There are some assignments that make me love my job. This one, about Postpartum Depression for the New York Times, was one of those. It was a project that really stayed with me, mostly because of my subject. Jeanne Marie Johnson was so open with me and the writer about something so incredibly personal and difficult. And I clearly wasn't the only one that she moved with her bravery, BuzzFeed listed it as one of their top 9 stories of the week, and the NYT Opinion Page for the NYT was hopping. One of those days when I feel like I may have made a tiny bit of difference in this great big world.
new york times photographer
A funny sort of twist of fate that I ended up on two section fronts for the Sunday New York Times last week. One was the Travel Cover, which ran a story I shot last year about backcountry skiing in Oregon. This involved me learning to backcountry on the job, while attempting not to kill my cameras (this is a mission I failed). Huge thanks to Three Sisters Backcountry for ensuring I didn't die. The second was for Sunday Business, a profile of intel's director of user experience research, Dr. Genevieve Bell. Not everyday you get to a bond with a robot and roam the halls of Intel.
Two very different projects, both ones that pushed me as a photographer. Which is what I love about working for The Grey Lady. Plus, I'm not gonna lie, seeing your pictures printed huge is kinda cool too.
Artist Chris Johanson posed at home for me, and the New York Times. Chris is low key but is making big waves with a monograph out this year on his work out from Phaidon. Such an interesting guy, sweet, quirky, with a knack for saying things unlike anyone I'd ever heard. Example. Instead of saying, "Should I smile?" he says, "I'm feeling happiness now, would you like me to show it?" Perfect. His home was crammed with art (a man after my own) most of which he had swapped with his fellow countrymen, all of which had a story. Spent about 45 minutes with him and then an extra 30 with that cookie cutter, figuring out the best way to shoot the damn thing (note: kitchen background most successful). When I finished and am out the door, Chris peeks his head out of his front door and says, "You have a nice way about you. I had fun."
I photographed the Oregon Freeze Dry plant for the Bloomberg News wire service recently and learned all about how to make beef stroganoff last for 8-10 years. Oregon Freeze Dry is the largest food freeze dryer in the world, a process also known as lyophilization. They also cook all their food there, which I thought was pretty cool. One thing is for sure, if I ever need to survive some sort of end-of-days disaster, I'm heading here.
One man, one place, one light, (my new kick ass Canon 600 EX RT), one hour, 4 setups. Ready, set, go. This was my first adventure as a newly minted Canon photographer, and I have to say, things weren't pretty. Getting used to totally new gear, where everything basically turns the opposite way that you think it should, made my brain hurt. But Andy Welsh, my subject, was patient and one of my personal mottos isn't "Fake it til you make it," for nothing. When I am tasked with shooting a portrait fast, I always make sure to scope out my surroundings; looking for doorways I can shoot through, interesting angles, unique light, anything where I can make something out of nothing. Plus I pay close attention to any natural gestures that the subject makes to include his hands to give the image interest and a feeling of intimacy. Finally, I like to do at least three or four setups, cuz' I want the New York Times to know they are getting their money's worth (they are). And that's how the magic happens (or not). You can read the full story of why Andy thinks politicians suck, HERE.