Archives – June, 2010

getty’s lawn

Last week I went to Los Angeles with the other POYi graduate coordinators as part of my assistantship with Pictures of the Year International to help arrange the Awards and Education program at the Annenberg Space for Photography. We had a fabulous time there and it was a great opportunity to meet and chat with some of the most accomplished photojournalists of our time. After the daily programs, we usually hung out in the hotel lobby and grabbed a few drinks with photographers from all over the world. I truly believe there’s nothing more fun than a bunch of equally obsessed photo nerds perched together in the same place with a lot of beer. Thanks Craig Walker, Tomas van Houtryve, Paul Hansen, Tim Rasmussen and all the others who were there for an amazing week!

After our work was done, we had a day to relax and explore L.A. and decided to go to the Getty Center. Situated on a hill between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, the Center is one of the most impressive works of architecture I’ve ever seen. The breathtaking views, beautiful gardens and the spectacular all-white stone buildings all work perfectly together. Unfortunately, I’m not a very gifted architecture photographer and the shots I have of the museum aren’t really worth showing here. But to get an impression of the place, check out some of the pictures here.

After touring the museum, we took a break on the grass in the courtyard. Calin used the opportunity to roll himself down the hill so that he could tell people at home that he rolled down Mr. Getty’s very own lawn. It didn’t take long until the rest of us followed suit, and soon we were all tumbling down the hill in every possible position.

After the Getty, we went to the Hollywood Bowl to see a string of live concerts. One of the performing bands was the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. It was an amazing experience to hear them live. I didn’t even know that they were still playing, with Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo – two of the major figures of the Buena Vista Social Club – no longer alive. But here they were, and they sounded as great as ever…

My longest lens was a 90mm, so I really didn’t get a good shot of the actual members of the band, but I still like the feel of this one.

The British band Goldfrapp was the headliner of the evening, although I still don’t understand why. Nothing against Goldfrapp, but they definitely don’t compare to the Buena Vista Social Club. But, of course, that’s just my opinion…

June 29, 2010

professional project: on the other side

Two weeks ago, I finally received an answer from Jacqueline Lapine at the Missouri Department of Corrections regarding my request for an interview with Deandra Buchanan. She asked me to send sample questions, so I sent her a list with questions and a personal letter in which I introduced myself and my project. Ms. Lapine forwarded both to Buchanan and he agreed to speak to me on camera.

Yesterday I went to Jefferson City Correctional Center to finally meet Buchanan. Escorted by the activity director of the facility and D.O.C. staffer Jeananne Markway I went through the security check and set up my camera in the visitors’ room. Buchanan was supposed to arrive a few minutes later, but someone in the chain of command had not been informed about the interview and so we had to wait for about half an hour until they brought him from his cell. Unfortunately for me, this meant that my time with him was cut short significantly because he had to be back in his cell block for the next count.

For the first fifteen minutes, Deandra was negotiating the terms of the interview with me and by the time we got started talking, I had only about half an hour left. Thankfully, the prison staff was quite generous and gave me another ten minutes or so to finish up the interview. I did have to leave out a few questions, but I think the material I have is good enough to add another dimension to the project.

Here are some raw edits of the audio footage:

Buchanan recounts the night of the crime:

On his reaction to the death sentence:

On dealing with guilt and remorse:

On his reaction to Valeria Brown’s visit and forgiveness:

On his outlook on life:

Buchanan’s advice to someone in his situation:

About the criminal justice system:

June 19, 2010

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