One assignment this past week didn’t stand out enough for it’s own post, so I’m combing some of my favorites.
But let me start with some comments about the events in Boston. As a runner, a journalist, a photographer and a human, what happened at the finish line took quite a toll on me. I’ve crossed a marathon finish line before and it’s an amazing feeling. I’ve had family and friends cheer me on at the finish line and they’re just as much a part of the triumph. So knowing that two guys decided to take those feelings away from innocent folks really gets under my skin. Spectators at marathons, in my mind, are just as important to the runners as the months of training. They put up with the crazy diet, the early mornings, the complaining about sore legs… they’re part of the marathon too. And the fact that it was the Boston Marathon, the Super Bowl of marathons, makes it that much worse. Runners spend lifetimes trying to qualify for that race, so to have it taken away like that is just awful.
I’ve added a Boston hat into my mix of running hats. It’s the least I can do.
So there’s my personal feelings. As a professional photographer, I couldn’t imagine covering something like that. I’ve covered some pretty harry situations (hurricanes, fatal car wrecks, murders… but nothing like what happened in Boston) You can’t really prepare yourself to shoot such a tragedy, your instincts as a journalist have to kick in. Know your surroundings and your gear. Have your camera settings ready and know your rights as a journalist. It’s all pretty basic stuff, but you need that foundation. Boston Globe photographer John Tlumack did a phenomenal job documenting history at the finish line (as did a lot of other professional photographers) Here’s an interview with John about his coverage. This article does a much better job describing the importance of the photos and being a photographer than I can. So give it a read.
On Wednesday, a group of Gainesville runners gathered for a tribute run to honor the victims of Boston. A Facebook group, created soon after the bombings, asked groups to go for a run on Wednesday evening, take a photo of the group and post it to the page. It went viral and now has about 25,000 fans. The Gainesville group gathered outside a local running/walking shop, had a moment of silence, then went for a 3 to 5 mile jog though the neighborhood. It was an honor for me to shake hands with three 2013 Boston Marathon finishers and hear their stories. They (and their friends and family) were safe and unharmed, but you could tell they were still pretty shook up from the experience. Which goes back to my first point… they should have been joyful and excited to tell their Boston stories. The running community is strong. If you’ve gone for a run, you’re a runner and part of the community.
On Tuesday, Gainesville elected a new mayor. It was a pretty easy election to photograph since there were only two candidates (it was a run-off). Craig Lowe, the incumbent, lost to Ed Braddy. This wasn’t a typical mayoral race since Lowe was arrested for DUI a day after making into the run-off. Braddy also had a previous DUI so it made for some interesting debates. I got the assignment to photograph both parties (victory or defeat depending on the outcome.) It’s pretty obvious from the photos who they are. Side note to any candidates who might be reading this… don’t lock yourself into a back room as results are trickling in. Come out with your supporters (and newspaper photographers) and enjoy the festivities. You’ll make it easier on everyone (read: News photographers) so they can get what they need and head to other candidates party. (Fellow photographer Elise Giordano makes an appearance in the victory party photo.)
The University of Florida hosted another track meet this weekend. Lucky me arrived right as the rain stopped. Tim Casey wasn’t as lucky and said it got pretty soggy. I was happy just being able to wear long sleeves, that’s rare this time of year in Florida. It was also cool to see multiple Olympic medalists compete against each other. (Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Jeff Demps… but those photos are boring since they’re just shots of guys running) So here’s a photo of some flowers, a girl falling, and some javelins in awesome light after the clouds went away.