About two years ago I wrapped up my time working for The Red & Black, the student newspaper at UGA. In honor of that, and considering most of these photos never appeared more than 400px across on my website, I figured I would take a step back and show some of my favorite photos from the year I worked there as a Staff Photographer, Photo Editor and Chief Photographer. I’ve also included some commentary for each.
Back then the seniority system was almost impenetrable. You literally had to work your way from the bottom. I unofficially began working for the Red & Black as a freshman by writing columns. I had two or three published my freshman year then had a few more Fall semester of sophomore year. That spring I was given the opportunity to become a photo stringer by Photo Editor Emily Crawford who was a friend of mine from Demosthenian.
Starting my junior year I kept stringing, but also began writing news stories as an writer on staff. It wasn’t until Spring of 2007 that I was asked to become photo staff, but I jumped at the chance. I think because I spent such a large amount of time doing other stuff at the paper, by the time I got to what I wanted to be doing I was deeply loyal to the paper. I loved the Red & Black and I loved working there.
09/26/2007 – Childcare at UGA; This was probably my favorite singular photo from while I was in college. I was facing the other direction at first then I noticed this over my shoulder. One of the things I was taught about people is that they tend to repeat their actions, so if they do something once they are likely to do it again. It’s just a matter of when. Knowing I missed the first time, I turned around and composed the shot and sure enough, as the girl came back on the swing she kicked the sand up towards the other girl again. This photo absolutely doesn’t work if that background hadn’t been black though. It worked to my advantage.
1/21/2007 – Poster Sale; This occurred because I was trying to find a different way to shoot the semesterly poster sale. Decide to rotate the camera with the pages of the posters as they were being turned. Also popped a strobe to freeze the people in place. If I remember correctly, it ran to small in the paper to really see what was going on, but that happens sometimes.
02/13/2007 – Rock Climbing; This was supposed to be a stand alone, so my initial idea was to climb to the top of the rock wall and shoot down at someone as they were coming up. This of course meant climbing up the wall with all my gear strapped to my back. When I got up there, I realized that I had the wrong lens on so I had to do a change about 80 feet off the ground. Looking back, that was a terrible terrible idea.
02/13/2007 – Water Polo; I’d never shot water polo before this, I’ve never shot water polo since. It’s a very strange sport to be honest.
02/17/2007 – UGA vs. Auburn; UGA Basketball was so bad that they weren’t just terrible while I was a student, they were flat out TURRIBLE (sic). Somehow they managed to win the SEC Championship my senior year, but this photo wasn’t for that year. Luckily Auburn was another basement dweller in basketball.
3/6/2007 – Block Party; The University Police Chief offered to sit in a dunk tank for this frat’s bloc party. It was pretty cold that day, so I imagine he wasn’t too thrilled with his decision after the fact.
4/16/2007 – Virginia Tech vigil; The day the VT shooting happened some of the University’s religious groups held an impromptu vigil at the Tate Student Center. I had to put together a soundslide for this to go along with the photos for the paper so I ended up putting the audio recorder on the stage near a speaker and just forgot about it. It let me shoot the vigil without feeling like I had to stop and worry about getting audio. As far as shooting went though I tried to shoot mostly with my 70-200 so I wasn’t as close to this guy as the photo suggests. No one said anything to be either way and I was there through the full service.
4/20/2007 – Iraqi war protest; I actually know this guy. He was in Demosthenian with me and asked me not to use his name in my captions because some other people had taken photos of him earlier and he didn’t give them his name. Of course, he didn’t actually speak this to me, he sent it as a text message. I then told him that he shouldn’t be protesting if he doesn’t want to be associated with it. He let me use his name.
4/28/2007 – Twilight Criterium; The Twilight Criterium is a huge bike race that takes over downtown Athens every spring just before the end of the semester. This was from one of the shorter races, but this guy look really bored while he waited during a delay for his race to start. I thought it was funny and different from all the pan shots usually associated with the event.
/23/2007 – AthFest; This is what ISO 3200 looks like on a 10D. My Grady provided 20D was in the shop all summer so I borrowed an older body so I could keep shooting. It was slow, anything above ISO 800 was pretty unusable and the autofocus was terrible. At one point that all would have bothered me a lot, but back in the spring David Burnett came to campus and I noticed him shooting with one. When my teacher Mark handed me the 10d, I figured if Burnett could make it work, then I should learn how to work with what I have as well.
