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Posts Tagged ‘photojournalism’

Quite a Nor’easter last weekend.¬† (“Nor’easter“– I love that word, it makes me feel like New England.) Power outages, downed trees, damaged homes and cars. Considering that we escaped relatively unscathed, I really can’t complain. But I will anyway.

We lost electricity around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday… as I was cooking for dinner guests. I had practically a side of corned beef jammed into a huge stock pot, with two hours cooking time left. I finished it by flashlight as the night closed in. Dinner by candlelight seemed appealing until I connected the dots… no power = no well pump = no running water = no flushing toilets = very awkward dinner party.

Our guests chose wisely and agreed to host at their place. So we packed up a ton of corned beef-n-cabbage and made our way through the deluge of water and falling tree branches. The rest of that evening is your typical get-wasted-with good friends-and-pig-out story. Our 10 year old daughter also made a wise choice and decided to sleep over with our friends, while hubby and I went back to the cold, dark homestead to snuggle with the dog.

Sunday morning, no power, no shower. Electric company predicting 2 – 3 days outage. Hung over and stinky, we dragged our asses out in the pouring rain to nab a hotel room before they were all gone, dropped the dog off at the kennel, retrieved our child, went back home to pack, got breakfast, and then headed back to the hotel. (The soundtrack to this section would be called “Bedraggled, Annoyed, and Tired.”) And then there was… just hanging out all day in a small room with a bored kid. I was crawling the walls, staring out the large plate glass window, when I noticed it. Just like that, a fabulous shot dropped right into my lap. Boom boom pow!

There’s some pithy moral to this story, and let’s see if I can pull it out. “When life gives you darkness, make corned beef?”¬† Ummm, no….. “When life gives you a power outage, get your ass to a hotel?” Maybe…. but I really think it’s “When you quit ‘yer damned complaining, you might just notice something beautiful.” Yup, something like that.

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Stormy WeatherIf you could go anywhere in the world and photograph anything you want, what would it be? Quite a dilemma, and one I face right now. I have time-limited amazing offer to take a junket with my camera. As an art photographer, I’m drawn to geometry, texture, and beauty. Any yet when faced with this choice, my brain strobe keeps flashing images of me in some remote village in (insert name of impoverished country here) working to improve their situation and shooting a photo diary of the experience. The thought is both exhilarating and, if I’m honest, somewhat embarrassing. Photojournalism can rally compassion by bringing us visual, visceral¬† connections to others’ realities. But when does it cross the line into voyeurism? How does one go into a village of not-shiny not-happy people and say “cheese”? The line between altruism and exploitation is fuzzy here. I’m interested in your thoughts.

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