First, thanks for agreeing to share some of the backstory on your work Corey. Your first place Sports Picture Story focuses on Christmas Joye Abbott and her quest to become the first woman pit crew member in NASCAR. Tell us a little about how you came upon this story.
I first approached Christmas to do a story on her downtown Raleigh CrossFit facility last October. Within the first few minutes of talking to her she mentioned to me that she was moving to Charlotte the following week, but that her business partner would continue to run the gym. When I pressed her for more information on her move, I quickly realized that the story I hadn’t even started was going to be shelved. She told me that she was going to begin training as a NASCAR pit crew member and I knew that I had to follow her on that journey.
What were your first impressions of Christmas and how did you approach telling her story?
She was open from the beginning to have me tell her story. As a story teller, that goes a long way. Her manager, Ted, was also really accommodating, forthcoming and easy to work with. It was a dream combination. I’ll admit that since she’s gotten picked up by Michael Waltrip Racing a few weeks ago, it’s been harder to reach both of them – but they always return my calls and emails. I had anticipated a media storm once news broke in our paper about her and that certainly has proven to be true. So far I have no reason to worry, but I’m hoping that my access doesn’t start getting smaller as bigger media outlets, advertisers and corporations start to surround her. With the growing interest in her story, I’m hoping that our established relationship of trust and early story-telling allows me to continue to documenting her without limitations or boundaries.
What were some of the challenges you faced working on this story?
Other than the possibility of having less access, the biggest challenge to this piece was the 2.5 hour drive between Raleigh and Charlotte. Unfortunately I couldn’t just pop in and out on the story on a regular basis. However, this kept me focused and I had to made each visit count visually.
I was really struck by the image of Christmas surrounded by other male pit crew members (see here). Can you tell us a little bit about this image?
The image of her surrounded by the other men at her first race is one of my favorite images from that shoot. I liked the fact that she wasn’t the largest subject in the photo, but still remained the central focus. It says that she’s just one of the guy, so to speak, while at the race. When she’s on the job, she’s focused and serious. She’s not looking for attention. She’s working.
When the story ran in your paper did you get much reaction from readers? What was the reaction?
We’ve run three stories on Christmas so far, and each time there are a wide variety online comments both in our paper and our sister paper The Charlotte Observer. Truthfully, I didn’t read many of the comments. I heard that some people criticized her for being overly tattooed or being a publicity stunt. Others supported her for her efforts. I try to stay focused on telling the story. I’ve never been a big fan of online comments. If the increased interest from other media outlets, advertisers and Michael Waltrip Racing is any indication of the level of interest and enthusiasm for what she’s doing, then I say she’s peaked a great deal of interest.
Do you hope to continue working with Christmas in the future? What’s next for you?
My relationship with Christmas, her manager and her family is on-going. I plan on attending several races this season with her. My focus of the story is still on how she’s developing and working her way up through the ranks of NASCAR, as well as all of the external factors that are attaching themselves to her life: media, sponsors, fans, etc. Whether she’s in this for the long-haul or short term, I’m (visually) along for the ride to see where she goes and how she does it. What I can say after spending time with her is that she’s an incredibly fit, focused and kind person. She’s determined to make a difference in the sport. Although it’s still early in her NASCAR story, she’s already made some changes by becoming the first full-time female crew member to be picked up by a major racing team for a NASCAR Sprint Cup operation.
About Corey Lowenstein:
Corey Lowenstein has been a staff photographer with The News & Observer since 1996. Previously she worked as a freelance photographer in Italy and was on contract with The Hartford Courant.
She is drawn to the quiet, overlooked moments in everyday life and is a well-rounded journalist that covers everything from sports to spot news, from politics to features. In addition to photography, Corey has taken on the role as a photo editor at the paper.
She graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and lives in Raleigh with her husband and twin boys.
First off Lauren, thanks for agreeing to be part of this series and congratulations on your first place Sports Action win. It’s quite an arresting image. Can you tell us the back story?
