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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Sports Illustrated Lays Off Three Photographers, One Editor
Michael Schennum, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 2:39 PM on 01.19.07
->> http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/newswire/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=10...
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Jim Colburn, Photographer, Photo Editor
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 4:39 PM on 01.19.07
->> Here's a link to Poynter that gives the list of carnage at all Time Inc mags:

http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=12230
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Kevin Liles, Photographer
Griffin | GA | USA | Posted: 4:54 PM on 01.19.07
->> How many staff photographers does SI have?
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 5:01 PM on 01.19.07
->> This isn't Jim fault, but the link he posted for poynter has crashed Safari 4 times everytime the site opens in my browser. Frustrating.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 01.19.07
->> OK Firefox didn't crash!

The saving grace for the 3 staff photographers is that they can freelance to Sports Illustrated. They will have to cover their own benefits, health care and retirement out of their assignment fees.

Something many of the other staffers won't be able to do.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 12:26 AM on 01.20.07
->> Anyone know who the Si people were that were laid off?
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 12:47 AM on 01.20.07
->> According the the link to Gawker that is in the link posted by Michael they have not named names yet because they are asking for volunteers first. If the memos posted in Gawker are true, then the deadline for volunteers is Feb 1.
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Neal Vaughan, Photographer
St. Joseph | MI | usa | Posted: 10:31 AM on 01.20.07
->> Whatever "volunteers" decide to accept the offer will certainly be given a very generous severance package. I can't imagine something so generous at our company.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer, Photo Editor
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 11:40 PM on 01.20.07
->> "Whatever "volunteers" decide to accept the offer will certainly be given a very generous severance package"

Don't count their chickens before they've hatched...
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 2:05 AM on 01.21.07
->> I agree with Jim. I don't see why one should assume the severance package will be generous. On the other hand all the various threads about layoffs in media is somewhat interesting to watch, being a guy who's been in hi-tech for 17 years. I guess I'm just used to periodic layoffs, about not being loyal to an employer or expecting loyalty from my employer. Not saying this is good but I guess layoffs just don't surprise me any more.
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Jason Palmer, Photographer
Wichita Falls | TX | USA | Posted: 2:42 AM on 01.21.07
->> Bill Frakes and Bob Rosato would get nice severance packages.

The others....eh, maybe.
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Mark J. Terrill, Photographer
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 4:13 AM on 01.21.07
->> The others? You mean guys like Peter Read Miller, Heinz Kluetmeier and John McDonough? Or Walter Iooss, John Beiver and David Klutho?
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Mark J. Terrill, Photographer
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 4:17 AM on 01.21.07
->> Oops. Misspelled Biever. Sorry John.
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Dick Van Nostrand, Photographer
Bay City | MI | USA | Posted: 5:58 AM on 01.21.07
->> I've noticed in several late issues of SI that they are using more photos from USpresswire and other sources. Now that nearly everybody uses digital the quality of the images from all the sources is nearly equal and looks good on a doubletruck. I guess with the layoffs SI will use even more agency/wire stuff.
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 6:34 AM on 01.21.07
->> Jason,
I can not believe you said that, "The others....eh, maybe."

The SI shooters you just insulted are some of the top shooters in the sports shooting world. Maybe you have a different style or preference in how an event should be covered and don't like the images they creat and you are entitled to that, but it is a slap in the face of some World Class Professionals to make a comment like that. If there was a Hall of Fame for Sports Photographers they would be in on the first vote.

Stop pulling punches...tell us what you really think.
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 11:53 AM on 01.21.07
->> Jason, why would you think that the best photographers would get the best severance packages?
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Jim Colburn, Photographer, Photo Editor
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 12:26 PM on 01.21.07
->> Form the Newspaper Guild's memo on the Time Inc. layoffs:

"...the Guild is embroiled in a very difficult negotiation with Time Inc. management, which has proposals on the table to slash notice pay altogether in cases of job reduction. Notice pay ranges from a low of 4 weeks' pay for less than a year of service to 24 weeks’ pay for more than 30 weeks of service in addition to severance pay.

