My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Friday, March 30, 2007


I spent Friday March 2 in Americus, Georgia photographing the aftermath of a tornado. Covering news events like this where people have been killed, others have lost their homes always leave me with really mixed feelings. You know that there are some really great photos to be taken, and you want to shoot them.
This is what we do, we cover the news.

The heart of any news story are the people involved. You are photographing folks who are having probably one of the worst days of their lives. Sometimes it hurts even when you are insulated behind your camera. Some don't want to be photographed, I can understand that. But others don't mind, they stop and talk with you, willing to share their story, this moment in their life. And almost always with a great kindness.
Guess over the years folks have seen that their stories are told honestly in our paper, and that we stay away from sensationalism. Maintaining that trust is important to us all.
Sometimes you know that you have a really strong photo, but you feel a bit of guilt
as well. Your great picture is at their expense. But it isn't about the photos, it is about telling their story. Letting others know what they went through.
Jeryl Pinnell, his family and friends were cleaning up and repairing storm damage in his drugstore. Been at it all night. Not only did they let photograph their work, and tell me their story, they let me use an office to download and send my photos. They also tried to feed me. Middle Georgia grows some fantastic people.

Covering the big stories on the road is a lot easier with our present technology.
Digital cameras, laptop computers. There was a time when you had to carry a small darkroom with you, or find one. Then wait in line to have the Associated Press folks send the picture. Now you can download your images into your laptop, get them ready and send with your cellphone.
That's what I did in Americus. Only trouble, everyone else was using their cellphones, too. It took forever. I stood holding my phone over my head where it registered the best signal for about 45 minutes. I remembered a conversation with AP photographer Charlie Kelly back in the late 1970's while covering Jimmy Carter. Charlie had set up a darkroom in a motel bathroom in Plains and sent his pictures. He said "Danny, I can see myself one day, standing in a motel parking lot in South Georgia with an antenna on my head yelling Beam Me Up Washington!"
Well Charlie, here we are.
The photo below was taken by Jeff Blake as I sent photos from another event.

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