Tag Archives: Photojournalism

Reflections: Barnstorm XXVII

It’s been nearly two weeks since my time in the Catskills of New York, where I spent four days surrounded by close friends and people who would quickly become “family”. Getting into the Eddie Adams Workshop is not something easily attainable and making it through the grueling gauntlet of long days, lack of sleep, and late night portfolio critiques is even harder. You see, if you are unaware, the intensive photojournalism workshop only invites 100 students and early professionals to the Adams’ farm each year. It is a privilege that only around 2700 photojournalists around the world have had the opportunity to be a part of. This October, it celebrated 27 years.

This year was it for me. It was my last try. If I didn’t get in, I would have to accept that and move on with my career. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, and I am all the more grateful for those editors and photographers who took a look at my work before I hit the “submit” button on the application form.

Students began piling off of the bus onto the hallowed ground, walking the same steps of many that had come before them. It takes a minute to settle in. The colors of fall in rural New York, the golden light coming from the top of the hill as the sun begins its descent, the cheers of staff and faculty of the workshop, and the look on the faces of other the other students. We had made it, it was time to storm the barn. That sounds silly, but it all is kind of magical.

I’m not going to go into the details of the entire weekend, but I want to take a moment to reflect on some things that I learned while there and will never forget:

“Uncle” Jimmy Colton saying “You belong here. You deserve to be here.” In a profession where it is easy to think that you’re only as valuable as the work you put out, it was nice to hear that we deserved to be here because we were worth the investment of the faculty, staff, and sponsors. Granted, he did follow this up by saying “You’re not entitled by being here”.

Hearing photojournalism greats, John White and James Nachtwey, among others, speak was inspiring. John White’s quotes of “Have an affair with life”, “Be ambassadors of love”, and “Faith, Focus, Flight”, still ring through my mind and I dwell on those everyday. You don’t get a better first night line up than White and Nachtwey.

John White- “I Love to Love.”

– “Be willing to fail amazingly!” The quote really says it all. Take chances. Be willing to try something and fail at it. If it works, awesome. If not, oh well, you tried. In this business, you have to be willing to be different and fail astonishingly from time to time.

Never give up. Never give in. Be willing to give your time, love, and care to those around you. This was some personal enlightenment for the week.

Focus is not the absence of distractions, but it is the ability to push past them. Another personal enlightenment from the week. The workshop will always fall on a “bad” weekend for someone. If you are that person, work through it. Use the stress to push you to another level. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.

Always be willing to grow. Do not EVER resist the need to be better than you are or imagined you could be. Personally speaking, I couldn’t imagine how much I would grow from this weekend. Constantly being inspired and encouraged by some of the leaders in this industry will make you better than you could ever imagine. Listen to the advice and suggestions.

Take criticism as a grain of salt, although a very potent grain. Everyone there wants to help, but everyone will have a different opinion on your work. This is an incredible opportunity to hear from photographers in an unbelievably wide range of sectors of our profession. Listen to those who you look up to and those who you could never imagine you’d work with or for.

Don’t like your assignment or wish you had another? Get over it. The team producers scour the area looking for people who are willing to let you into their lives for two straight days and sometimes, you don’t always get the assignment that you “wanted”. These people put aside the awkwardness and fear of letting some young photographer into their bubble and they put their guard down. If I was honest, covering high school football was one of the last things I wanted to do because I do it all the time. BUT (and this is huge), knowing that I had the freedom not to cover one play of the game, meant that I could be different, innovative, and attempt to fail. I was incredibly surprised by my assignment and at the end of the workshop, I really believed I had one of the best ones because of my subject’s willingness to open up. THANKS MIKE!!!

My subject, Mike, and myself on the second day of me photographing him.

Never forget those who have come before you. At some point in the workshop, you will realize the cost of this job. For some, that cost is that you lose time with your friends and family. For others, it is even heavier. Take part of the weekend to reflect on the photographers who gave it all. There is a memorial on the farm’s property. My suggestion? Go and just stand in between the pines. Silently stop for a moment and let that hit you.

Get to know those who are on your team and who are not. You have the great opportunity to meet photographers from around the world. Get to know them, enjoy the company and the time with people who are like-minded. You may be on a team full people with documentary photography backgrounds, awesome. Now go hang out with the sports team. Be willing to be diverse.

