From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Scouts and photography: a natural match

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register

(From the Nov. 14, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

Boy Scouting and photography are meant for each other. Think of a Scout in uniform. The cut, the color, the badges of rank and merit which distinguish the Scout uniform from other clothing cry out to be photographed. And the Scout often is active in surroundings of natural beauty and is sometimes in a scene of rescue or relief.

But it seems that many good photos are never taken. Often I have received a handful of pictures and find not one that is good for publication, in this column or anywhere. This comes from not distinguishing between portraits and pictures of action. Scouting is action: climbing, hiking, building a “tent city,” cooking, tracking, exploring, campfire storytelling, doing good turns, marching, and other action. But many photos show none of this. They show one or more Scouts staring at the camera lens.

Newspaper photos are more likely to include action because reader interest is in the action, not in the person doing it.

Scout action pictured

How about it? Is there a Scout or Scouter willing to buy a good camera and acquire the know-how of action photography? It is no easy. But it would be a great good turn for Scouting. The “one-two-three-smile” of friends would not be there to accommodate the photographer. The camera must ready for the distance, light, action, and other circumstances.

Perhaps a good theme would be the Scouting career of a younger brother or son – a record of his entry into Scouting and his climb to Eagle rank, recording his adventures in mind, in body and in Scouting skill, not just the courts of honor where he smiled at receiving a medal.

Look in the Scout Handbook for countless activities that Scouts must do or wish to do. Build up a gallery of Scouts you work with or guide and photograph them to show their action, even if you do not show their faces.

Encourage Scouts in your photos to wear their uniforms, so that the full charm of Scouting may come through. Take your camera when you travel to other countries and try to show the worldwide range of Scouting.

I don’t know if is true that a good photo is better than a thousand words. But Scouting deserves the best of photography.

Coming Events

• Bishop’s Recognition Day, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2003, 2 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane. Bishop Skylstad will confer religious medals on Scouts and other youth who have earned them.


For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact

Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, Emilie Court, 34 E. 8th Ave., Room 318, Spokane, WA 99202-1202. Phone: (509) 458-7674; or

Joe Schmitz, chair of Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 400 S. Jefferson St., Suite 112, Spokane, WA 99204. Phone: (509) 747-7499.

Click here for the web site of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting!

Inland Register archives

© The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane. All Rights Reserved