Tuesday, November 20

interesting cast of characters as of late...

i spent a few hours with mike gamble on one of those "why didn't the reporter tell us about this earlier?!" assignments. he lives on the missouri with his two dogs and loves the river life. "It's like being on vacation everyday," he says, even though he lost everything in the flood of '93. he rebuilt his house a half-foot higher and hopes that will spare him the next time.

what was essentially a last minute portrait turned into a few hours talking about wildlife, old cars, the habits of hyperactive golden retrievers, and an addiction to home-improvement shows. there were long lulls in our conversation when we both just stared out over the water as the sun dropped beneath heavy gray autumn skies. there's something very peaceful and open about people who live in their own version of paradise.

richard williford was driving on Route B north of Hallsville when he struck a deer that leapt from the roadside. The deer totaled the car, and Williford had to pull an antler out of his mouth after pushing the deer back through the windshield. it caused some damage to his teeth as the deer rattled its head back and forth after impact.

"I don’t even know how to explain it to anybody when you realize after impact that you’ve got a horn in your mouth and there’s something alive attached to it."

brenda haynes was my "our town" earlier this month. she opened a kindermusik studio to spend more time with her kids. she hasn't levelled out financially and her kids struggle with sharing her attentions with others. "“My daughter knows she can control whether I succeed or fail if she acts out in class."

stefan melnick leans on his sword as director tammy walker gives the cast notes after a run through of Robin Hood. teens will be teens.

i came up with a crazy idea for a fashion shoot: wear fall color, literally. over a period of two weeks i collected leaves from columbia and tried every method of preservation known to man. for the scale and duration of this project i ended up using paraffin wax to keep the leaves from losing color. we enlisted the help of two awesome design students from the local college to sew the leaves to a basic dress we got at walmart.

i learned alot about expectations and communicating with the design and writing side during this ordeal. i didn't quite get the shot i was looking for, but i'm very happy i spent the time to give it a whirl.

Friday, November 9


one of the priviledges of living in columbia is being able to sit in during the judging of two very prestigious photo contests, CPOY and POYi. in between assignments this week i sat in a darkened room and listened to four judges narrow the field for a dozen categories of entries for cpoy. it was neat to see familiar work from friends make it into the finals and win awards. it was inspiring to see interesting characters and issues flash on the screen by the thousands.

in the context of this particular competition, there are qualities of good photojournalism that make it into the top tier everytime. excellent photography won't always get you past the first round. a pretty picture without a story will fail against an equally pretty one with a story. in other words, it's about the story, stupid.

this morning's judging of individual audio-slideshow confirmed for me some thoughts about what "the story" is. there is a glut of bad storytelling in this format in general. at its worst it's a source of boredom, missed opportunities and misapplied resources. seeing the things that don't work, over and over again, will hopefully innoculate me against doing them in my own work.

  • The story is not "Hello, my name is _____."
  • The story is not the recited history of place, people or events.
  • The story is not the summary of the story.
  • The story is not the introduction.
  • The story is not the interview.
  • The story is not the process.
  • The story is not people talking about other people's stories.
there's a much more helpful list to be made of what the story actually is. i'm still working on that one. haha.