HAVE FUN! This is a 4 day workshop designed to push you to  your limits and in some instances, break you. At the end of the weekend, if you did it right, you won’t wish you slept or rested more. Enjoy the time at the farm- Lay in the grass. Take a short nap by the pond. Talk about things that your passionate about with someone you’ve never met, or someone who barely speaks the same language. Go and be a part of the 11:30 club and especially the 6:00(am) club on the last night. Trust me, it will be well worth it.

My conclusion? Want to be a better photojournalist? Apply. Want to get your work in front of some of the most influential photo editors from around the country? Apply. Want to get to know a bunch of photographers? Apply. But most Importantly, if you want to be a better person, to learn what it really means to be passionate about something, and lovingly document people who are willing to let you into their personal lives. APPLY.

The Eddie Adams Workshop was one of the best experiences of my life. I am glad that I didn’t get in several years ago when I first applied because I wasn’t ready to handle the situations that arose prior, during, and after the actual workshop experience. I walk away from that time changed for good. I can only hope that I extend the dream of Eddie Adams, who the workshop was named after. I can only hope to continue the legacy of other great photojournalists who have come before me. I can’t say how appreciative I am of my editor (Brad), team leader (Al) , producer (Robert), techie (Stacy), the Black Team, the Adams family, and all the editors and photographers that had an impact on me during that weekend in the Catskills. To the Orange Team, remember, “Teamwork makes the team work (Twerk)”.

Photo by: Brandon Magnus

Also, to each and every member of the Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII, YOU ARE FAMILY. I love you.

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Week’s Work: September 16-20

It was another busy week here in Gwinnett County as the fair came into town, the Atlanta Falcons were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there is always some high school football action to be had. While I could have done a blog post on each of these, especially the Falcons game and the fair, below are some of my favorite frames from the week.

Guests riding the “Wave Swinger” are silhouetted in the late afternoon light while at the Gwinnett County Fair on Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Fair guests look to buy ride tickets at ticket booths near the entrance of the Gwinnett County Fair on Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Young fair guests swing quickly around on a ride at the Gwinnett County Fair on Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Camila Hernandez, right, has her eyes fixed on a ride at the Gwinnett County Fair on Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

The “Zero” Gravity ride spins guests at the Gwinnett County Fair on Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Dre Bulluck, owner of Dre’s Place Carolina BBQ, closes one of the smokers with meat on it at his stand at the Gwinnett County Fair on Wednesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Smoked pork meat sits on the grill at Dre’s Place Carolina BBQ stand at the Gwinnett County Fair on Wednesday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

A group watches the cattle livestock show judging at the Gwinnett County Fair on Thursday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

A calf is tied to a wall in stall 187 during the livestock show at the Gwinnett County Fair on Thursday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

The Norcross football twins, Ferdinand (2) and Frederic (3) Aka, Devon (47) and Devonte (8) Goodbeir, and Joshua (62) and Matthew (72) Jajardo, pose for a photo at Norcross High School in Norcross. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson (39) runs up the field during Thursday’s NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) after making a catch during Thursday’s NFL game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) fumbles the ball at the goal line during Thursday’s NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester (17) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown during Thursday’s NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Hester set the all-time NFL record for return touchdowns in a career with 19, surpassing former-Falcon, Deion Sanders. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Kroy Biermann (71) during Thursday’s NFL game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Courtney Roby (15) is hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Crezdon Butler (26) after making a catch during Thursday’s NFL game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

A general view of the Shiloh Community Stadium at Shiloh High School prior to Friday’s high school football game between the George Walton Bulldogs and the Providence Storm in Snellville. This is Providence’s first year with a varsity football team, and they are using Shiloh’s facilities for home games. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

George Walton’s JD Buice (4) is tackled by Providence’s Daniel Martin (44) during Friday’s high school football game at Shiloh High School in Snellville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Providence’s Ben Ellison (55) sits in the grass outside the locker room during halftime of Friday’s high school football game against the George Walton Bulldogs at Shiloh High School in Snellville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Fans watch the halftime show put on by the Providence Storm drumlin during Friday’s high school football game between the George Walton Bulldogs and the Providence Storm at Shiloh High School in Snellville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Parkview’s Shehan Parmar (1213) is helped by teammates after finishing the varsity boys 2014 Gwinnett County Cross Country County race on Saturday at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

Logan Williams, 4, slides down an inflatable slide while attending Suwanee Fest on Saturday at Town Center Park in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Suwanee Fest patrons wander through the main food area at Town Center Park in Suwanee on Saturday . (Staff Photo: David Welker)

Week’s Work: September 8-13

It was a week of the portrait at the Gwinnett Daily Post. Especially sport portraits. Between 4 “sportraits”, setting up for the Gwinnett County Fair, football, and a concert, it was a productive week. Here’s a look back at some of my published work in the last seven days.