Severance pay is three weeks’ pay per year of service for the first $25,000, two weeks’ pay per year for the next $5,000 and 1 week's pay per year of service after that. The company wants to reduce that amount to 2 weeks' pay per year of service with a 52-week cap."
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 12:34 PM on 01.21.07
->> You can bet the compensation to the CEO of Time Inc this year will amount to more than all the severance paid to the laid off workers and then some.

Our society's view of the worth of some is totally out of line with what the most of us make in a lifetime.
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Jason Palmer, Photographer
Wichita Falls | TX | USA | Posted: 6:06 PM on 01.21.07
->> Good lord folks.

Apparently, my sense of sarcasm isn't as well honed through words as others on this board.
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Jason Palmer, Photographer
Wichita Falls | TX | USA | Posted: 6:14 PM on 01.21.07
->> Actually...you know what, I am going to say what I think.

These guys are the tops in their freaking field and if they aren't under contract to shoot for SI....I don't think it's really going to hurt their bottom line.

Is Vincent Laforet hurting financially since going freelance from the NY Times?

Even if any of the people mentioned aren't staff...do you really think that SI (or any other sports magazine or otherwise) in the world wouldn't want their services?

What I said wasn't meant as an insult or a slap in the face or anything. I've worked next to some of these guys on professional sports fields...and I know that I can't hold their freaking jock for what they've accomplished.

That's the difference.....if I were being let go, or 96% or any of you on these boards....we'd be screwed.

I'm pretty sure these guys will be okay.

I'm done and I'm sorry.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 7:17 AM on 01.22.07
->> In the late 80s and early 90s throughout the country papers who had morning and afternoon papers folded one of them. In many places where there were two or more newspapers there is only one left.

What I think the Time Inc layoffs is all about is how our culture has shifted to how much money can be made on Wall Street verses how many people are employed.

It is showing us that no matter how good you are as a photographer, business skills are just as important.

There have always been changes going on in the industry and as long as you are willing and able to learn and make changes you may have a chance to stay in the profession.

I think as soon as the web side of this industry stabilizes how to make money for the content providers as well as those who own the sites I think we will then see more possibilities.

I just think the bottom line for right now for those watching this is they need to have some business skills, because freelancers are going to be more the norm than staff jobs.
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Jeff Kowalsky, Photographer
West Bloomfield | MI | United States | Posted: 9:00 AM on 01.22.07
->> Here is a link explaining one of the reasons for the cutbacks.

http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=114419
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Neal Vaughan, Photographer
St. Joseph | MI | usa | Posted: 10:14 AM on 01.22.07
->> Perhaps it's because they gave away about about $20-30 million in free $20 staples coupons to people who would sign up for a trial of time, SI, fortune, or money. You could use fake info and get unlimited coupons. But hey, any way to get circulation up....
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Jim Leary, Photographer
Island | NY | USA | Posted: 10:57 AM on 01.22.07
->> Progress! Although the word seems to have a positive connotation with reference to most things, in business it always seems to cost people jobs. Whether its computers replacing people or just the way we do things requiring less manual labor, progress seems to make the unemployment line longer. For so long pro photographers have vehemently opposed the struggling wannabe who was willing to shoot for next to nothing to catch a break and now, combined with such advanced technology we are seeing why. Progress in the photography field is favoring the freelancer who might never have even gotten a foot in the door for an interview, much less assignments. It seems that today, if you have the money to get yourself set up with nice equipment, you are able to open doors yourself that would have never been approachable in the past right from the comfort of you home computer desk. Talent still has something to do with getting work in the end but many doors have opened to the general masses.

Are agencies and publications settling for mediocre photos? Sometimes, yes, but I really don't think that's the case in most places. It's just that now, more struggling and aspiring photographers have the means to get their work seen and used.

I have been on both sides of the fence. For quite a few years I worked for an agency and understand what its like to see an freelance hopeful try to move in and take some of my opportunity and yet lately, no longer working for the agency I now find myself taking advantage of digital photography and advanced computer techniques to promote myself and increase oportunities. It's easy for long established professionals to frown upon the freelancers willing to shoot for less just to get their work noticed but more and more I've seen these freelancers increase their workload and once established, get paid well for their efforts.

