Sunday, December 26, 2010

on the beach

I'm working the holidays and don't have any assignments so I'm
back on the pavement (or well... sand) for some feature hunting!!

This family was on vacation for the holidays from North Carolina.
The parents spent more time in the ocean than the kids, who were
freezing and wanting to go sit in the car! It was about 60 but the
wind was pretty chilly. So these girls are sisters and the oldest, Chelsea,
came into embrace her younger sister, Diamond, to help keep her warm.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Nutcracker

I spent the afternoon back stage with the Moscow Classical Ballet as they
visited West Palm Beach to perform their rendition of The Nutcracker.

Opera singer

This is a young girl who is aspiring to become an opera singer. Her voice is truly amazing. She also kind of looks like Natalie Portman...

Friday, December 17, 2010

fallen soldier

This was a really sad assignment. A young man, 19, Jose Hernandez, lost his life to an IED while serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. His friends came out to Lake Worth Beach to 
hold a vigil in his honor. It really brings it home - these guys are our brothers, our neighbors, 
our friends. They are our age and dying. It is just so sad. Thank you, I love you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Florida winters II

These Haitian day laborers were rushing to hand pick sweet corn yesterday afternoon before this mornings freeze. They managed to pick 13 acres but estimated to loose 127 to frost. Needless to say they were pretty cold after being out in the winds all day.

Workers at local nurseries rushed to get tropical plants into heated
facilities because of the expected freeze.

Florida winters

It's 7 a.m. and about 38 degrees - the coldest it's been in Florida in a while. I was out hunting for weather features trying to photograph people looking cold. I found these guys. They didn't look very cold but it was still really pretty out and they were crazy enough to get in the water.

Friday, November 26, 2010

1st AP TOPIX pick-up

At 9 o'clock p.m. last night I went to photograph Black Friday specials at Toys"R"Us in Royal Palm Beach. Made this picture. My boss called the next morning to tell me that the AP has picked it up for their TOPIX features. NICE!!

I kept thinking of Al Bello - eliminate color... black... white... red.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First time in Court (to photograph)

This was my first time shooting pictures during a court case. The trial had been going on a very long time before I ever got to the Palm Beach Post in October. Nearly eight years ago, The woman's four-year-old son was beat to death by her lover. The defendant in the case was recently found guilty and I was asked to photograph the sentencing. This was after the man received two life sentences with an additional 30 years - the maximum.

National Adoption Day

This is the new Colón family. Three siblings all in need of a family and hoping to stay together. After an afternoon of pizza, face painting, they finalized their adoption at the Palm Beach County Courthouse on National Adoption Day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eddie Adams Workshop :: After Thoughts

I think that the most important thing I walked away from the barn with is to have more confidence in myself as a photographer. Be decisive. Know what you want to do and then go shoot that. So my assignment was to shoot a barber in Monticello, Dave McNeal, also known as "Dapper Dave." It was both challenging and rewarding.

I was uncertain of my story line as I was shooting. Dave spoke about the history barber shop and its atmosphere. So I attempted to visually define the space by taking images of the place and the people who were there.

At the same time I was noticing that there was something very special about the dynamics of the relationship between Dave and his wife, Rosetta. Rosetta stopped by the barber shop a few hours into the first day of shooting. They had a very sweet story of how their families had grown up together. They are very supportive of each other. The moments between them were fleeting and I only captured a few.

So two storylines:

1. Barber shop sense of place story

2. Barber and wife relationship story

Failure on my part to make a definitive decision on one of these left me in a position without great pictures of either. To make things even worse, I wasn't even fully aware that this was happing until the editing took place.

There was a young boy, Chris, who came in the barber shop with his father, Joe. The two seemed to be much closer to Dave and Rosetta than any of the other customers. It was subtle but the way they interacted with each other was more like watching family interact rather than barber to client or friend to friend.

But with that said, I should have shot more frames that attempted to place Rosetta and Dave together in the barber shop. So if I had the opportunity to shoot this again, I would have tried to layer Dave in the foreground while trying to capture this moment between Rosetta and Chris at the same time. If only we had re-do's... sigh...

Being that it was that it was the Eddie Adams workshop, and being so inspired by all of the amazing speakers... I found myself just wanting to make strange and beautiful images like this one. although I think I may be the only fan of it... except for the 3 likes I got on Facebook... anyway it doesn't matter... the picture makes me happy.

So after the first day of shooting I felt pretty good about some of the images I had made.  I knew that I had over shot. I knew that was because I wasn't confident in what I was shooting. I thought surely there must be a few frames in here that I can use, that the editors will like.... man was I in for it. 

The second day of shooting it was much more obvious to focus on the relationship between Rosetta and Dave because they were going to church... so I thought. The visual problem now was to link it to the barber shop. You can guess how successful that was. It wasn't at all. But I made a few pictures I liked... 

And I got to ride in the Hulk. Which was so awesome but yet another distracting element away from the relationship story line between Rosetta and Dave. 

During the editing session my heart sank bit by bit as we flew through image after image with out a word being said. "Man was the shoot really that bad?" I thought to myself. I guess the lesson here is that even though I thought I was working a situation, I wasn't. At least not it the right way. So next time, I better work it more, and think very critically about what image I'm trying to make and why.

I went to the shoots with a shot list but the problem was that I didn't make enough of a decisive effort to make unique pictures of everything on that shot list. I would shoot one picture of something and then check it off and move onto the next. If I have a shot list and on it is, get a picture of hair on the floor, I better shoot it not just one way but five or ten ways, to guarantee I had a useable picture of hair on the floor. 

I am trying to put these lessons into action now. I am back in West Palm Beach, at The Palm Beach Post, as their photo intern until the end of this year. I feel really lucky to be in a community of photographers who are supportive and thoughtful and caring. I feel like I went through some growing pains while at the workshop and now that it's over now is the time to put that information to use. Hopefully I will retain the information and come up with some great things in the next few months, years to come. I hope to never loose touch with the people I met at Eddie Adams, we're family now, so I'm sorry to say.... you're stuck with me. In the words of Ms. MaryAnne Golon, and my good friend Ms. Amanda Lucier, be a good person, take good pictures. 

Love you all, Rachel.