Photographer’s Q&A – Ian MacAlpine

This week’s Q&A is with Ian MacAlpine, multi-media journalist and photo/video co-ordinator for the Kingston Whig-Standard.


Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada compete in the pairs short program at the Skate Canada International event in Kingston, Ontario on Friday October 29th 2010. Photo by Ian MacAlpine/The Whig-Standard.


What were your first steps in the industry?

I started photography as a hobby as most people probably did. I liked going to Montreal Canadiens games so I would buy a ticket and take pictures with my camera and telephoto lens. While working as an office clerk at CP Rail in Montreal, I had a guy at work who was friends with a writer with The Hockey News. I met that fellow and he got me a photo pass for the Canadiens games at the Montreal Forum. I was then able to produce photos for The Hockey News and get published. At the games, all the photographers hung out together in a common room. There I met some great guys who showed me the ropes on how to be a local freelancer.

I was in photography school at the time (1978) and it was great to learn to be a photojournalist and get paid at the same time. During a very busy time in Montreal (early 1980’s), I was able to build up a respectable portfolio.


When you were just starting out in the industry, what did you want to do, and are you where you thought you would be now?

I was hoping to be a photographer for the Montreal Gazette or be a national photographer for The Canadian Press but that didn’t work out.

Things happen for a reason. I’m very happy working in a smaller community and documenting the trials and tribulations and the joys and sorrows of the Kingston community. I’ve had a front row seat on every big event in Kingston’s history for the past 27 years including a visit from Charles and Diana, Queen Elizabeth, every prime minster since Pierre Trudeau, as well as other big events in Kingston, Toronto, and around Canada.


Do you have a mentor?

Bill Grimshaw and Doug Ball were my mentors when I first started out in Montreal. I liked their style, the way they handled themselves, and their talent to get the right picture and get it out fast. I don’t have any mentors now.


A pick up truck full of illegal cigarettes was involved in an accident after being involved in a high speed chase with Ontario Provincial Police on Friday. The truck crashed just west of Kingston. The 401 highway westbound was closed for several hours while police investigated and the contraband cogarettes were cleaned up. A male driver was taken into custody and a female passenger received minor injuries. Photo by Ian MacAlpine/The Whig-Standard.


What or who are your biggest inspirations?

Just being able to have a career I enjoy and find challenging. In this day and age any job you have you should be happy with but I’m thankful that I have such a fun and inspiring job. Also I’m always motivated and inspired to go out to one day get that Ian MacAlpine iconic photo.


What was a pivotal point in your career?

Taking a job at the Kingston Whig-Standard in April of 1983.


Kevin Reynolds of Canada competes in the men’s short program at the Skate Canada International event in Kingston, Ontario on Friday October 29th 2010. Photo by Ian MacAlpine/The Whig-Standard.


What are you working on now?

I’m now the photo/video co-ordinator as well as multi-media journalist. So now my responsibilities include; taking photos, writing stories, shooting videos, training other staff in photography & video shooting, mentoring interns, maintaining our website and doing photo department administration work.


How important to you is multimedia?

Multimedia is another tool we can use to better communicate with our readers and followers on our website. Although I don’t think the traditional newspaper will ever go away, we have to embrace new technologies to keep the news fresh. Also, with our website, we can get our news just as fast or faster than our radio and television news competitors. We don’t have to wait until the next morning to get the information out.


Thomas Flager, 6, (left) and his twin brother Quentin along with big sister Nicole,  10, enjoy a refreshing spray of Lake Ontario water as they stand by the shore at Macdonald Park in Kingston on Monday. They were touring the downtown area with their aunt Ginger Gallagher and grandmother Rosella Gallagher. Photo by Ian MacAlpine/The Whig-Standard.


How do you ensure you are progressing as a photojournalist?

Trying to keep up with latest trends and technology.


What is your favourite way to unwind?

I’m a non-parent coach of a competitive hockey team of 10-year-olds. I find this hobby quite rewarding. Also, spending time with my great wife and wonderful adult children who are just about to embark on their own careers.


What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about being a photographer?

Be honest and conscientious. Always give your best effort on the assignment.


Sydenham Golden Eagles quarterback Steve Knapton tries to get away from the grasp of Frontenac Falcons Sam Jamieson during a rainy senior boys high school football game at Frontenac Secondary School. Knapton would go on to fumble the ball. Photo by Ian MacAlpine/The Whig-Standard.





Category: Photographer's Q&A


  • Rod MacIvor

    well done Ian…28 years at the Whig and still
    eager and keen! You set a great example for all those who wish to follow in your footsteps.

  • Adam Gagnon

    Love the crashed pickup with all the cigarettes…

    Big shout out to Ian for all the help he has given many Loyalist Interns at The Whig.

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