Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sitting in my mini van in a place called Hunters Point in San Francisco. It's 6:15am, its dark, there aren't even lights in the streets. I wanted to get the early morning light for some landscapes I need to shoot for a project I'm on for ESPN. It's way too early, it's total darkness, and it seems this mini van is just out of place. Halloween ghosts and skulls decorate a house here and there. It doesn't look good to me...it doesn't seem festive. Another white boy, age 40, in the bad neighborhood trying to get "the story".
The days are kind of an emotional blur as we work on this story: meeting these wonderful people that we seem to be able to relate to and hang with and photograph...so we have common ground, right? Almost. They seem to have to deal with Death in a way I never really ever have had to. They have jobs like mine and kids like mine, and then they have the Grim Reaper....who might be around any corner. Their kids are raised with the Grim Reaper. Death is a fundamental part of their life.
During the week we are shooting this story we are also putting together a more produced photograph for another magazine that involves a superstar pro athlete. We need a wardrobe stylist for the shoot, what about the catering, is he Vegan? I dunno....I'd love to dress him in all orange, it would look sweet against the white walls of the place. The contrast of the two shoots was just kind of jarring. I had to finish the Hunter's Point story and close the book in my mind before really addressing the Superstar Athlete shot. I could not multi task on this one.
Tom Friend is a great writer with ESPN whom I worked with once before. His stories are complex and human and family is often at the core of these tales. The story we worked on is HERE.