7/20/2009 – 12 Hours in Downtown Athens project, 12 a.m.; This photo and the photo below were ones I took while I was serving as Photo Editor for the paper. One of the bigger projects I wanted to do was a 24 hours in downtown Athens, but after not getting much support from the management we canceled it before the Editorial Advisor and Chief Page Designer were able negotiate it to get more space. By this point it was cutting it pretty close, so we cut the project in half to only 12 hours…
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7/21/2007 – 12 Hours in Downtown Athens project, 3 a.m.; The project involved about 10 photographers covering an hour to an hour and a half each. To help pick up the slack I took an extra half hour at the bottomside of the 3 a.m. slot, that was in addition to my midnight shift. Overall it was an interesting project and we got some pretty cool stuff out of it. I felt pretty accomplished for getting it organized and executed, even if it wasn’t exactly the way I envisioned it to begin with.
8/11/2007 – Out N’ About Tomatoes cover; We bought some tomatoes, then took them to the botanical gardens. It was a strange assignment.
8/20/2007 – UGA Football ticket pickup; Every year until UGA switched over to electronic tickets, the paper would cover the massive lines that would form to pick up football tickets in the fall. I really wanted to try something different, so I found a way to get inside the ticket booth and shoot out. It was a simple thing to do and it beat the standard long line shot.
8/28/2007 – Ron Jeremy vs. XXX Church debate; This shot is funny because Ron had apparently ripped some article out of a porn magazine and was quoting from it. Most people in the audience couldn’t tell, but there was a nearly naked woman on the other side of the page. I had to brighten the area up to get it to look like it did to me at the event, but you can see it pretty clearly now. I found it amusing anyway.
9/01/2007 – UGA vs. Oklahoma State; This was the start of a strange and great football season. Georgia took down OSU at home for the opener, blocking a punt on OSU’s first possession of the game for a touchdown and then lost to South Carolina a week or two later. After a loss at Tennessee, Georgia rallied and finished the year as the #2 team in the country. It was a great time to shoot UGA as a student.
9/5/2007 – Fall Activities Fair; UGA has over 300 student organization so every semester they hold an activities fair. Sometimes people do strange things to attract people to their club, so I just walked around awhile till I saw this girl playing with a snake. To be fair, the club studied reptiles and lizards, but she just seemed so happy to let that thing crawl on her face.
9/19/2007 – Farm 255; My first real experience shooting food. I still look at this photo and want some. One day I will eat at Farm 255, just no idea when that will be yet.
9/26/2007 – Childcare at UGA; During the Fall of 2007 there was a big fuss about childcare at UGA. The on campus childcare was limited to how many students they could take so petitions and rallies started popping up around campus. For one of the R&B’s stories they sent me to the childcare facility so I spent an hour or two just taking photos of the kids being themselves. The thing I’ll remember about how this photo ran was that the dominant that day was Vince Dooley riding in a rick-shaw.
10/01/2007 – Yoga; I’ve never done yoga, I don’t really understand yoga. It just seems like stretching to me, but people swear by it. Regardless, I took photos.
10/15/2007 – Pylon; This was the day I met Michael Lachowski. Mike was in the band Pylon during the 70’s and 80’s. The band was reissuing their first album so there was a release party at Wuxtry Records. That semester I was also the chair of the Alumni Relations Committee for the Demosthenian Literary Society. One of the tasks of the position is to organize the yearly anniversary meeting, part of which is finding speakers. For awhile we had talked about inviting Michael Stipe from REM to speak since he was a local and helped pay to finance a renovation of the building we met in, however when Stipe showed up the night he was kind of rude and came off as very unapproachable. After talking to Michael, I realized he would be the better pick and he accepted. He ended up giving a great speech about the history of the Athens Music scene and I had no doubt that I had made the right decision.
11/01/2007 – Deszo Benedek; Deszo was a teacher on my study abroad trip and while we were in Europe he told me about some of the problems he had with the administration. So, one day I get a call saying that a teacher is staging a hunger strike on North Campus. Imagine my surprise when I get there and it was him.
11/12/2007 – Jocelyn Negron; This was my final assignment for the Red & Black. I shot it knowing it could very well be my last after our Publisher found out I had begun freelancing for the Associated Press. Instead of being happy, he gave me an ultimatum, The R&B or the AP. The Editorial Advisor told me before I left to shoot this that he would try to get the publisher to change his mind and let me stay on as a staff photographer, but the publisher didn’t budge. I felt kind of betrayed about it after all the work I’d put in and decided to leave since the AP was a better opportunity and certainly paid better. It was a good run though, and I felt like I made the right move even though I was slated to be Co-Photo Editor the following semester.