 

Norcross volleyball player, Sammie Baker, stands in for a portrait at Norcross High School on Tuesday. Although her siblings thrived in athletic careers at Greater Atlanta Christian, Baker decided to blaze her own trail through the public school system and has been dominating on the court. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

 

Lanier High School running back, Tario Fuller, stands in for a portrait on Tuesday at Lanier High School in Buford. Fuller, the team’s top running back, recently committed to the Purdue University football program. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Josh Imatorbhebhe (7) and his older brother Daniel (15) stand for a portrait at North Gwinnett High School in Sugar Hill on Thursday. The Imatorbhebhe brothers do everything together, on and off the field. This year, each is on target for impressive individual seasons for the Bulldogs. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Ride Supervisor Ronnie Douberly is handed a metal support for the “Ring of Fire” ride while setting up for the Gwinnett County Fair at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrencville on Wednesday. This year’s fair gates open at 5 p.m. on Thursday and the fair will be open for 11 days, ending on September 21. There are three new thrill rides opening to the public including “Zero Gravity”, “Space Roller”, and “Disko!”. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Parkview Panthers Trey Derouen (78) attempts to pump up the Panthers prior to entering the field for Friday’s high school football game against the Brookwood Broncos at Parkview High School in Lilburn on Friday. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Mason Davis, right, lines up to run against Evan Brown, right, during a delay in Friday’s high school football game between the Brookwood Broncos and Parkview Panthers at Parkview High School in Lilburn on Friday. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Country artists, Big and Rich, put on a free concert on Saturday at the Buford Community Park Lawn in Buford. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) runs up the field during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pride Band takes plays their halftime show during Saturday’s college football game between the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Georgia Tech YellowJackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) is sacked by Georgia Southern Eagles defensive end Lennie Richardson (54) during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles safety Matt Dobson (7) breaks up a pass intended for Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Deon Hill (31) during Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Jamal Golden (4) upends Georgia Southern Eagles wide receiver Zach Walker (9) during Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles running back Alfred Ramsby (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Tech YellowJackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Deon Hill (31) scores the go-ahead touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles offensive linesman Trevor McBurnett (76) reacts after the Eagles lost to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on a late touchdown pass to put the Yellow Jackets ahead four points in Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back John Marvin (13) celebrates with fans after the Yellow Jackets defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles on a late touchdown pass in Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

Back in the Saddle: Work Since Arriving in Gwinnett

It is amazing how fast time flies when you’re doing what you love. Around six weeks ago, I moved myself halfway across the county to start a new career at a daily newspaper just outside of Atlanta. I joined the staff at the Gwinnett Daily Post in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Overall, it has been a fantastic first few weeks and I look forward to seeing what else happens during my time in Atlanta. I’ve had the great opportunity to meet a lot of new friends and have met subjects from all walks of life. Each new relationship, from a 14-year old entrepreneur looking to turn her cookie business into the “Starbucks of coffee” to a 2-year old fighting an inoperable brain tumor (which I can’t post because we are still working on the story), has left me with a sense of relief to finally feel like I am doing what I was made to do. Below are some of my favorite frames from my first month here including my first football games in SEC-land, some touching moments with some great subjects, and of course, more sports. I’ll apologize now, because this is going to be an image heavy post.

 

New teachers at Gwinnett County Public Schools attend the 2014 new teacher orientation event, held at the Gwinnett Center on July 22, 2014 in Duluth.

