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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2009-04-23
Leading Off: Staples Center Workroom: Counseling office / 'Cheers' / refuge
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter
I have been in the business a long time. Sometimes I think too long. I've worked at small papers and now work at a large one. (At least at his writing I am still working for them!)
Photo by ShellyCastellano / SCPIX
Hanashiro enjoys talking baseball with Keith Birmingham.
Nobody has to tell us that times have changed and the economy is pretty friggin' bad. I have seen a lot of my friends lose their jobs, some voluntarily and many not. Those of us that are lucky enough to still have our staff jobs spend most of our time stressing about how much longer we will have them.
I love sports. I love sports photography more. Sure the athleticism, the super feats that defy gravity or displays of sheer strength are cool to photograph. And the competition is wonderful to document.
But amidst all of that there is the sports photographer. I love hanging out with my fellow photographers. Sure I may get to a game three hours ahead of time to "hang a remote" but most of the time "hanging" with the other photographers is just as important.
I don't think it's a case of misery loves company. I think it's more that having a connection with others in photography makes my life more interesting and yes fun. Sure we all bitch to one another about what's happened to our once idyllic professional (come on---is there a cooler job than covering sports?) but knowing that my friends are there and that they still care about doing good work and care about each other is comforting in this uncomfortable time.
Sports venues we spend so much time in have become a sort of counseling office / "Cheers" / refuge for the bad news-weary photographer.
Whether it's teasing Lucy Nicholson about all her gear spread out on the floor of the Staples Center photo workroom. Talking baseball with Keith Birmingham. Giving grief to Jordan Murph and Shawn Cullen on how much food they were shoveling into their mouths while guarding John McDonough's 900 pounds of gear. Cracking wise about Fresno with fellow former Bulldogs Robert Gauthier and Terry Pierson. Watching Kevin Sullivan working furiously late into the night on a gallery. Looking over Wally Skalij's shoulder to see how he beat my ass in Game 2 of the Lakers - Jazz series. Or talking about Armenian food like Kufta with Kevork Djansezian…
I recently received a nasty, unsigned, email using a racial slur from an obviously unhappy photographer who questioned my motives for the things I do professionally and with Sports Shooter.
I wish I could have responded to him --- he used a fake return email address --- because I would have given him this advice: GET OUT. GET OUT NOW!
The bitterness in the tone of his email made it obvious that his situation, like most of us, is unsettling. I don't mean to be photojournalism's answer to Dr. Phil (or Bobby "Don't Worry Be Happy" McFerrin), but if your job is that bad, take control and maybe just move on.
There is nothing worse than a sad, bitter photographer who wants to take his troubles out on others… Dude, nobody wants to be around you!
That's why being in the workroom the other night at Staples Center was comforting and, yes, fun. Sure we talked some gloom and doom here and there, but I think we all know that life's too short and continuing to work hard to make great photographs and being good people are what's best for our souls.
Thanks guys … I hope we're all around to share things in that workroom for a few more years to come.
* * *
I have written a lot about the Sports Shooter Academy in the past several months and with the conclusion of VI a couple of weeks ago, I thought it best to let a few of the participants "do the talking" for this issue. I will just say a simple "Thanks!" to the faculty, staff, participants and sponsors of the workshop. Hannah Foslien, Kelley Cox and Diego James Robles all took time from their busy schedules to write about their Sports Shooter Academy experiences for this issue.
Darren Carroll took on this month's "Ask Sports Shooter" column about that seemingly universal question: Should I work for just a credential?
Myung J. Chun's "VJ For PJ" column shows us a simple way to control your video lighting. My USA TODAY colleague Bob Deutsch explains digital camera tethering and Photo Mechanic's "Live Ingest" feature. And long long-time friend Barry Wong gives us a peek into his food photography work with this month's "In The Bag".
The winners of the Sports Shooter Annual Contest are also announced in this issue --- thanks to Think Tank Photo, Roberts Distributors and Versa-Flex for sponsoring the prizes.
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl by Van Morrison (thanks JY!) is on heavy play in my home office. On my nightstand are Lee Child's Nothing To Lose and Life Strategies by Dr. Phil…
As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Paul Myers, Myung J. Chun, Jared Dort and Bob Deutsch.
Thanks this month to: Barry Wong, Darren Carroll, Hannah Foslien, Kelley Cox and James Diego Robles.
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