shining girls

By strazz

June 23, 2009

Category: Daily work


I have been a newspaper photographer for over twenty years now.

Newspaper photography can at times can be very limiting. I can go out and make a newspaper-quality photo in seconds. Nicely composed, an interesting moment, not too challenging to the viewer. In other words, shooting for the widest possible acceptance.

I try to push the boundaries a bit and not keep cranking out the same type of photo year after year.

Over the past month or so, however, I feel like the images that I am drawn to are very different. Some of them are so different that I don’t even turn them in.

This shot is a good example.

When I came upon these girls with  my camera, they stopped dead in their tracks and looked at me. I banged off a couple frames from my waist as they stood looking at me. I then approached their mom and asked permission to photograph them playing.

After getting the go ahead, I made a handful of very pleasing fun shots of their play. Perfect photos for the cover of our feature section.

But I liked this photo best. It is totally influenced by my presence. It has flaws in all the right places but I don’t think it is newspaper quality.

What does it say? I don’t know but it sort of reminds me of the hallway girls from “The Shining”.


7 Responses to “shining girls”

  1. Very nice! and yes creepy in a way… not totally creepy though.
    It would be much more creepy if the crowd wasn’t there and that was all empty space and buildings.

    What it really says to me is boredom and it displays the disconnect between adults and children. The adults are all there and they are paying attention to something else – not the kids. I really think they are looking at you like they want you to play with them….

    -Rob Jones

  2. Kinda zombie like.

    You make an interesting point about people stopping in their tracks and staring at the camera. Now that I have nieces it is interesting to see how we are conditioned at a very early age to react to a camera.

    “Look at mommy”, “Smile”, “Say Cheese”. These manufactured reactions to the camera make life as a photojournalist more challenging. Guess that’s why they pay us the big bucks!

  3. Interesting insight. I think this frame is great. I agree that it shouldn’t run in a newspaper. It would be great in a lot of other venues though. Especially here to illustrate a point 😉

    You’re a fantastic documentarian. How cool would it be if you made a documentary exclusively for frames like this. Ones that you would never put in the newspaper you work for, but shots that you were drawn to take. I bet you have quite a collection of them.

    Just saying – if you made a book, I would buy it.

  4. i thought i saw you roaming the crowd that night. keep up the great work – i always enjoy viewing it.

  5. Scott,
    I love this photo, and i understand what yu mean but it perhaps not “fitting” into submission, but at the same time, i wonder, are we selling our audience/potential audience short by assuming that they wouldn’t also recognize the visual value of images like this….sometimes we will go ahead and run these photos, but we also are fortunate to have a photo column called “still life” which is pretty much all about these kinds of images – the ones that tell a more timeless story, the ones that may not speak so directly to the event, but that have a “feel” to them – a presence that transcends the time and place in which they occur – at times we’ve asked ourselves if we tend to hold back our best photos for Still life’s, and i guess that could be a pretty endless debate, sort of chicken and egg-ish – and it’s these photos – which we don’t caption in the traditional sense, but instead find a quote that mirrors/captures/enahnces the spirit/feel of the image – which we get comments on time and again from readers – things like how interesting they are, how much it makes them think, how they like to cut them out and put them on the fridge – and this from a small, community paper where you’d think cute kids and group shots of the quilting guild would be considered great art (don’t get me wrong, people here love that, too, which is what is so surprisingly and hearteningly refreshing whenever i get feedback on the still life pix…..
    all that being said and not to hog your post space with my own ramblings – i say, let yur eye o where it needs/wants to – maybe you should submit some of these, or start a column that would do them justice – they’re great images, and rose is a rose is a rose, right?!
    best, kim

  6. This may be one of my favorite of your photos,oddly enough it’s one that I often try to do and it’s never quite right. I’m glad somebody can do it 🙂

  7. Saw this on the front of APAD. Congrats!

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