20 January 2009

*"Untold Stories..." Darrell White. January 2009.

After a few months of coordinating, phone calls, emails and just plain 'ole finger crossing, I am embarking on a multi-media personal project here in the area; proving once again that you needn't travel far from home to find and tell good stories in a true documentary style.
Yesterday (January 19th.) I met with and began a personal documentary project on Mr. Darrell White up in Monticello, NY. Mr. White, 57, is a former Harlem resident who's HIV+...

I'll occasionally post updates about my shooting and editing process, and share pieces of the project here on the blog, as well as the finished piece with audio. -cg.

17 January 2009

"The Turk..."

Every since I can remember, I'd always read of "The Turk" coming in the late summer - usually making unannounced appearances at pro football training camps. You see, "The Turk" is the mythical character that makes the cuts on pro teams. Well, our own version of "The Turk" has been eviscerating the newspaper photography staffs, and the news business in general for quite a while now. Every few days one can find in the journalism and photojournalism trades the latest announcements of newspaper staff reductions, layoffs, buyouts, and even closings. This is a most troubling and difficult time for the business I truly love and have devoted most of my adult life to. I've been monitoring photography staff reductions, buyouts and just plain elimination of personnel across the board. On one paper last year in Madison, WI the photography staff was reduced from 5 or 6 photographers down to two, and the paper was going to weekly distribution. This is at the second largest paper in the state and in their state capitol. Of course those two remaining photographers would be expected to continue the workload. My colleagues at the Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest paper, went through a very troubling time last Fall. The owners offered 200 buyouts to begin cutting costs, and immediately upwards of 400 employees signed up. After negotiations and employee reductions and buyouts, the paper began hiring college interns to work in their bureaus - without benefits, and of course at the lowest pay possible. The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most respected daily papers carrying international content will begin a web-only edition in the Spring, with only a weekly wrap up print edition. Two final examples of how troubling all this is for me to recall is what Newsday did to their photography staff recently. All of their staff photographers were called into the office on a Friday; even those on their off day, and told they were technically "fired and could reapply" for their jobs by the beginning of the new workweek. Their new job titles were something like "visual journalists." I don't recall the actual numbers, but there were only 7 or so full-time positions for the 20 or so photographers then on staff. Finally, and hitting very close to home; the Gannett Company has announced in the last week that all employees will be required to take a one-week furlough (without pay) sometime during this first quarter. (I spent five years at The Journal News in White Plains, NY, a Gannett Co. paper, and know their staff photographers, as well as dedicated photographers at Gannett papers in Poughkeepsie, NY and Phoenix, AZ.)

After 20+ years as a photojournalist, I am not sure how the business will recover from all this. Troubling times indeed... -cg.

09 January 2009

"Hoops du Jour." 01•08•09

It's good to be back inside shooting sports again, particularly an early season big game here close to home. Managed to arrive early in a familiar gym, put a few studio strobes on stands in the corners at one end of the court and added a small Canon 550-EX strobe clamped up in the stands near half-court to give a little more light in the back court, as a lot of good images like rebounds, dunks, and just plain good "filers" of the starting guards bringing the ball upcourt are always good to make with the 300mm at the other end of the court. A game like this between two sectional rivals will usually offer good images, but I also wanted to be able to make a few file images of some of the starters, coaches, etc. for stories later in the season. Although this was sort of a difficult gym to shoot in, as I was blocked by the referees on a quite a few plays near the basket, and distracted by fans walking too close to the photographers working the baseline, it's the kind of game I secretly needed to be assigned to. This game quickly got me back in the mindset to prepare for more games where I can "light up" additional HS / college venues not only for basketball, but also wrestling, and swimming. Of course I am looking to begin running a remote third camera body, occasionally on strobes as well. Stay tuned. -cg.

06 January 2009

Brain surgery. Poughkeepsie, NY. 1•05•09

My friend and colleague photographer Daniel Morel recuperating in his room at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY on Monday, January 5, 2009.
Morel had a brain tumor removed on Christmas Eve. I've known Daniel for 15 years or so, since we first met on my first international shooting mission to his native Haiti back in 1993. He's going to write about his whole experience here once he's released, as he kept his Canon 5D with him the whole time through his ordeal in the ambulance ride to the hospital, surgery, and now recovery.
He's got an incredible story to tell from a personal perspective.
Stay tuned.

With Daniel in my NY apt. while editing his Haiti work & portfolio back in May 2007.

"Get well, my friend..." -cg.