Thanks for including me in the Frame in Focus series! This image came from a fairly routine assignment, the East v. West All Star high school football game, held in Greensboro. It was played in the early evening in July, which was a treat for me, light-wise. I’m usually shooting high school football after dark in less than ideal stadium light. If that had been the case here, this photo would have likely not happened. Just before this play I had moved to shoot from the endzone, which always lends itself to a clean shot of the sidelines. The little girl was standing on the sidelines with her father, who was there in some sort of official capacity.
Did you know right away that you caught the image? What happened immediately after? And was the girl ok?
The player ran the ball down the field and was eventually tackled and pushed out of bounds. I had a clean shot and was following the action through the viewfinder, and I remember seeing a brief pink blur before the player fell to the ground and out of my frame. For a split second I had no idea what the pink blur was, and as soon as I realized it, my stomach flipped. A crowd formed around the little girl, who was sitting on the ground looking totally stunned. Her father and some others came to her side to make sure everything was alright, checked out her arms and legs for any breaks. Once she put together what had happened, she shed maybe three tears and then she stood up and walked away, completely unharmed. I missed probably the next three or four plays while all this was going on because I was glued to the scene with the girl, wanting to see that she was alright.
Did the image run in the newspaper and what was the reaction?
I shot the rest of the game and sent the normal game action photos in along with the collision photo. I called the desk to talk to them about it, and we decided that even though it wasn’t the typical peak action that we usually tend to run (it wasn’t the MVP or even a local player, wasn’t a key play, etc) that it was a strong enough photo to run anyway. The next day I woke up to see it had run quite large on the sports front. Our managing editor told me if it had been earlier in the day, they would have played it out front on A1.
What is your approach to shooting big sports events? What are some of the challenges and how do you overcome them?
Join us for a print show and auction featuring work from several of past NCPPA Photographers of the Year along with current and past judges. The print show will be Saturday Feb 16 at the Pink Dog gallery in Asheville.
Here is a sample of the images submitted for the show:
“older man with cigarette” by Eric Seals
“Inauguration” by Charles Dharapak
“underwater w/ flowers” by Corey Perrine
“Boat at night” by Logan Mock-Bunting
“Bikers” by Mike Davis
“Wars” by Gerry Melendez
The judges for the NCPPA’s 2012 Photos of the Year competition have a wide-range of experience between them. We are excited to announce Charles Dharapak of the AP, Eric Seals of the Detroit Free Press and Gerry Melendez of The State (Columbia SC).
Charles Dharapak joined the Associated Press in 1995 as a staff photographer based in Southeast Asia.
While in Bangkok, Thailand, he covered Cambodia’s civil war and pro-democracy movement in Burma and later became the AP’s chief photographer and photo editor in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he covered the riots leading to the fall of Suharto, East Timor’s independence, various communal and religious conflicts, and the rise of Muslim extremism. In 2002, he spent considerable time photographing the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Transferring to AP Washington in 2003, he has covered national politics including the Bush administration, the 2004, 2008, and 2012 presidential campaigns, and currently the Obama White House.
Dharapak grew up in Staten Island, N.Y., and attended New York University where he left his medical studies and received his degree in Print Journalism and Economics.
His work in Gaza in 2002 was recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors and he has received awards for his Washington political coverage from the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism contest and was named the White House News Photographers Association 2012 Still Photographer of the Year.
“If you learn to shoot with your heart, you’ll move peoples souls!”
A good friend said that to Eric some time ago & it is something he thinks about constantly working as a Photo & Video Journalist at the Detroit Free Press.
A 1993 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Eric worked at The State Newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina until 1999 when he joined the Detroit Free Press. It’s the newspaper he grew up reading & dreamed of working at since getting into photography in 10th grade.
Over the years Eric has covered many things from various Presidential campaigns, two different intifadas in Israel/Palestine, 5 months covering the war in Iraq & many sports from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to several Super Bowls, World Series & NBA Finals. In May of 2008 Eric eagerly embraced video storytelling as his paper started the big push to video on the web. From video features to projects he loves trying to bring a cinematic feel and style to his pieces while always staying true to the one thing that matters the most: the story, the story, the story!
