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Archive for the ‘Atlanta Journal-Constitution’ Category

Last week, I was assigned to go to a hair salon and make pictures. Could’ve been boring. But I had fun.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to read the related article at ajc.com.) Roswell resident Cheryl Jones gets her roots colored by Fantastic Sams franchisee Helen Nguyen at Fantastic Sams in Roswell on Friday, July 2, 2010. The Roswell location opened at the end of Aug. 2009 and already has a regular customer base.

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On Saturday, I got muddied at the Redneck Games.

On Friday — the day before — I got soaked to the skin at the Atlanta Motor Speedway while photographing Fastlife Friday.

I photographed some of the performers and a few of the vehicles in queue on the track… and then it began to rain. By the time I made it to a concession stand — the closest shelter — I was thoroughly wet and my hair was dripping buckets.

But I kept making pictures.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery at ajc.com.) R&B artist Justin Crowder, who performs as part of Swagg Team, lifts his 4-year-old niece Zoe Tolbert into the air and waits with others under a concession stand while a thunderstorm soaks the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, July 9, 2010. The storm canceled the remainder of Fastlife Friday activities that night, including all the races that were scheduled.

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Saturday was a little messy

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery at ajc.com.) A girl batters around inflatable boxing gloves in the mud pit in the Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin on Saturday, July 10, 2010. Saved for last, the mud pit is the most popular and anticipated event in the Redneck Games.

…which is a given when you photograph the Summer Redneck Games.

It’s a one-day event in East Dublin, Ga., that began in 1996 after Atlanta hosted the summer Olympics. The self-proclaimed rednecks put their own spin on competitive sports and just have a good time.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery on ajc.com.) Becca Bostwick of Thomaston throws a toilet seat as part of the Redneck Horsehoe event during the Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin on Saturday, July 10, 2010. Each year, the event features competitive events including watermelon seed-spitting and toilet seat-throwing.

It was definitely a cultural experience. After the ceremonial torch — consisting of a six-pack of Budweiser cans — was lit, I asked the torchbearer a few questions. When another reporter asked if he considers himself a redneck, the man responded, “Of course I am! Anyone born in Georgia, Alabama — any of the southern states — is a redneck.”

The day was hot and sunny, and I sustained severe tan lines, muddied clothes and camera, physical threats and a few come-ons. By far one of the more memorable and exciting assignments I’ve done so far for this internship!

Be sure to check out the full photo gallery!

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This is what happened:

I have a lot of cleaning to do.

And yes, it had to happen.

And yes, this happened while my face was getting muddied up, too.

My white rainjacket is also pretty splotched over.

Full details once the powers-that-be publish the photo gallery.

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Last week, on the Fourth of July, I was one of three AJC photographers to cover the 2010 Peachtree Road Race. Bob would spend the day in the helicopter to get aerial photos, and Jason would be along the 10K race itself and in the media truck.

This meant I had finish-line and post-race duty.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery at ajc.com.) Duane Morrow of Hoschton, Ga., is cheered on by volunteers after completing the AJC Peachtree Road Race on Tuesday, July 4, 2010.

My editors gave me a few warnings:

  1. It’s 55,000 participants. That’s a lot of people.
  2. The wheelchair racers are super fast. (They were.)
  3. It’s 55,000 participants. That was definitely a lot of people.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Masses of participants continue to cross the AJC Peachtree Road Race finish line as finishers (in the foreground) make their way toward the exit and the nearest MARTA station on Sunday, July 4, 2010.

But it was a lot of fun. And waking up at 3:30 a.m. to be at work at 5:30 a.m. meant I was done for the day at 1 p.m. Which was kinda nice, in a weird way.

Be sure to check out the full staff photo gallery!

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Today on assignment — I got mud on my face. Big disgrace.

Photo courtesy of Lewis M. Levine.

How and why did this happen? Well, I’ll wait for the powers that be to publish the photo gallery — and then I shall disclose more in a proper blog post.

But hang in there, folks.

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Having attended Mizzou, where football reigns supreme as a time-honored tradition, I was immediately intrigued when I learned that Georgia State has its inaugural football season this fall.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image above to read the related article on ajc.com.) Members of Georgia State's new football team run short sprints during weight and conditioning training in the athletic department's workout room on Thursday, July 1, 2010. The team will play its first game against Shorter University on Sept. 2.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia State junior center Ben Jacoby lifts free weights as junior running back Malcolm Smith spots, in the Georgia State workout room on Thursday, July 1, 2010. The university started recruiting players two years ago in anticipation of its inaugural football season this year.

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Surely every kid has played some version of “cops and robbers” at some point in his/her childhood.

I remember my elementary school classmates and I modified the classic game of “tag” to include teams (of boys versus girls, of course — boys had cooties!) and jailtime. It was a playground classic that we played every day after lunch until the recess ladies told us to stop because we were getting too rowdy.

The next year, we weren’t allowed to play soccer. That was too rowdy, too.

