

To protest the layoffs, some of the fired photographers stood in front of the Sun-Times headquarters Tuesday morning holding 20 enlargements of photographs.

They were joined by reporters, who are now responsible for taking pictures.

"Our photos just can't compare. There's a soul and a life and a vibrance that the photographers bring," said Maureen O'Donnell, Sun-Times reporter.

"While our reporters are doing the best they can to take photos with their iPhones and still trying to deliver quality stories, visually, the story has taken a big hit," said Beth Kramer, Chicago Newspaper Guild.

This protest comes as the Chicago Newspaper Guild continues to try and negotiate a new contract for Sun-Times employees.

The previous three-year contract expired last October.

White, who's a mentor to much of the staff, says he doesn't know whether they will be re-hired.

"My responsibility right now is to let them know that there is hope. There is hope," said White.

The Chicago Sun-Times did not return calls from ABC7 regarding the protests.

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