Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 6

I have waited way too long to post about the remaining days of the trip because I have forgotten almost everything that I did. I will do my best to recall as many things about the last couple of days as I can. I went along with Peter and Colleen to Versailles where Peter photographed the outdoor market. I hung around there for a little bit and then ventured over to a taqueria that I had visited previously. We then went to another taqueria that I hadn't been to before. I was able to photograph for a while but we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for the Gulf of Mexico. I was so excited for the Gulf because I had never experienced salt water before. I enjoyed it a little bit too much because I left with the most painful burn I have ever experienced. Later that night, a couple of us went on a shoot where I was able to photograph a Hispanic grocery store. I did not go in, but I photographed an adorable girl with her bicycle outside of the store. It was a long, but fulfilling day!

Day 5

I have not blogged in a couple of days so I will do my best to remember all of the activities. Friday morning, we went on a sunrise shoot at Lake Ponchartrain where I encountered a chronic case of lens fogging that did not subside until several minutes after we got there. I did continue to take photographs through the fogged lens and actually found that they look pretty interesting; they are posted below.

After lunch, we went to Algiers in search of a Vietnamese garden that we never found BUT we spotted a taqueria that I was able to photograph. Thank you Peter and Amanda for being patient while I photographed! Here are a couple of photographs of that taqueria.

After dinner, Colleen, Amanda, and I took some sunset shots. You cannot call the sky by the way, in case anyone attempts to try. We picked up Peter, then Micah and Nick (I was the camera woman and got tons of footage of picking them all up). That is all for now--I will continue catching up later but my bed is calling for me. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just For Fun

Here are some pictures that I have taken in my spare time when I am not working on my essay. I have enjoyed any chance I can get to photograph and I really wanted to make sure that I took "tourist" photographs of New Orleans and my experiences not related to my project.

Here is the giant pile of red ants we encountered during our morning shoot.

I fell in love with this poster and took tons of photographs of it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Days 3 and 4

Wednesday was a long, but rewarding day. Amanda and I went on a sunrise shoot at 5:45 am; we went on the ferry to take photographs at Algiers. Later that morning, we got to spend time with the Times Picayune photographers, Ted Jackson, Jennifer Zdon, and Rusty Costanza. This was an absolutely amazing experience because they were all so knowledgeable and very willing to give us advice, and I also really enjoyed the stories about their experiences while working at the paper. We were able to go along with the photographers on actual assignments, which was helpful in understanding what it is like to be a photojournalist. I rode along with Jennifer Zdon on two assignments and she did a great job at explaining how to approach assignments that seem very difficult to illustrate, and how to make the best of what you have. I am so thankful for them taking the time to talk to us and share their incredible experiences. I went almost immediately with Colleen to a networking event that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana was hosting. I was fortunate enough to make a couple of contacts that could possibly help me with my story. We also stopped at a mexican restaurant to eat (I photographed there as well). The women there were so nice and so willing to let me photograph them. So far I have two images from that restaurant.
The day ended with a critique of the class' work.

Thursday started with a morning shoot in Versailles where there were two taquerias and a grocery story that catered to the hispanic population in the area. Everyone that I came into contact was so wonderful and willing to let me photograph. That is something that I have been so thankful for during this trip (how kind all of my subjects are and how willing they are to be a part of my story). Here are some of the photographs taken from that morning.

I had a couple of hours to edit some photographs and put them together for the critique that occurred later in the afternoon. We went on a tour of the photography exhibit at the Ogden Museum between the morning shoot and the critique. Tony Lewis, the Curator of Visual Arts at the Louisiana State Museums, attended the critique to offer advice on our essays, which was very helpful to hear when we still have plenty of time to make changes to our photographs. Amanda and I were off to take sunset shots right after the critique. I photographed mostly abstract images of textures and lines, but it was a very enjoyable outing. I ended the night with a McDonalds McFlurry and a huge Diet Coke. Posted below (along with the images previously posted) are some initial edits on the shots I have taken so far for my essay. Again, the colors look much better on the actual files.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Two Days in New Orleans

I have not blogged lately so I will update quickly about what my story involves. I decided to focus on the Hispanic community in New Orleans--the culture and business (mexican restaurants, taquerias, and services) that have grown after Hurricane Katrina. I would also really like to photograph Hispanic families as well. I have been trying to contact the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Orleans, as well as the Archdiocese  to try to get contacts, events, or locations of business that would help my story. I will continue to try to contact and and hopefully meet with someone from those two organizations a little bit later this week. The first day we was very long. We arrived at the airport in Minneapolis at 4:00 a.m. for a 6:00 am flight to Memphis, Tennessee. We spent a couple of hours in Memphis before we finished the trip to New Orleans. By the time we got there, it felt like late in the afternoon when it was only 11:00 a.m. We got a bit of a rest before we went on the Hurricane Katrina bus tour, which was really good to get an idea of the different areas of the city. We relaxed for pretty much the rest of the night. 
Today started with a sunrise shoot at Holy Cross. Unfortunately my camera sensor and lenses fogged from the humidity, so I didn't get hardly any usable images. The lighting was amazing though!! Later today, Colleen took me to a traveling taqueria stand, where I had the best quesadilla I have ever had. With the help of Colleen's spanish skills, I was able to photograph the women working there, along with a customer who stopped to get food. The lighting was not ideal, but the experience was really great. I have posted an image that I took below (the colors look different on the actual file). Tonight, I am going on a night shoot with my classmates and I can't wait!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Response to When the Levees Broke


The entire video When the Levees Broke was really shocking for me and hard to watch at times. When I heard about Hurricane Katrina, I had no idea the extent in which New Orleans was destroyed; I could have never imagined that 80% of the city was under water. Another misconception that I had was that our government and people around the nation were doing their part in New Orleans and the surrounding areas to help victims immediately, when that was not really the case. Everything that was included in this video was overwhelming because I honestly had no idea what was going on during and after the storm. I appreciate how honest the film was; it showed actual footage from Katrina and interviews from people that lived through it, as well as the people in control of how things were executed in the wake of the hurricane.

            The part of the film that affected me the most was the way the survivors were treated after the hurricane hit. For those individuals, the nightmare did not end when the storm passed by. They then had to face hunger, thirst, and heat, all while having to watch their loved ones suffer and die in front of them. When buses finally came to take them away from the city (several days after hurricane), they were split into groups of men, women, children, and elderly. This form of separation caused families and friends to be spread across the nation without a way of getting back together. I cannot understand why this evacuation process happened the way it did. People were basically dropped off in states that they had never been, without the people they loved. The video, like the first video we watched, stated that the people of New Orleans generally don’t venture away from that city. They usually grow up there and stay there, so for families to be sprung across the nation must have been unimaginably painful for them. The nightmare continued as people returned to what was left of their homes. In some cases, they found bodies of their loved ones because the houses were not all properly searched for bodies. To this day, many people of New Orleans are still experiencing the results of Hurricane Katrina.

The footage and stories from the video almost seemed as though they were form a different time period or a different place. It is really hard for me to believe that in a country that I have always felt so secure in, could, for the most part, turn their back on all of those people. There is just so much of that event that was handled poorly, and it is really sad to know that much of the city is still destroyed and its people are still displaced—almost 4 years later.