Eric has been recognized for his video storytelling with the 2011 MPPA Multimedia Photographer of the Year, a national Webby Award, several POYi, NPPA-BOP awards & six Michigan Emmys.
Eric has taught at several workshops & has judged at national & state contests around the country. He loves the “Reach One, Teach One” philosophy & mentors others around the country interested in this amazing profession!
Seals is married, has two kids ages 13 & 8. He can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about photo & video storytelling.
He can also be found on Twitter; @ericseals & on Instagram; Eric Seals
We are looking forward to an awesome weekend in Asheville, here’s a look at plan so far:
Where to stay
The Hazara, Afghanistan’s servant class, must not only survive the war, but constant persecution from a society that keeps them on the bottom rung. Extreme poverty, lack of basic services, and a deeply-ingrained prejudice against them have made the Hazara one of the most maltreated and migratory groups in the world.
About Ted Richardson:
Ted Richardson has been working as a full-time photojournalist for the
past 12 years, covering a variety of photo and multimedia assignments,
including stories in Afghanistan, Mexico and Cuba, hurricanes that
battered the east coast, the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech,
college and professional sports championships, including the Carolina
Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup victory, and the inauguration of President
Barack Obama. However, Ted’s career is best defined by smaller
moments from daily life, by stories that reveal the joys and struggles
of ordinary people in the community.
Ted has taught courses in photojournalism and multimedia journalism at
UNC-Chapel Hill, and his work has garnered dozens of awards, including
two Photographer of the Year honors in North Carolina (NC Press
Association-2007, and NC Press Photographers’ Clip Contest-2006). He
graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in English, and from
UNC-Chapel Hill with a Master’s in Journalism.
See his work at www.tedpix.photoshelter.com/
David, your first place sports image captures a unique point of peak action. Tell us a little bit about how you caught this image.
I was covering the Carolina Panthers’ defense against the Arizona Cardinals so I was shooting the defense coming toward me. I followed the play in the Cardinals’ backfield and saw one of the Panthers’ linemen break through toward the quarterback. I kept shooting till the whistle blew and the play was finished.
James, your photo shows a man walking through wreckage in the aftermath of a tornado. The photo looks like it was taken pretty soon after the tornado. Tell us a little about the photo and how it was made.
The man in the photograph is John Hess who I found walking with a cane out of his neighborhood just a little while after a tornado passed through and destroyed his home along with most of the houses on his block.
I’m not real sure how soon after the storm passed that I made it to the scene. The police had arrived but had not yet shut down the main road that passed by the subdivision. After I made it past the few officials stopping people from going in the neighborhood, I met up with a firefighter who was going looking for people who might need help. John was in the second group we came too, he was with his wife and a friend who was helping them get out.
‘Frame in Focus’ features interviews with NCPPA photographers about their work. The series is a way to share images and encourage dialogue with photographers in North Carolina. We want to provide a platform that promotes active learning and fosters support for our state-wide photo community.
We’re going to start by highlighting some of the winners in the 2011 NCPPA photos of the year contest.
We’re pleased to share Jerry Wolford’s second place Sport Picture Story called “The One to Beat.” You can see the complete entry here.
Jerry you had a memorable story in this year’s contest about Ryan Leonard, a 14 year old varsity wrestler who has no arms. Can you tell us how you met Ryan?
I originally saw a short story about Ryan in a free magazine circulating in Asheboro. It sat on my desk for months and finally our Director of Photography, Rob Brown, shamed me into giving the story a try. The story I saw was about him playing football, but I was more interested in the solo sport of wrestling and wanted to wait to start the story. I reluctantly started during football season. Those photos ran in the paper, but the strongest final edit came from the wrestling season for Ryan. On reflection, the football season paved the way for me to have a more free flowing access during the visually more important wrestling season. I was less of an intrusion at that point.
Jerry Wolford of the News & Record is the 2011 Cumulative Photographer of the Year which is awarded for the most points in the NCPPA’s monthly clip contest. Throughout 2011, his work was consistently recognized by judges from all over the country.
Wolford’s work can be seen throughout the 2011 winning image galleries.