For years I think professionals working full-time for one company or another have been threatened by the progress that makes it easier for the unknown photographer to have their work seen and used. Yet, in the end, this is progress and it's not looking back. There will always be the elite group of talented photographers working for the top agencies and publications but the second tier photographers are no longer on staff because they are freelancers. Magazines, agencies and companies in general looking for photographers are willing to go the freelance route to cut down on staff and overall costs. The name of the game for freelancers is still providing quality but obtaining quantity of shoots/assignments.

I must admit that for several years I was inside the fence looking out at the aggressive freelancers trying to break in and yet today I'm one of the masses doing freelance and enjoying all the opportunities that progress offers. For the most part I still think companies are looking for quality work and thus the better freelancers will get that work but it seems that gone are the days of high volume staff photography positions because after the elite staffers so many freelancers are ready, willing and able. I'm not saying those freelancers should tolerate poor pay just to get a byline but opportunities certainly seem to be there for a good freelance photographer to get noticed and obtain work whereas 5-10 years ago that wasn't the case and the fallout of this is the threat they pose to the staffer looking to hold on to his job.

It's a tough scenerio all around but having been on each side I can appreciate both points of view. Now, when you see big companies like Time/SI letting staffers go, you realize just what a significant impact "progress" has on this industry.
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 11:37 AM on 01.22.07
->> Wow this has been an interesting thread to read. Jim Leary is right that progress has both plus and minuses and that it often leads to someone losing a job. More often than not it creates more than the one job it displaces however. How many of us want to go back to the days before ATM machines? That progress has led to fewer bank tellers so that we can have the convenience of cash anywhere at any time. But how many of us worry about the tellers who are out of business because of ATM machines or online banking? We can now pay bills online through automated methods. How about the person at the electric company who used to have to open my envelope, pull out my check, verify its amount and signature, and credit my account? Those people are disappearing. What about telephone operators who used to connect calls before automated switching equipment?

What about the still photographers I see on this board complaining about being asked to shoot *gasp* video. Wow, balking at learning a new skill to keep yourself up-to-date and more employable, more valuable.

Walter Calahan is generally right about society's view of relative worth of various jobs and skills, but he is exaggerating. Its not like this is new. Its been this way for thousands of years. Paramedics can save your life but get paid nothing. Quarterbacks do nothing more than entertain you for a short period of time and get millions. Is being entertained more important than staying alive? Soceity apparantly says yes.

Maybe it is my hi-tech background. I've seen 17 years worth of layoffs in my industry so far. Maybe layoffs just don't surprise me anymore, or maybe I learned years ago to not be too loyal to an employer or expect them to be loyal to me. But I'll tell you, in 17 years I've never balked at having to learn a new skill (analogous to learning video) and I've never, never expected a job to be a birth-rite that is never taken from me by an employer or a foreigner (i.e. Indian programmers, etc.).
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Dave Yoder, Photographer
Milan | IT | Italy | Posted: 3:01 PM on 01.22.07
->> Well, there go four jobs for which learning video wouldn't have done a thing to save them.

This portent of inevitability belies the demand for it. Where are the masses asking for video on newspaper websites? When, and how, is introducing this expensive medium expected to become profitable?

Hey, video is a great medium, outside of the newspaper environment. There are things called TV stations--hell even uTube--that do it so much better. It reminds me of the South Park Underpants Gnomes episode that went something like: Step 1: steal used underpants. Step 3: Make a lot of money. There is a big missing link somewhere in the middle. To me that link is the dearth of evidence that people want to see newspaper websites producing video and will reward them for it with their patronage.

I have nothing at all against people wanting to shoot video along with their stills. I only object to those suggesting that it's obsolete to specialize in one field. Just look around at the professional world and you'll see that's a ridiculous assertion.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 9:08 PM on 01.22.07
->> Dave,

While learning video would not have saved those specific jobs, it would have made the PEOPLE in the jobs more marketable.

