Friday, December 18, 2009

Cynicism Can Suck It

Because tonight people graduated from Tidewater Community College and their families came out to support them (bottom), and many of them worked full time while earning their degrees (top), and one graduate with cerebral palsy got out of his wheelchair and walked across the stage to get his diploma (center).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Light | Holding Onto Normal

Isn't it perfect, the winter light? Working on a story about a family of seven that recently found themselves homeless. In the first frame, the teenager hides under the blanket in the hotel room they all share. How I remember those grim days of being fourteen, exhausted and solitary. And there's nowhere to go when you live in one room with your family. The triumph of this family is how hard the parents work to keep everything 'normal'; homework, tidying up the living space, tossing the football in the parking lot.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tis the Season

Choirs from Norfolk public schools sang on Wednesday night. I was so lucky to hear about in on the radio, because I've had a slow few days in terms of shooting, and it was an indescribable joy to just shoot in strange light. Just to shoot, to see, to move, to think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inner City, With Pasture

After watching the rural health story again, I was reminded of this strange picture.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rural Health: The Full Story

I am so excited today-- the rural heath care story I worked on in Dallas was published in the Sunday paper. When I arrived in Dallas, all the previous interns I talked with encouraged me to find a project to work on throughout the summer. After a month of research, phone calls and long drives, I found a hospital in rural Texas where I could have full access and where the story was compelling. I spent nights in the emergency room, went on house calls, and hung around the Rural Health Clinic. Eventually, they assigned a writer to the story. I could not be happier with the article written by Gretel Kovach. Texas has the country's largest rural population and its residents are, on average, older, poorer, and in worse health than their urban counterparts. It is a challenge every day to give rural people the healthcare that most of us take for granted. Read the article and watch the multimedia. This was my first real multimedia project, and it was all made possible because of the amazing people in the photo department at the Dallas Morning News. They gave me time, training, equipment, support and guidance. It was a tremendous experience. The singles now live on my redesigned website.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful to get to shoot pictures in community centers. These two just got engaged and were so very happy. I am also thankful for Ross Taylor, the other new hire at the Pilot. He helped me edit my take, and he's always looking for pictures that surprise him, or make him feel something. Thinking about that more will make me a better photographer. I'm thankful to be here, with all these other great shooters.

Did some quick portraits for my friend Mara --check out her story-- of a woman who was a victim of identity theft and mortgage fraud in New Jersey. Is there some magic light there that makes even window-lit portrait look lovely?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Website Update

and finally, I updated my website, for those of you that might want to take a look. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Indeed, multimedia is a part of my job at the Virginian-Pilot, and I must say that I had a blast doing this piece, with the help of Final Cut savant Hyunsoo Leo Kim. And yes, one of these days my Dallas multimedia will get published, and I am excited to share that one too.

Hop the Fence

On Sunday night Matt & Melissa Eich and I had a group of local photographers over for a Hop-the-Fence Photo Night between our houses, ending with a show in my garage, projected onto an ancient screen salvaged from a back closet at the paper. By fortunate accident, the house I'm renting in Norfolk is right behind the Eichs', and when the water get too high, as it sometimes does, I just park my car in front of their house and hop the fence to get to my house. Norfolk has an unusually high concentration of talented photographers right now, and it was wonderful to get some of them in the same room to talk about their current projects, their challenges, and whatever else it is we talked about throughout that long night. Tim Gruber and Jenn Ackerman came up from their retreat on the Outer Banks, Ross Taylor showed work from a recent trip to Bangledesh, local photographer Jesse Hutcheson showed work from his senior project, and two students from ODU, Shane and Caroline, showed their recent projects. It was a kind of relief, to spend an evening just looking and listening, watching work that is being created for myriad reasons. Matt (who showed work on gator hunting) and I are hoping to make this a bi-monthly occurrence, so if you live nearby or are passing through, let me know if you'd like to join in.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Matt Eich and I had a great conversation on Thursday about our increasing interest in ambiguity in images. For me, it must have something to do with the traditional assignments I get as a newspaper photographer. Sometimes I just take the most boring, predictable pictures, and for my own heart I want to be making pictures that aren't that obvious. This is from a trip with FEMA around after our flood last week. And perhaps this one too.

