Another moment in the same week of feeling passionate about the situation I'm photographing. This woman was homeless just two years ago, worked her way to a Habitat house, and is now at risk of losing it all again as her 6-year-old son is battling a rare digestive disorder. She was recently fired from a job she held for 12 years because she needed more time to take care of him.
I got to photograph a series of situations for an article about Hispanic workers who are hesitant to see medical care or workman's comp for their injuries. This man was hit by a car while working for a local paving company. The company has taken better care of him than would have been expected, but he will not be able to get the surgery he needs to mend the many ligaments and tendons around his right knee and shoulder.
I had almost forgotten how wonderful it feels to be shooting pictures in hopes of creating change for the better in a community.
The redneck, super bowl equivalent of Marion Co. (They said it, not me.)
I'm trying to figure out why it feels so different to shoot something for the paper instead of for yourself. There seems to be some sort of negative energy that permeates the situation when you have to take into account someone else's expectations and money.
He's been collecting yellow jackets for 32 years, ridding others' yards of pests to create an antivenin. He removed about 1,000 from this nest, from which he had taken twice that earlier in the week. He estimates he's been stung 16,000 times over the years. Sometimes he uses a modified vacuum to suck them out of the earth, CO2 gas stuns them and the dry ice kills them while preserving the venom. Wild.
I appropriated my sister's old 4 megapixel point-and-shoot camera so I could lean off bridges, rock climb and paddle without worrying about the loss of my life savings and livelihood. This was the first time I really used it, and I was incredibly bored waiting for F-J to appear at the takeout on the Ocoee.
He showed up eventually.
I showed up at this firehouse to photograph the new pumper truck, and they invited me to stay for training. They asked where I wanted to be to take pictures, and my answer was everywhere. The exposures were ridiculous, and at one point they yelled to see where I was in the building. Then they turned on 350 pounds of water pressure onto the ceiling of the second floor, just under the stairs to the third floor. I was standing at the top. A close call, to be sure.
Chattanooga tried diligently to entertain the evacuees from Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana. These children had never seen penguins before. This was an assignment I really struggled to get through.
I was pushed out of the Red Cross that morning when I was looking for the PR-type who could give me some direction. It's because I'm so big and scary. People think I'm just barging into the place, cameras flashing, to extract all decency from these poor people.
I was allowed to follow the group to the aquarium, where things got really hairy. While waiting for admission to the exhibits (which the city was providing them), a group of the adults got into the courtesy wheelchairs and pretended loudly and rather obscenely to be mentally handicapped. To make it more offensive, two different people in wheelchairs came through the group in the midst of that behavior.
I had to walk away. I was too conflicted about trying to understand the plight of these people, who could not consider the feelings of anyone around them. I guess people will be themselves regardless.