--Mark
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 9:29 PM on 01.22.07
->> Dave,

The masses are not clammering for video on newspaper websites because the masses don't care where they get their video. Newspapers need to step up with superior content or risk simply fading away with their local franchises being supplanted by a myriad of fragmented local information sources.

Newspapers have been dying since the end of World War Two. Online information has merely accellerated the inevitable.
http://www.loundy.org/commoncents/2006/cc_05-06.html

By the way, I remember some news photographers who had trouble adding color or multiple-source lighting to their repertoire. In hindsight that seems silly, but it was a serious issue at the time.

--Mark
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Dave Yoder, Photographer
Milan | IT | Italy | Posted: 11:55 AM on 01.23.07
->> Mark,

I was hoping my opening sentence was obviously sardonic.

Anyway, please pony-up the evidence that still photogarphers incorportating video into their repertoir has made them more marketable than still photographers who specialize in a particular genre of still photography.

And please also notice that I'm not saying it necessarily won't make them more marketable (than they were before picking up video), I just don't believe it's prudent to assume that it will, when demand is so tiny and this theory is still only theory--I'm objecting to the assumptions and prophecies that accompany this argument--things like video inherently being superior content to still photography (as you implied) and that adopting video is a do-or-die imperative.

There is an awful lot of chastizing directed at people who prefer to stick to still photography, and I'd love to see a reasonable measure of evidence that video is the panacea for the plummeting newspaper market. How long have we been hearing about Platypus? I'm still waiting for it to take off.

I'm confident that twenty years from now there will still be far more still photographers dedicated to the one medium than there will be platypuses dividing their time and resources between the two. I have a very hard time imaging a market for so much video if everyone has to do both.
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Dave Yoder, Photographer
Milan | IT | Italy | Posted: 12:05 PM on 01.23.07
->> Ah, rats, forgot to add--

I appreciated your analogy about photographers needing to add color and lighting to their skills. The difference is, there was a huge demand for it.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 12:20 PM on 01.23.07
->> Regardless, everyone has a choice of what they want to do. Still, video, or both or even none.

Platypus was a forward thinking idea that has made an impression on some, while digital has made impressions on others.

Some people would rather still use Apple 9.0 system, and not move to OS X.

You get my point, that some people may not feel that they need to go into video, but they are not being forced too. Everyone has a choice of how they want to pursue their lives.

Newspapers feel that on-line content is the way of the future, and video is a way to give people more. But some media sites find that people don't want to search for content. They want to be able to one-click to whatever they want and see generally on the home/front page.
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Chuong Doan, Photographer
Kansas City | MO | USA | Posted: 4:10 PM on 01.23.07
->> Re: video and newspapers

When I go to websites for the news, I want to click on a headline and a read a story at my own pace. If I want video, I would watch the evening news. Now sites like CNN.com and the local paper provide a few stories that are video only and I find it really annoying. What if I want to listen to my own music and scan the article at my own leisure? You can't do that with the video stories.
What if I don't want to download the plugins required to watch the videos? And what if my browser doesn't support it?
What if I don't want to have any sound because my wife is sleeping in the next room?
There's a reason why people have preferences for text vs video.
I'm not going to sit on the toilet with laptop.
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Rainier Ehrhardt, Photographer
Augusta | GA | USA | Posted: 4:48 PM on 01.23.07
->> Very good point Chuong.

I'm also always annoyed when Yahoo! offers a story only in video.

The only reason I watch videos online is to see something I missed on the tele (SNL skits for example) or a 40 second video of a cat fighting a snake (and winning).

If I want video, I have a TV for that.

Sure, having slideshows and short video clips of local events and people, is a really great addition to a newspaper's website, I'm just worried some people are overestimating its effectiveness in bringing in more revenue.

Having said that, if newspapers do go full force to video, they'd better start buying equipment (and perhaps a bit of training) for their visual departments. If they want it to be a real part of their product, they have to start treating it like a real part of their newsroom and budget. And not just getting a cheap camcorder and shoddy sound gathering device and expecting a decent product as a result.
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 4:53 PM on 01.23.07
->> I think people are taking my comments about learning skills a bit too narrowly and focusing purely on video. I used that solely as one example. It applies to any skills. The more you have, the more marketable you are.

