Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Friday, Otherwise Known as Crazy

Last Friday was a crazy day, I had three set assignments and then for some reason the people of Erie decided that Friday would be a good day to get into car accidents, light things on fire, and slit a store owner's throat. My first sport news sounds interesting and terrifying but ended up being a dud. My second spot news was a man who was cooking with oil and set the pan fire which then caused him to receive second degree burns. The day was very fast paced and I surprised even myself when I recognized how much I enjoyed all of the activity for the day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It's that photograph that got away. I saw this happen and was too quick to press the shutter before remember that I sliced off a woman. Ops. I hate when this happens. Everyone has these moments but here's hoping I don't have too many more of them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Belligerent Drunks and Journalists

Yesterday my editor sent me out to shoot my first video assignment for the newspaper. Local skateboards decided to 'bomb the bayfront'. This meant that they skated from one of the nearby colleges to the same Bayfront Convention Center that hosted Dick Cheney. How diverse. I was so glad that I took a video class this past semester, otherwise hives would've most certainly set in. Check out the video: (scroll to midway in the page)

A few days ago I had my first difficult encounter. There is a family who lives in Erie that I've photographed a few times, and hope to do a story on them. There are two children and parents, but their situation and hardship effects on the family dynamic is what I want to story to be about. Their drunk neighbor didn't see it that. He continued to ask me what I was doing there, why I needed to take pictures, and then he asked me "Why are you taking advantage of these people? Stop exploiting the poor." I explained to him that I was here to photograph the family and their relationship, to deaf ears. He kept telling me that I was exploiting and taking advantage of people. He then told me that he was their landlord and to get off his property. Not knowing the family well enough to know who their landlord was, I left.

This is something that you hear journalist talk about, it was something I wasn't prepared for. In school professors talk about exposure and composition and where it is legal and ethical to photograph. I think learning to deal with difficult people can't be taught.

I'd like to say that I was uneffected, but I was sad. I never thought that what I did could be viewed as exploitive, that was naive. It still burned knowing that this wouldn't be the last time that I'm called exploitative or acused of using someone else's problems to further my position.

Here's hoping I'm better prepared for the future.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dick Cheney and Erie

My third week is coming to an end and I think I'm finally beginning to catch up with the newspaper pace. Yesterday Former Vice President Dick Cheney came to Erie. While many people came to listen to him speak at the local convention center, I got to spend time with the 30 or so people outside of the convention center. They were primarily younger and liked to talk about Cheney being a big oil supporter and a war criminal. There were bongo playing protesters who didn't feel the need to shave and young adults with multiple piercings and sprinkled in between to outspoken protesters were the calm one's who preferred to show their feelings through costume. One woman dressed in the orange jump suit of a prisoner and a another dress like the prisoners from Abu Ghraib. Quite a collection.

Later tonight I'm going to be photographing a hot air balloon event, which should be really visually interesting. Here's hoping I don't get lost on my way to Meadville.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Where Do Women Fit?

Two weeks down and eight to go in Erie. I've finally gotten to talk with the other interns at the paper and one intern and I had a particularly boring assignment, remodeling at a Wal-Mart Super Center but we got a chance to talk about work. She's a writing intern and we both were curious about what the other did, soon talk turned to the future. We both have concerns about where we may find work but also how does a woman fit into a working environment.
Does being a career woman mean ultimately scarficing a family or significant other? Does it mean women who are career orienated are doomed to become an Anna Wintour or Barbara Walters? On the other side, does having a family and being a mother then mean that your career is pushed off? I guess these are all questions that young women ask themselves as they set out to join the working force.

Wednesday was a busy day for me, I had three shoots, two of which weren't really what I thought I would ever be doing, studio work. One of the reasons I choose photojournalism as my major was because I wanted to be out in the world, seeing people and learning about different cultures and because I detest studio work. I'm afraid of lighting kits, hate posing people, and suck at figuring out lighting ratios. My first shoot was with postcards and the second was food. I read my assignment sheets and could feel the hives slowly forming. Luckily at the food shoot one of the staff photographers was there and he was amazing! Explaining everything to me while still allowing the shoot to be under my direction, he had so much patience! In the end, I only liked one but made it through the shoot.