 

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn (15) catches a pass in a drill during the 2014 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp on Friday in Flowery Beach. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Elva Padilla, left, and her husband Joe stand in the “sorting room of the Eyes of Love Lighthouse Mission on Tuesday in Buford. The Padillas gave up everything they had in New Mexico to open a mission which serves the homeless in Gwinnett County. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

The Padilla’s grandkids play in the office of the Eyes of Love Lighthouse Mission on Tuesday in Buford. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Lawrenceville Police Officer, Michael Inot, pushes the casket of Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk into a hearse on Wednesday in Snellville. Van Kirk was the only remaining crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 at the height of World War II. Theodore Van Kirk was the navigator on that flight. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Fans stand along a railing during the National Anthem prior to the Atlanta Falcons scrimmage at Archer High School on Friday in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Cyclists exit turn 4 while competing in the masters cat 1/2/3 race of the 2014 Duluth Georgia Cup cycling event on Saturday in Duluth. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Braisden Lemelin leaps high into the air after getting a big bounce from his dad during the Sugar Hill 75th Anniversary event on Saturday in Sugar Hill. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Zach Healy hits out of a bunker on the 17th hole of the Riverside course during the 2014 USGA Amateur Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Monday in John’s Creek. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Andrew Chapman tees off on the 18th hole of the Riverside course during the 2014 USGA Amateur Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Monday in John’s Creek. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Erin Lucier, a third-year student, helps incoming students move into the dorms at Georgia Gwinnett College during move-in day on Thursday in Lawrenceville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Brookwood senior, Nick Murciano, cheers on the softball team during Thursday’s game against the Grayson Lady Rams at Grayson High School in Loganville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Brookwood fans mock the Grayson Lady Rams players during Thursday’s game at Grayson High School in Loganville. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Collins Hill’s Steven Harwell (55) celebrates after getting a sack against the Dacula Falcons in Friday’s football game at Dacula High School. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Norcross’ Damon Woodcock (9) turns the corner past Tucker’s Cedric HEard (71) during the 2014 Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic on Saturday at Walter H Cantrell Stadium at McEachern High School in Powder Springs. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Norcorss defensive end, J.B. Kouassi, stands in for a portrait on Wednesday at Norcross High School. Kouassi is a key returning member to a strong Blue Devils’ defensive line that is looking for its third straight state championship. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Boise State Broncos quarterback Grant Hedrick (9) looks on from the ground after throwing the ball away during the first half of the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game against the Ole Miss Rebels on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Boise State Broncos cornerback Cleshawn Page (3) and safety Jeremy Ioane (10) fly through the air after colliding while pursuing Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Cody Core (88) during the second half of the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) leaps over Mississippi Rebels linebacker Christian Russell (20) in route to the end zone during the second half of the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Peachtree Ridge’s Malik Robinson (14) upends Archer’s Nick Blakely (6) during Friday’s game at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Peachtree Ridge’s Chance Thrasher (9) hands off the ball to Na’ceem Antenor (20) during Friday’s game against the Archer Tigers at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Archer’s Dillon Bliss (20) stretches on the sideline prior to Friday’s football game between the Peachtree Ridge Lions and the Archer Tigers at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs players walk onto the field prior to Saturday’s college football game against the Clemson Tigers at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Amarlo Herrera (52) tackles Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) during Saturday’s college football at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Clemson Tigers running back D.J. Howard (22) leaps into the end zone for a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs fans cheer on their team during Saturday’s college football game between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) is lifted by Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle John Theus (71) after Gurley scored a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Clemson Tigers Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Corner preacher Dwayne Murphy says a prayer with Greg while witnessing at the corner of Hurricane Shoals Drive and Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville. As soon as Murphy saw Greg, he knew about some of the things going on in Greg’s life and began to offer encouragement to him. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

William Krueger, 2, pops bubbles while attending the 2014 Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park on Thursday in Stone Mountain. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Collins Hill Eagles Canyon Slade (5) catches a pass in front of a diving South Gwinnett Comets Chris Skyers (39) during Friday’s high school football game at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville.(Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Collins Hill Eagles Miles Fox (90) chases after South Gwinnett Comets Josh Shim (2) during Friday’s high school football game at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville.(Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Yellow Daisy Festival official “Bubble Man”, Robin Booth, uses a bubble rope to make enormous bubbles for children to pop during the 2014 Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park on Thursday in Stone Mountain. Booth has been making the bubbles at the festival for 14 years. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time to look through these. I have also been shooting video on a weekly basis and if you’d like to see some of my recent assignments, check out this link.