Mom & Dad

Thinking of Mom and Dad, and I get to see them next weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm working on an edit for a slideshow for Veterans Day, and with the radio cranked up loud I'm furiously toning all the extras and forgotten frames for sequences that will find a home once the audio gets edited. It's a different kind of experience-- this is a story that I shot and wrote and am now doing multimedia for. I'm not sure if there's a role in that cast that I embody perfectly-- trying to report in the three different ways means that there are certain moments missed because you're interviewing, or certain conversations not listened to because you're shooting, and on and on. Someday I'll be able to share my Rural Health story from Dallas, one that I'm proud of because I got to separate those roles to different visits and as a consequence did much better reporting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saturday Football & Nostalgia

I remember this time last year, there was football to shoot every Friday. No exceptions. You had to learn which fields had the lights that dropped off by two stops in the end zone, and be prepared. You had to bundle up and bring all the rain gear possible, because it would either be bitterly cold or you'd be drenched. Dinner was a hot dog. There were cookies up in the newsroom in the sports/photography corner. My Nikon thermos was always full of coffee. Mike Morris would come over and eat my bolognese and teach me the nuances of the game during the week. I once had the misfortune of turning the 300 on a quarterback who got sacked (for the third consecutive time during a drive) and had his leg broken right in my frame in his final game as a senior. Nevertheless, I love the game. I was so happy this weekend to get a chance to photograph some college football during the day-- Norfolk State vs. Howard University. There is something I love about football, and it's tough to put my finger on it. It may be that it allows you to have complete focus for a full hour (or two), while at the same time requiring a whole lot of moving around. It may be the drama that doesn't involve intractable social problems. Whatever it is, I just want to shoot more and get better at it. If you're a student and not getting any sports assignments, go out and make some for yourself. You'll struggle a little a the beginning, but be a much better shooter for it. Do any other newspaper photographers out there have a secret or not-so-secret love of sports shooting?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I liked today. Football and features. Now I sit in my little house with a bowl of candy that no one has come to claim, editing and toning and happy at least that the day at work was a good one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just a whole lot of portraits lately. I wouldn't say that portraits are my favorite thing to shoot, but I'm happier shooting than sitting in the office, fiddling around, and sometimes portraits are necessary. There are some people on staff who can rock portraits with no problem, no exceptions. I'm working on the genre. The sun came out after days of gloomy rain, and I had time to talk with everyone and experiment with locations. Stories about healthcare.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A full, rainy, cold day of following WWII veterans to DC on a bus to see their monument. It's still raining here, and I'm trying to warm up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


There are just certain assignments that I genuinely love, and they're not necessarily the sexiest ones. They're kind of the Jasper assignments. Or, at least the ones that are all about moments. So that makes them Jasper assignments in my mind, since my education in moments started when Dave Pierini first interviewed me about that internship a year and a half ago. So a retirement ceremony in Chesapeake was wonderful. This man retired from Parks and Rec after nearly fifty years. What's next for him, I wonder?

Friday, October 9, 2009


Not quite there feature, and not for the paper, but fun to shoot anyway. A group of observant Jewish kids selling lemonade on the side of the road.

New, Norfolk, and now in color

So, dear reader, it's been a while since I've posted anything. After three lovely months in Dallas and then a month home in Seattle, I've moved most of my belongings (and there aren't many) to a little house on the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia. I'm now a staffer at the Virginian-Pilot. This blows my mind, since the other staffers here are people I've been following for years. I've been trying to get adjusted to the new town, the new light, the new Canon gear (yikes!), shooting in color, and a new life as a former intern, now in a place that will, hopefully, be permanent. It's a fascinating and profoundly lonely experience moving to a new city. I should know this as well as anyone, since I've had plenty of moves in the past three years. I started my graduate program at the University of Missouri just three short years ago, having never shot a digital camera. Now I'm back to driving around town, looking for features and trying to find a foothold for something longer, something that speaks to a place I have yet to become familiar with. I have to remind myself that it's only been a week and a half. Without a story, though, you feel unmoored.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From the Archives

I started a story in Dallas, and didn't have enough time to finish ti because I was working on another story . . . . but I keep coming back to the images and wishing I could have been there longer.