Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Greyson and Grateful

I knew that when a new mom got in touch with me for a session and signed her inquiry with "In Peace, Ellen", these were not going to be typical clients.

And they weren't. They gave me a session that was a gift. They were easy-going and had light in their home to die for in addition to awesome interiors. Sometimes my job is really hard. I enter a home not knowing what I will get, personality and lighting-wise. I work on the photos afterwards and hand them over to the client not knowing what the response will be. Are they going to hate they way they look? Are they going to gush?

It's the challenge with my job every time - making my clients comfortable when I'm with them, and happy with the end product after I'm gone.  For the most part I do well in this regard, but every once in a while (and I've had some doozies lately) there are challenges.

Ellen, Kyle, and their very serious little boy Greyson reminded me why I do this so much on my off hours.

Wanna see the whole shoot?
Go here, sign in and use the password "roslindale".

If the gallery is expired by the time you read this, check out a selection on my blog.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bridge of Help

Mike and I went to see Bridge of Spies Saturday night (long but really good).

We were leaving Assembly Row movie theater heading to the escalators when a little girl, maybe six years old, wiped out at the top while her (likely) grandmother continued down with a another little girl who was about three (she seemed pretty un-phased that one kid was left behind, come to think of it)

We helped the little girl up and asked her if she was OK. "I'm scared" she whimpered about the escalator. "Would you like some help?" I asked her. She nodded and took my hand.  I counted to three and we stepped onto the moving stairs together, Mike right behind us.

In her other hand, she clutched a cute little brown-skinned babydoll. "I like your baby," I told her to distract her a bit, "What's her name?" I asked the top of her head, covered in colorful barrettes and a headband too. "Natalie" she answered.

I admired the pretty name, and counted down to step off the stairs together at the bottom. On unmoving ground she looked up and gave me  sweet "thank you!" and went to catch up with her grandmother.

It gave me a nice feeling, just interacting with such a sweet little person.

Moments later, when a woman and I bumped into each other on the street and she dropped her phone and her leftovers, a woman with her asked "What happened?"

"That lady just bumped into me!" she said in a very I've Been Treated Unjustly! tone.

I turned, surprised. Clearly neither of us where watching where we were going. I felt a slight bump against my purse but nothing so big that even required the customary "Oh, 'scuse me!" when you bump someone. Still, I turned and said "Oh, I'm sorry!"

She turned and burned holes in me with her stink-eye.

Nice feeling gone.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Field Hockey

The first to paragraphs of the BU Today field hockey story are my favorite. I wrote them. ; )

It isn’t every varsity team that prepares for a big game with guided meditation. “Breathe in. I know I am breathing in. Breathe out. I know I am breathing out,” field hockey assistant coach Tracey Paul tells the field hockey team in a calm and reassuring tone. She encourages the athletes, urging them to visualize entering the field, teammates by their side, executing various plays they’ve gone over in practice.

It’s a stark contrast to the scene in the locker room shortly after. Music blares as players dance to shake out pregame jitters. Just before heading out to the field, cocaptain Sofi Laurito (COM’16) leads a call and response chant as the players huddle in a tight circle, arms around each other.

My story is up!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

There's Always Someone Better

I feel jealous and kind of pissed this morning.

I have been playing the role of assignment editor for the past month, setting up shoots, assigning them to either myself, out temp shooter depending on his schedule, one of our freelancers (who I took the initiative to find and add to our roster - I got so sick of the commercial photographers coming back from our shoots with no cutline info), and managing our kick ass part time student shooter, who I found when I decided I was over getting all the fucking CloseUps all the time and never got to work on anything that interested me.

Sadly, I am one of those Needs Recognition Children. Or, people, I guess. I want someone to notice the changes I've made and say "That's awesome! Your department is cookin with gas thanks to you!"

In the late summer months and early fall, Jackie traveled around doing a project called Rites of Passage.  While she was doing this, I was doing everything else (not all the time of course - Jackie was around and shooting daily stuff when she could), with none of the assistance mentioned above. It was thankless. I don't appreciate thankless.

It's really important to me to be one of those women who encourages other women, let's them know when I think they've done something cool. I compliment Jackie's work, because it's totally great, on a regular basis. The compliments are not really returned. When Rites of Passage was a success, I congratulated her (genuinely!), and any compliments mentioned when she wasn't around were conveyed to her from me too. I think this is important.