2014 MSHSAA Track Championships (Large Schools)

 

Last weekend marked the fourth time in nearly five years that I have covered track. It has always been one of those sports to elude me. However, it it is always a breath of fresh air to shoot something different and try and find new ways to look at things. Since this was the second week in a row covering the state track meet, I had a general idea of what to expect as far as access is concerned. As I quickly found out, there were times where I was granted access that I was completely surprised about, and others that left me scratching my head at it being pulled or denied. All in all, I was pleased with what I walked away with this past week, and am looking forward to moving forward with the rest of my summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is how I felt at the end of the weekend:

 

Rain or Shine: 2014 MSHSAA Track Championships (Small Schools)

St. Joseph Christian’s Max Carrillo follows through after throwing while performing in the discus competition in the 2014 MSHSAA Track Championships at Lincoln University on May 23, 2014 in Jefferson City. (David Welker | Special to the News-Press)

 

Oh what a difference a day makes. The first day of the 2014 MSHSAA Track Championships was a blistering one. Zero shade, no relief from the sun and heat beating down on those of us around the track. On Friday evening, I said to my writer for the St. Joseph News-Press that I didn’t want to get sunburned on Saturday. Who would have guessed that there was going to be storms rolling through the area the next day and would make an additional sunburn unlikely. It had been five years since I last shot a big track meet, and I really had to beat off the rust. Here are just a few of my favorite frames.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welding Shop: On Assignment for the the Los Angeles Times

Sparks fly as Loren Minnis, 48, uses a grinder on a piece of metal while working in the Ozarks Barge & Dock Service workshop on April 7, 2014 in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. Minnis was part owner of Menace Bar & Grill in Lake Elsinore but had to close down in part because of a lawsuit against the bar in 2010. He now works as a welder in Missouri. (David Welker/For the Times)

 

Last week, I had one of the coolest assignments of my life. Not only was I working for a client who I have always wanted to do some work for, but I was also shooting something I had very little experience with. Now, before I get started, let me say how grateful I am for having great photo editors who have pushed me to be a better photojournalist. Every now and then, I get a call from other editors who ask me if I could do work for them simply because one of my current clients gave them my name. I am thankful that each and every opportunity I get from current clients. I hope I never underestimate the power of my relationships.

 

 

Now onto this assignment. The Los Angeles Times called and asked if I would be willing to photograph a subject in the middle of Missouri for them. I agreed, all while wondering what they would want of someone in Southwest Missouri. After receiving the background information for the shoot, I called and got a date and time set up for me to make the drive to Lake of the Ozarks to create a few frames of Loren M., my subject. Loren is one of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The guy just bleeds passion for life, and he was awesome to work with. After discussing my plans for the assignment, he agreed that I could follow him around for the day. Loren works as a welder in the machining shop of a dock building business. I was assigned to get two main shots of Loren, but he allowed me to just follow him around for a few hours while he worked. While the majority of my frames are of him working, I found myself always looking for something new in similar situations. New framing, new light, new action. Each time the shutter opened and closed, I knew I had to find another way to shoot the scene in front of me. I spent about three hours of watching Loren and a co-worker weld and grind metal for a new piece of a dock. Every now and again, they would stop and tell me what was happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the shop’s thirty minute lunch break rolled around, all the workers filed into a small room in the corner of the building. Even the owner of the Ozark dock building service came in and sat down. Loren was nice enough to introduce me to those in the room, and they all joked about why the Times would want to do a story on him. A co-worker joked that his new nickname would be “Hollywood”. But then there was a moment of honesty. Loren began to tell them why I was there. He didn’t necessarily always dive into the details, but he began to tell them about his passion for motorcycles and for the bar he owned in Los Angeles. I have not heard someone speak so passionately about something in a long time. He began showing photos to those in the room. Photos of his old bar, and some of the bikes he built, including one for the San Diego Chargers. And there I was. This is why I got into photojournalism. I had no idea that my day would turn into this moment of honesty and passionate talk about what a grown man cares about. But, I was there to document it, and am thankful that they were either oblivious to me at that moment or, at the very least, willing to let me shoot a few frames.

 

 

After lunch, they all left the room, and I spent only about fifteen minutes more with Loren. I made four final frames of him before I left that I was extremely pleased with. I leave you with one of those. While this may not be where he thought he might end up, Loren is making the best of it, and he continues to be passionate about the things that he loves.

 

 

 

A big thanks goes out to the staff at the Times who contacted me to photograph Loren. It was a great pleasure to meet someone new, and to have the opportunity to tell their story visually. If you want to know more about Loren’s story, click this link.

 

All Images © 2014 David Welker/For the Los Angeles Times