When Bill Tarutis earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from Penn State University he always saw himself with a career as a college educator. And he achieved that becoming a full-time professor of natural sciences at Lackawanna College.
Along the way, he developed (no pun intended) an interest in photography which he said he always thought would be a hobby. Then in May of 2007, he shot a Memorial Day parade in Dupont for the Sunday Dispatch and now photographs close to a thousand events a year. Some hobby.
Tarutis, who is still a full-time professor, won a National Press Photographers Association first place award for the month of August. It was his fourth NPPA award but first for a Sunday Dispatch photo.
The winning photo, shown here, captures what television's Wide World of Sports used to call the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Tarutis said he did not realize until later that sitting on second base while the winners celebrated was the boy who made the final out of the game. I was just looking for a jubilation shot, he said.
Tarutis, who has become well known throughout Greater Pittston, says he sometimes shoots as many as 20 assignments in a week.
My wife Mary Ann thinks I'm crazy, he said.
Sunday Dispatch Editor Ed Ackerman said the newspaper congratulates Tarutis, but nobody is surprised by the award.
We are quite fortunate at the Dispatch that Dr. Bill Tarutis enjoys photojournalism so much that he is willing to spend a good deal of his time when he is not teaching at Lackawanna College shooting photos for the Sunday Dispatch, Ackerman said. Bill takes his photography most seriously, keeps working to enhance his skills, and never seems in a hurry. He is always willing to stick around at an event until he has the shots he is looking for. All of which is a great benefit to Dispatch readers.
Tarutis won a first place Keystone Press Award for 2011 for a photo essay he did for the Dispatch on the opening mass of Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Church in Avoca. He won a national first place award for a photo which appeared in the Times Leader and was taken outside of the federal courthouse in Scranton during the Judge Mark Ciavarella trial.
According to its mission statement, The National Press Photographers Association is dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism – its creation, practice, training, editing and distribution – in all news media and works to promote its role as a vital public service.