I also think not whining is important but this is not one of those blog entries.

This is a whiny blog entry.

I have been working hard for weeks on a project about the BU women's field hockey team. It comes out tomorrow and I am concerned about how I will react if no one says a goddamn thing about it to me. That's the trouble with my "art". With this field. Nobody does it because they just have joy in doing it. They do it also because they want others to like it. We want our work to be appreciated and enjoyed. If no one enjoys it, were the pictures ever taken? Was the work ever even done?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Good Deed

It happened while I was standing in line for my 7AM flight on Sunday. Also waiting to board was a young mother. On her front she held a rather large toddler no older than two, and on her back was a giant backpack (the mom's back, not the kids). I wondered why she didn't let her child simply stand next to her but what to I know? Maybe the kid's a runner. In addition, Young Mom was holding a blankie and when she dropped the plastic bag she was also holding, a man nearby reached down and handed it back to her.

When I was packing for this trip I had very limited space. I had a camera gear roller bag filled with mostly gear and some clothes crammed in there, and my backpack held my laptop, toiletries, and all my diabetes crap, plus chargers, power cords, dramamine, etc. As I was finishing packing though I thought, hm, I think I'll bring my foldable nylon shopping bag. I don't think I'll use it because after all, you can only have two carryons, but, what the hell?! Maybe I'll have some weird need for it.

Enter the weird need.

I tapped at the mom's shoulder and asked her "Did your plastic bag break?" I asked this because I noticed the bag had indeed broken. So really the question was dumb.
"Yes" she sighed.
"Here, let me give you this" I unwrapped my handy little shopping bag and took the plastic from her.
"Really? Oh that's so nice of you!"
"I know!" I DIDN'T say back, but rather "It's no problem!"
"Say 'thanks' to the lady for helping us" she said to her daughter, who then gave me a cheery thank you and I responded with a "you're welcome" and "I like your rainbow socks!"

The young mom proceeded to put the blankie in there too and I heard her whisper "Oh, that's so much better" as she hooked it over her shoulder.

And I was happy I packed that extra thing I didn't think I'd need.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hockey Sticks and Yankee Candles

I am currently typing in the Charlotte Airport. Barry Manilow is singing from the speaker above me in Starbucks. Something about peace and kids and Christmas. I don't know. I'm not a Manilow fan.

I'm headed home a bit earlier than expected from a shoot at UNC. For a few weeks now I have been following the women's field hockey team. Last weekend they earned the title of Patriot League Champs, and as a result, they were sent this weekend to compete against UNC in the NCAA quarter finals.

When I first mentioned the team would be traveling, my editor said "Oh we'll send a freelancer"
To which I responded, deadpan "Uh, no we won't" and added that the videographers get to travel for their stories all the time.
"Well not all the time" he retorted.
I disagreed. And then I was sent to UNC, but not without feeling guilty about it.

I'm sure UNC is a lovely place. I arrived Friday afternoon to Raleigh-Durham after a long day of travel and checked in to a La Quinta hotel. The hotel where the team was staying was out of rooms, and since I was worried about cost, La Quinta it was. It was fine. Clean, whatever.

I asked the front desk where I could go for a bite, and when I told him I didn't have a car he told me I could order delivery from a pizza joint. Delightful.

The game the next day was challenging, both to shoot and to play. The terriers were defeated 4-2 and the seniors were crushed. More so that their season was over than anything else, I think. Did I get a great shot of them crushed? Not really. The light was horrific. The sun was high and bright as ever.

My best shot was of the team captain sulking in the bus on the way back. Was it worth the $700 (to get to UNC?) probably not, but a freelancer wouldn't have gotten it, that's for sure.

Sofi and Hester, post-game ride.
Now my challenge was the fact that it was now Saturday afternoon and my flight didn't leave til Sunday night at 6. The team was being flown out Saturday night. NCAA apparently foots the bill, and buys only one way tickets until the game splay out. I thought, well, I could go to the airport and try to fly standby. And possibly get stuck at the airport all day long? I couldn't fly out Saturday night because I hadn't checked out of my room at noon so it was paid for through the night anyway.