One final cherry on my sundae was that I had the correct name of a person and the writer didn't. Photographer right, writer wrong! Slowly but surely I'm improving! Here's hoping that continues.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Things They Don't Tell You at a Newspaper Internship

1.) When the appropriate time to eat lunch is
2.) Why there are so many one-ways in Erie, PA
3.) When you cover a fire, you will smell like an ashtray

So as you may or may not have guessed, I got to go shoot a fire. Here is my disclaimer, I never would want anyone's home or business to be destroyed and I would never want any harm on anything living, but it was really interesting to photograph. I heard the call over the police scanner and turned to the staff photographer and asked if I could tag along with him. He then told me that he couldn't go but that I could. I was so excited, it was my first chance at breaking news. Myself and another intern rushed into the company car and headed down route 19 towards the fire. We only knew that 3 fire companies were there and that an ambulance had been called. That's it. I guess that's why breaking news is such a gamble. The other intern and I got a chance to talk, and both agreed that being excited for a fire made us feel like horrible horrible people.

Seeing someone's home destroyed, was awful. To imagine that everything you ever owned gone makes you realize what you have. I tried to get close but to also be respectful, it's a hard thing to do. Much more difficult than I had expected. Here's hoping the family finds a the help they need. On a brighter note I did get to photograph some other things today and one of them was a garden at an elementary school.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1st and 2nd Day

Day 1: June 1, 2010
I left home with 25,900 miles on my car, a full tank of gas, and a stomach full of nerves. I won't be returning home until Thanksgiving and that's makes me anxious and excited all at once. Saying goodbye to friends, family, and loved ones is hard. I think it was harder than when I said goodbye the summer after I graduated high school. It probably is because these internships are one more step to becoming a bona fide adult. The water works happened and passed, hopefully, and I’ve made to Erie, PA. I’m currently residing at a good friend’s house Sarah Priestap. Sadly I only got to see her briefly before she set out to Harrisburg Pennsylvania for her summer internship. My first day started at 9:00am, I was able to meet my editor and got to shadow him for the first part of the day. Then around 2:15pm, Chris(my editor) told me that I had an assignment. I was to shoot a memorial for recently deceased high school football coach. I set out for Girard, PA. I remember thinking that I need to impress Chris. All I could think while I was driving was: remember to meter, get correctly spelled names, get a good white balance, and finally last but not least moments (thank you William Snyder).
Pulling into the empty high school parking lot was like feeling my stomach drop out of my body. Chris said he wanted the images to convey a sense of the amount of people that cared about this coach. An empty parking conveys the exact opposite. I didn’t want to return empty handed so I started to think of what I could do, and as I photographed a few people came by and hung flowers or cards on the fence. This fence was covered with flowers and I was so relieved that people had come. Then I was worried about intruding on grief, but then remembered that it was my job to show how much people cared. It was an odd revelation and I worked myself up so that I could approach the situation, luckily it didn’t really present itself. I got back 40 minutes late and was preparing myself for the lecture of lifetime or at least a very red faced editor but Chris didn’t yell or scream just plopped down at a computer and began to look through my photos with me. I couldn’t believe it, the last thing I expected was for him go through my photos with me. Then to stun me even more, he told me how to improve them! How great is that? In an age where interns are absolutely the body of the pole/food chain, my editor was sitting there talking about my photos!

Day 2: June 2, 2010
I started this day earlier and was determined to stay within my allotted time frame for shooting, which I did. I got to shadow another photographer from the newspaper. We went on two assignments, the first was a portrait of two men in charge of a museum, and the second was a city council meeting. Of the two, the city council meeting was the better by far. You wouldn’t believe the characters that come out of the woodwork to lecture to the city council. They were more animated which inherently made them easier to photograph. While at the meeting I tried to stay out of the Jack’s (staff photographer) way and decided to photograph the people sitting in the back of the room. There were these two men, one older and one younger who I photographed. I was using a 35-17mm and was at about 28ish and decided to get closer. I later found out from Jack that the older man was the former president of Mercy Hurst College and was accused of pedophila a few years ago. He was trying to stay out of the media spotlight and greatly disliked the newspaper that I worked for. Not being an Erie resident, I had no clue and kept photographing. Jack thought it was hilarious that I had no idea and one of the investigative reporters cracked up too. Good thing I didn’t have the curse of knowledge.
I later was assigned to photograph the Rib Festival and luckily I didn’t shoot over my time frame, but I still seem to have problems with getting all of the work done. I think that when I edit my photographs I don’t do it as quickly and that will definitely be something I’ve got to work on this summer.
Here’s hoping I can improve all around with my photography and time management! Oh and that I can find a paying job….papa needs a new pair of shoes and then some.