Anyway. For one week this summer, some kids got to learn more about the cops’ side of things, and I got to photograph them.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constutition. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery at ajc.com.) Max Waterhouse, 15 of Decatur, leads fellow junior police academy students, Captain W.S. Richards (in black) and Sgt. Christopher Clark (in red) up the stairs in the Decatur City Police Department station on Tuesday, June 19, 2010. The Decatur police department offered its first-ever junior police academy, for which Decatur students of middle-school age could apply.

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Confession: I never wore makeup until January 2008.

Yeah. Somehow, I lived more than 20 years without lipstick, eyeliner, blush, foundation and other powders, liquids and other goops with which I am still unfamiliar. And yeah, I know many women have survived longer than that without applying makeup.

My point is, I’m still a novice to the very complicated world of cosmetics. I haven’t worn makeup for a few weeks now — no point if I’m going to be a hot mess at the end of an outdoor assignment — and even when I do, it’s no more than a quick application of eyeliner and a swipe of lipstick.

So I learned a lot one night, when I photographed a makeup session attended by the Atlanta hockey team’s spirit squad.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. (Click on the image above to view the full photo gallery on ajc.com.) Atlanta Thrashers Blue Crew member Allison Dekle applies bronzer at the Pur Minerals headquarters on Monday, June 28, 2010.

For example: There are at least four different things you can do to your eyes. And like three different things to do to your lips. And different brushes are used for different things.

Okay, I really didn’t learn that much — at least, nothing that I would ever be able or care to do for myself. But at the very least, I was intrigued. And bewildered.

I’ll stick to being a bit of a tomboy.

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Well, not quite. The two guys, I later learned, were very adamant about their job title.

“‘We’re not window washers — we’re window glazers,’” one of the firefighters recalled them saying.

I was downtown in the early afternoon, and not feeling too good about myself. Traffic on I-75/85 was heavier than I’d anticipated, and I was late to a last-minute assignment. No more than 10 minutes late, but I’d missed the important part. So as I was driving back up to the newsroom, I was beating myself over the head (figuratively).

My only consolation? That it wasn’t a hugely important assignment. But I still wasn’t feeling too good about myself.

Then my editor called and told me to turn around.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the relevant article on ajc.com.) Firefighter Justin Hodges helps Atlanta Contract Glazing window-installer Paul Barker up to safety after Barker and his coworker William Miller were stranded outside the 47th floor of the Bank of America building for several hours on Monday, June 28, 2010.

The Bank of America building is the tallest in Atlanta, for those who may not know.

This was definitely one of the more fun assignments I’ve done this summer. I didn’t see another AJC person there, so I knew I had to do well in reporting. I haven’t done breaking news in quite a while, and I hadn’t done the reporting and photography for a breaking news story since an April 2007 homicide in Columbia. So it was really refreshing to have to get the visuals covered, as well as make sure I talked to all the right people.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to view the full photo gallery at ajc.com.) Firefighter Justin Hodges, of Company 14, exits the Bank of America building after assisting in the rescue of two window installers on Monday, June 28, 2010. Hodges was the firefighter who was harnessed to help the window installers attach their own harnesses and ascend the cables to safety.

Afterward, I got in touch with the reporter who was in the newsroom, fed him all the quotes and facts I’d gathered — and got my first story byline!

Once I filed the photos, it was off to yet another assignment. Some days, the news just doesn’t stop. Those are my favorite days.

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Last week, I went back to university.

In which I was not enrolled.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the relevant article on ajc.com.) Biology professor Chris Kadoni leads his class in stretches between two hour-long, consecutive lectures on Thursday, June 24, 2010, at Clayton State University. "Education is more of a year-round proposition," said Clayton State PIO John Shiffert.

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Probably the cleanest (compositionally, that is) drag show photo I’ve ever taken.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the relevant article on ajc.com.) Chas Harrington stuffs his tip into drag queen Prissy Cilla's bust during her performance at the East Point Possums drag show on Saturday, June 19, 2010. Although it has a reputation of financial struggles and political in-fighting, the city of East Point features gay-friendly city policy and business owners that have attracted many gay residents to the area.

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“We are here tonight because the Troy Davis case represents everything that is wrong with the death penalty.”

– Amnesty International regional director Jared Feuer

My one assignment yesterday? Photograph a solidarity vigil for Troy Davis outside the Georgia state capitol building, on the eve of his evidentiary hearing.

© 2010 by The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. (Click on the image to view the entire photo gallery on ajc.com.) Ira Terrell wears a Troy Davis pin and an anti-death penalty shirt at a solidarity vigil for Davis on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, outside the Georgia state capitol building.

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I’m well aware that many career paths and professions have glass ceilings. Journalism is no exception — and, as I learned last week, neither is the comic book industry.