Curiosity, fear of boredom and another shitty delivery salad nagging at me I did a search for morning flights and decided that paying $145 out of my own pocket to leave first thing in the morning was a far better option to taking cabs here and there all day long tomorrow to try and make something of my day while waiting to catch my late flight.

With that out of the way and images filed for the athletic department, I took a cab to a mall to look around and get a bite. NC is interesting. People are not surprisingly friendlier there than they are in Boston, and they look you in the eye. Like, a lot. Like, I thought maybe I was gorgeous!  But, no, definitely not (did I mentioned I have been wearing the same clothes for three days because my carry on needed to be camera gear. I did manage a second shirt and change of underwear (gotta pad the lenses with something!).

And my mall visit was productive. I bought an oven thermometer which I've been in need of since, oh, say 2011, some moisturizer I've been wanting to get, a nice seared tuna salad for dinner, and participated in the following activity which I posted on FB...

I decided to wander through a Yankee candle store and find the dumbest names of candles. Don't get me wrong, I love a good stinky candle as much as the next American, but this was a fun activity.
Smells like frost bite and disappointment because Santa doesn't actually live there, hide your eyes..HE's NOT REAL!
Now, this one I'm grateful for because fake roses smell just awful. #whatswrongwithcallingitjustplainrose?
I got nothin'

I'm gonna save a wicked lot of money and just do my laundry and jam my face in it when it comes out of the dryer. Saved money AND have clean clothes! Who's the winner now!?

I wanna know how different this candle and the "Beach Walk" candle could possibly be from each other. I'm thinking they're the same and the candlestick maker's got a case of the lazies.

*see "Beach Candle" caption

It's smells like rosin and the contents of a spit valve.#onlyorchestralgeeksunderstand

It's smells sweaty and itchy, and it's annoying cause you can't use your phone while you're using it.
The only way this could be better is if it were called "wonderful tonight" and had a prom picture from the early 1990s on it
I woke this morning at 3:30. Not because I needed to - I packed last night - but because I just did. And once I was awake I was wracked with worry about my photo story. Will it be good enough? Would it get enough exposure to warrant future stories? Jackie did a story a while back and it was received really well, and so now I feel pressure. And our stories were very different - she followed incoming freshman from home to campus to record their experience. One of the students has a chronic condition and the readers really responded to that. So, I'm worried. Really worried.

When I started this project, I felt like I could breath again. Really! Years and years of taking nice pictures, but falling far from my story-telling-loving roots of photojournalism. The students at BU are tough sometimes. They will often not bother getting back to you when you try to connect with them for a story. These athletes? I was in contact with four of them and without fail, I would hear back from them within 15 minutes. It was amazing and very appreciated.

I'd shot a practice or two before I spent time in their locker room when they were psyching themselves up for a game against Harvard. I thought I would cry. I think I might have even a little bit. Everywhere I turned there was a moment happening; music blaring and dancing all around, one player sitting quietly to herself looking at her phone, other players helping each other to get their hair game-ready, two players studying together while they had a moment to do it, signs, notes, personalized lockers everywhere. It was a total joy and got me really fired up about the project. Oh, and did I mention that prior to that there was a team meeting during which they meditated? They did (not sure the picture translates since they are all sitting at desks but one can hope).

Now that their final game, ending their season, was a losing game, I'm nervous about how we actually finish the story. The powers that be won't accept a story ending on a sad note. It's tricky.

Monday, November 2, 2015

People I Love

I've been thinking a lot tonight about the people I love. I've been assigned to make the slideshow for John's Celebration of Life service, happening on Saturday, and I've been going through lots of photos - most of which are not mine - and thinking about his life. And my life, and the people who are in it. The people I am so grateful to have in my life. The people I have lost who I miss and will continue to miss, but am so glad to have had the time I had, even if it wasn't enough.

Susan and I in the cape. I love this little gem from....2005 maybe?

Ten years ago, I made this slideshow. Looking at it now, the pictures are lacking, it's too long, and so on, but John loved it, I do remember that, because I gave him a copy and he told me he watched it a ton of time. I tried to read it again tonight and it wouldn't work, but when I uploaded to vimeo, tada!

Labor Day weekend 2005 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.