Dear NCPPA members-
We had a great weekend in Chapel Hill. Our judges Mike Davis, Nicole Fruge and Amanda Lucier did an excellent job with our contest Friday and Saturday. A big congratulations to Logan Mock-Bunting, our 2011 NCPPA photographer of the year. See his work and the rest of the category winners on our website.
In addition to the judging, the presentations yesterday by our speakers were energizing, thoughtful and enlightening. The print auction was very successful with Ross Taylor acting as our auctioneer. A big thanks to Emma Tannenbaum for organizing that.
During our NCPPA annual meeting, we discussed things we can do as an organization to improve our existing programs. Here are some of the decisions we made and improvements we hope to implement this next year:
Congratulations to the winner of this year’s POY contest.
We had a great weekend in Chapel Hill and would like to give a big “Hazaa!” to our photographer of the year Logan Mock-Bunting and all the winners of our annual POY contest.
Follow the link for a complete list of winners.
We have some really great prints that will be up for auction on Sunday. Thank you to everyone who donated- the auction goes a long way in supporting our organization.
If you’re interested, there’s still time to donate a print! Everyone who donates will be entered in a raffle to win a Think Tank airport camera bag. Email us at email@example.com for more info.
PRINTS FOR THE 2012 NCPPA PRINT AUCTION
View all photos on the jump…
The contest judging and annual meeting are almost here. February 17-19, 2012 we’ll be meeting in Carroll Hall on UNC’s campus for the contest judging (Friday and Saturday) and for the speakers, print contest and annual meeting (Sunday). Here are some links to maps to help you find Carroll Hall on campus.
More campus map options:
I also attached a few maps here:
Nobody likes covering an accident. I was driving back to Raleigh from Boone when I came up on this scene about 20 miles from Winston-Salem. Debris and diesel fuel littered about 50 yards of Highway 421 on Friday. Despite the severity of the accident all the rescue workers and police officers were extremely calm and respectful. Situations like this aren’t fun for anybody and it’s reassuring to see rescue workers keeping everything as calm as possible given the circumstances.
A couple of weeks ago Andrew Craft was featured on “The Image, Deconstructed” blog, so you should check it out and check out the rest of the photographers featured there.
Greetings from Western North Carolina! I thought these were some nice summer images from Colby Rabon here in Asheville. To see more of his work, visit his blog: www.colbyrabon.wordpress.com
He also hopped a train from Asheville to Knoxville recently. Check those photos out here: http://colbyrabon.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/asheville-knoxville/
For other news in the Asheville area:
*Asheville Citizen-Times (where I work): www.citizen-times.com
*Mountain Xpress: www.mountainx.com
Hope that you’re all staying cool! More to come from Bele Chere this weekend…
It is HOT outside. While most people are inside staying cool I wanted to post some photos I took earlier this month at the Fun Fourth Celebration in downtown Greensboro on July 4th. I was surprised how many people ventured out for this event. Including 1009 drummers in an attempt to break the world record for largest group of snare drummers during a 5 minute drum role. They didn’t break the record but the crowd still loved it.
If you are wondering who I am, I am Alice Dull freelance photographer currently in Greensboro NC.
For those of you who may not know me, this is Mike Spencer, Staff Photographer with the StarNews in Wilmington, NC. In my first post here on the blog I thought it would be appropriate to share something with a coastal theme. Last month I traveled to Nags Head, N.C. to preview the new Jennette’s Pier as last minute details were finished and the media were allowed a tour. When I was assigned the shoot I started thinking of what else I could shoot in addition to the tour. I decided to photographed the pier at dusk and at sunrise. It paid off with what I think are some nice images of the pier. See what you think, check out my gallery. If you are in the Wilmington area be sure to drop me a line. Until next time…Have a great day.
First Place | Sam Roberts
Second Place | Brad Coville
Third Place | John Althouse
Welcome to the news blog of the North Carolina Press Photographer Association. We hope this space becomes a showcase for North Carolina Photojournalism and Multimedia. Check Back soon as we announce the winners of our 2010 POY contest.