Last Tuesday, I photographed a comic book inker in her home studio. She told me that an average comic book page takes eight hours to ink. Which is just incredible.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the article on ajc.com.) Rebecca Buchman inks a piece of commissioned art on Tuesday, June 15, 2010, in her home studio.

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On Monday morning, I photographed a press conference wherein the city of Dunwoody announced its formal takeover of the parks system, which was previously under the jurisdiction of DeKalb County.

Pretty dry stuff. I did what I could with the press conference. But my editor asked me to find something more visually interesting to photograph in any of the parks, so later in the afternoon, I drove to four of the seven parks. Unfortunately, Monday was also the first day of summer and the temperature was soaring — so nobody was outside.

Except for the skaters.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the article on ajc.com.) Fighting the heat on the first day of summer, Ross Lanning performs a few tricks at the Brook Run Skate Park on Monday, June 21, 2010.

This photo didn’t make it on-line — but it did make the Metro front in Tuesday’s print edition.

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As I wrote on Friday, it was hot. And my first assignment that day was to photograph firefighter training in Gwinnett County.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the article on ajc.com) Gwinnett County firefighter recruits Gloria Dow and Stanley Samek work to raise a ladder properly during a drill on Friday, June 18, 2010, at the Gwinnett County Fire Training Academy.

Divided into groups, the students rotated in various drills: Running the hoses to and from the fire trucks, performing ladder rescues, attaching hoses to hydrants and helping an injured firefighter. Immediately recognizing that most firefighters look the same while suited up, I followed one group as they went through the drills, to minimize any difficulty with identification.

It was really exciting to shoot. I got soot all over my jeans and arms while dangling out of a demonstration burn building’s window to get the above photo.

It was also really hot.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gwinnett County firefighter recruits Tim Powell, Brian Martin, Stanley Samek and Dustin Wilkerson take a break, with suits and helmets off, from drills in the 100-degree heat.

Yeah. 100-degree heat index. Hoo man.

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Every other photographer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wanted what was to be my second assignment there.

The assignment? Bra-fitting.

But amid the jokes and offers to trade assignments, all the photographers and I knew the assignment would not be as glamorous as one might think.

For one, the logistics were not ideal. The article would be about the supposed 100th anniversary of the bra, and the reporter specifically wanted a photo of a bra-fitting. She arranged for a local Dillard’s to let me stand around in the intimacy section and ask customers if they would be comfortable with my taking a photo of their bra-fitting session. This meant I hung around and waited for customers in Dillard’s for almost five hours.

For another, I’d once read a column by a Victoria’s Secret hiring manager, who wrote that a man once came in asking for a job. He was still excited about filling out the application as she told him that male employees are not allowed in the dressing room area — but he crumpled up his application and walked out when she added that most customers resemble his mother rather than supermodels.

Finally, access was key, and difficult to obtain.

And of the seven or so women who meandered into the intimacy section that day, only one let me into the dressing room.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Click on the image to read the June 18 article.) Dillard's bra-fitter Tresha Tinsley adjusts the band of a new bra for Virginia Albey (center) on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in Dillard's in Perimeter Mall.

And the paper ended up using another photo.

  • UPDATE (June 21, 2 a.m. EST): Interestingly, ajc.com posted the same article again yesterday, but with a different headline — and with the above photo attached to the story, as well.

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Yesterday, Mexico defeated France 2-0 in a World Cup match.

I was assigned to photograph fans watching the game. So, after consulting with the veteran photogs, I went to a bar in a Hispanic neighborhood. After my flash batteries died — it was completely dark in the bar — right after the first half of the game, I left and bought more batteries at a gas station…

…And then accidentally ended up at a small Mexican restaurant. Where I crouched in a corner for the rest of the game, during which Mexico scored two goals against France.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Click on the image to read Mundo Hispánico's recap (in Spanish).

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My two assignments today were under the grueling sun and in the 100-degree heat.

But hey — at least I got to go to the beach!

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Click on the photo to view my full gallery of the Decatur Beach Party on ajc.com.

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Many photographers aren’t thrilled about event coverage, but I really don’t mind photographing events. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by how pleasant a book-signing was.

Kent, the assigning editor, sent me to photograph actress Pam Grier’s book-signing at Outwrite Bookstore on Wednesday. I didn’t know who Pam Grier was — I’d never seen her blaxpoitation movies nor “The L Word” — but she was certainly very friendly. And so were her fans.

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Click on the image to view the photo gallery on ajc.com.

Something else to note: This assignment was not the first I remotely transmitted, but it was the first I remotely transmitted while in my car.

(No, I wasn’t driving. I don’t think that’s legal, and even I’m not daredevil enough to attempt that.)

On a separate note: Usually, I do try to blog photos as soon as I possibly can. However, while I’m shooting for a newspaper and website, my personal policy is to blog photos only after they or the related story has been published by that newspaper/website.

This is sometimes difficult to keep track of, especially since I’ve been shooting a lot more than I’ve been blogging. But rest assured, you’ll see those photos — in due time.

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