Dave Yoder, do I have any evidence to this in particular, with regards to learning video? Its just playing the odds, Dave. The more skills you have, the more people who could potentially need you. So stick with stills if you think a stills-only skillset will keep you adequately employable. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But I'm going to bet you do add other skills to your toolkit, even if not video, which was really my entire point -- the broader concept. Maybe you add portraiture, or sports, or nature, or who knows what. Some new skills that add your value to a larger number of customers.

Mark seems to get my point though. The world is not static. Your toolkit cannot be static either. 17 years ago I knew Pascal and DOS programming. Soon I had to add C++. Then Windows programming. Then unix programming. I was an applications engineer. Then I learned pre-silicon verficiation engeering working on internal caches and bus interfaces. Then I added a strong knowlege of IEEE floating point to my set. Now I'm in tools development learning how to write functional models and architectural checkers. I think you get the idea I'm getting at...
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Scott Rovak, Photographer
St. Louis | MO | USA | Posted: 7:18 PM on 01.23.07
->> Wasn't this a thread about Time, Inc. laying off photographers, editors and closing certain bureaus? I agree that video is important but we still need to address the fact that friends and coworkers of ours will be losing their jobs and when they go freelance it effects the market place for other freelancers. Times are changing and it isn't as easy at it once was to find work. And when big companies cut back it effects every body.
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Jim Leary, Photographer
Island | NY | USA | Posted: 10:14 PM on 01.24.07
->> "Wasn't this a thread about Time, Inc. laying off photographers"

Good point Scott and getting back to that, has anyone heard actual names of photographers and/or editors let go last week?
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Dave Yoder, Photographer
Milan | IT | Italy | Posted: 8:02 PM on 01.28.07
->> William,

I'm getting your point but maybe you're not getting mine. There will always be demand for highly specialized professionals that requires 100% commitment by the person. My point has always been to refute the popular assertion of the day that we will be forced to add other skills, in this case video, or fail. I'm not sure why this is hard to understand, or where you picked up the notion I'm committed to a stills-only "skillset".

It all depends on the clients you want to pursue. For some having a lot of skills may work for them, but I'd be hard pressed to believe it could be commonplace to work at the top level of any of those media if your energies are so divided. It happens occasionally, such as with gifted people like Da Vinci or Anton Corbijn, but they are the exception, and when I started freelancing the advice I always seemed to get was to specialize. The people who gave that advice are all doing very well.

My point has always been that if you're a still photographer, no, video is not inevitably in your future if you don't want it to be. There will always be need for specialists that people with "skillsets" can't provide because they can't remain on the cutting edge of all the jobs they've taken on.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 12:54 AM on 01.29.07
->> According to Ad Age, the real issue behind all of this is the loss of substantial advertising revenue from Detroit auto makers. The U.S. auto manufacturers are taking big losses. They are cutting ad spending and looking at more effective methods to reach consumers. Loss of subscribers and readers is a small part of the story.

Ad Age goes on to state that Time Inc is looking to sell off 17 (I think that is what they said) of their magazines.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 12:13 AM on 02.12.07
->> Has anyone found out who has taken the deal to leave? Should be by now.
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Temple City | CA | usa | Posted: 5:32 PM on 02.12.07
->> not all of the deals have been completed, but that is all i will say. out of respect to those involved, i don't feel it is my place to discuss this openly in a message board.

this is just my opinion, but i think that layoffs/early retirement/forced retirement/buy outs, or whatever you want to call them, could be a touchy subject for those involved and should not be discussed openly on a message board unless those involved have agreed to make it public knowledge or it has become public knowledge through a press release.

if you know someone at SI, then i think it would be nice to contact someone at the office and ask them and find out directly from the those closest to the source.

gung hay fat choy! (happy new year in chinese. for those that don't know, the lunar new year is feb 18 and is celebrated by many asian countries.)
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John H. Reid III, Photographer
Gates Mills | OH | USA | Posted: 7:06 PM on 02.12.07
->> Well said, Darrell.
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