Where All the Lights are Bright

Get!Downtown festival 2011: As mentioned in my last post I was really hoping to dig in and find some neat situations at the festival this time around. However, just like last year, I was also assigned to shoot a high school football game that night. With only 45 minutes on the street I do not feel I was able to do the event justice. Maybe next year?

  • Young couple on a first date (yes, they told me this).
  • Balancing act performers on the street.
  • Meatball eating contest (the winner downed 14).
  • Busker on acoustic.

365 days later…

On this day in 2010, I walked into the employee entrance of the News & Advance office, was shown to my desk and handed a camera. Granted, this camera turned out to be malfunctioning and my computer log-in had not yet been activated, but still, I had a job.

It has been a wonderful year and, as much as I miss Minneapolis and all the people I had to leave behind (but only in person), I don’t have any regrets about this most recent move. To many of my friends that have asked how I am doing, I have related a little story from a Christmas party back in December. As I was preparing myself a cocktail, a friendly guy in his late 20’s introduced himself and asked me what I do. I told him I was at the paper and added that I had recently moved to the area. He asked how I liked it and I said I was actually surprised by all that Lynchburg had to offer. He replied, “I know! It’s like, Lynchburg: not as bad as it sounds!” He had hit the nail right on its unfortunately-named head. And if anyone who reads this blog is also friends with me on facebook, I’m sure you will have noticed the album of 150+ photos from my life here which bears that phrase as its title.

All things considered, I believe every new experience is what you make of it and I am in the habit of making the most of what I find. I like to explore and push boundaries. Sometimes to a fault. (But I haven’t been arrested for trespassing… yet.) From hiking in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains to rubbing elbows with¬†local pool sharks at the Cav Cup, I really have tried to understand this city, county and region first-hand. Of course, working at the newspaper has certainly facilitated this ambition but I like to think that my outgoing personality also facilitates my picture-taking. At this point I also need to give a shout-out to fellow photographer Kim Raff who has gone out of her way on countless occasions to include me in Lynchburg traditions and make me aware of worthwhile goings-on. As of this writing, she is expecting to leave here to work for a paper in Utah within a month and she will be missed. She met my father and I for dinner the night I arrived and never faltered as a mentor. Even her argumentative rants were always well-intentioned and in the best interest of the integrity of the newspaper.

So tomorrow I start my second year at this job and the schedule says I will be shooting two of the same events that I did last year: the Get!Downtown festival and an E.C. Glass High School football game. This industry revolves on a year-long cycle of sorts, with various annual events and holidays marking milestones as the seasons come and go. Ideally, we find a new angle or a fresh approach each time to expand on previous coverage. In practice, however, it’s simply not always possible. I will be very interested to see what I am able to capture second time around, if it will be better, worse or just different than the first time. I’d like to think I know what to expect but, as I learned that first day when I got to my assignment and my camera screen went black, you never know what’s going to happen.

Art of the Gallery

The Maier Museum of Art on the campus of Randolph College is celebrating its 100th year this year. This week they unveiled a show that highlights at least one piece from each decade, from painting to sculpture to photography. John Spanich is the museum’s preparator and he was working on a few final details before the show’s opening when I arrived to take some promo photos.

Silver and Gold

Gold is up right now. Way up. If I had some, I’d consider selling it. But I don’t. Lynchburg Pawn Shop has seen its gold intake rise almost tenfold in the last month following the rise in price of gold. I hung out for a couple hours and learned a lot about the pawn business and how to tell if jewelry is solid gold or silver or not (if it is, it won’t be attracted to a magnet). In the last photo below, a fake is revealed.