Longtime Gazette photographer Dan Lassiter says farewell

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Dan Lassiter
May 15, 2015

Since starting as a photographer at The Gazette in July 1996, I've made thousands of pictures—from presidents to pork producers.

I've shot hundreds of high school graduates launching into the rest of their lives, an almost endless assortment of kids doing the crazy stuff kids do and the best and the worst that southern Wisconsin has to offer.

I retire Monday. My wife, Sue, and I plan to move to Illinois to be nearer to my family.

I'll miss being a photojournalist . The photo bug bit when I was a teen after winning a plastic camera as a prize for selling the most bags of popcorn in my Cub Scout pack. Soon, I was developing my own film in a darkroom Dad and I built in our basement.

I consider myself lucky that the hobby I loved as a young boy became my career. I am thankful that I have been able to do something I love every day.

Some of my favorite photos at The Gazette are the simplest. The image of spotted white horse grazing in a green field near a red barn is one of my lucky finds and remains a favorite.

As I cruised Janesville hunting for feature photos, I often was surprised by the wild things people do. Some of those photographs brought praise. Others generated reader anger.

In February, reporter Jake Magee and I were looking for people out in the snow and cold. After I photographed a lady in a blue coat walking a black dog puffing vapor, I asked her for her name. Karalee Briggs noted, quite happily, that I had photographed her six years before.

She went on to describe one of my all-time favorite photos: a woman in the street walking two dogs through a tunnel of snow-covered trees. When they arrived at an intersection, one dog had looked left and the other right. As I clicked the shutter I knew I had something special.

Six winters later, Karalee shared how she had heard from people all over the world about the photograph of her and her dogs. It had run as the lead photo on the cnn.com weather page. I got emails from people as far away as England.

And so there I was, just a few months from retirement, again photographing Karalee and Boomer, one of the same dogs from the earlier photo.


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