Friday, June 26, 2009

DAy 5:Evening Shoot/Exploring

St. Louis Cathedral

Day 5

Today I was able to get out into the Bayou. Becky and I headed to Franklin LA about 2 hours from New Orleans at 6 a.m. Becky is my hero we need to get her that cape she keeps talking about! Once we got there we met up with Donavan Garcia. He is a volunteer with the Bayou Teche refuge, and takes people out into the Bayou. He was willing to take me out there with no thought of profit or gain from him and I find that very admirable. He was so knowledgeable about the swamps, and wetlands and all the things that are going wrong with them. We spent fours out on the Bayou, exploring the beauty of the swamps and I had some amazing experience today including having a 15 foot alligator jump out of a tree at us (I'm not making this up) and I think that this helped me alot with my project. So thanks Becky for hauling me all the way out there and Donovan for taking me out into the Bayou!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bayou Sauvage Day 4

They look kind of washed out sorry!

Times Picayune Ride Along

I started out Wed. morning hesitant of about our trip to the Times Picayune, but it turned out to be an terrific experience. I was able to go on a ride along with Ted Jackson who is an inspiring and talented photographer for the Times. We were allowed into the LSU medical building that is finally beginning to recover from Katrina. The building had about 20 feet of water in it. To me that kind of water that high is unfathomable. But my favorite part of the day was being able to listen to Ted tell his stories of the things he experienced during the storm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barataria Preserve: Bayou Couquille

Day 2

Today was a long and interesting day. I started my day by getting up at 5 in the a.m. to get ready for my sunrise shoot. Amanda and I decided to break away from the group today and go to the river walk and on the Mississippi, and shoot the sunrise. We got on the Ferry and crossed the river, to shoot from both, sides and then walked the French Quarter. The Quarter is beautiful in the morning when everything is quiet, and the sun is just rising, it makes a city that is usually bustling with activity appear to be peaceful and silent. I think this was a very good way to experience my first real glimpse of the city.

After our sunrise shoot I met Ryan and Colleen for our tour of New Orleans. The tour took us through out most of the city. Showing aspects of culture, tourism, effect of Katrina and everyday life of the people of New Orleans. The most interesting place to me was, the lower 9th ward, and being able to see the watermarks and places that were once under water, and even seeing the levees that where breached. Once the tour was finished I was able to do some exploring of the city, before returning to the Hotel to get ready for my evening shoot.

For my evening shoot Becky and Colleen took me to Barataria Preserve, or more specifically Bayou Coquille & Kenta Canal Trails. It was a new experience for me. I was able to see for the first time a wild alligator. It was a baby and only seemed to be about 4 feet long. Becky and I followed the Kenta Canal Trails, almost to the end. The hardwooded forest seemed almost exotic and too me gave off a mystic feel. I loved, walking the trails and seeing all the different wildlife. I was also able to see more gators, one along the trail and three or four more once we got to the Kenta Canal. I think this was a successful trip and I look forward to going out again. This experience today allowed me to experience the beauty of these Bayou's first hand and succeeded in convincing me that these bits of paradise need to be protected and preserved.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 1

FINALY HERE! After weeks of planning and build up I'm finally in the Big Easy. I can't tell you how excited I am, to see and experience this city. Its been an interesting day filled mostly with travel (it was my first time in a plane!)but I was able to get a glimpse of the city this evening and I get I will be taking a tour of the city tomorrow morning. 
From what I have seen of the city it is every bit as amazing as i thought it would be, I am very excited to experience as much of New Orleans as I can in the ten days I'm here!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Project

It's the night before I leave for New Orleans and I just thought I would establish exactly what my essay is going to be. What I  want to accomplish with this project, is to show the impact and recovery of the ecosystems, and wildlife following Katrina. I also want to show the importance of these refuges, and the animals and wildlife that they protect.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I made some calls today and got some really good contacts! I have to make some more calls tomorrow but the outlook is good that I might be able to have a volunteer that works at the refuge take me out to Mandalay which is a refuge that can only be reached by boat. I think that this if it happens will be a good addition to my project!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Change in Essay Topic

I have been doing a lot of research trying to figure out what I'm going to do for my project. I have decided to change my topic to photographing wildlife and nature in New Orleans, I have found 4  different wildlife refuges in and around New Orleans that are accessible to the public, they are  Bayou Sauvage, Bayou Teche, Big Branch Marsh, Bogue Chitto, Wildlife Refuge's. 

I am also going to call some of the other wildlife refuge's visitor offices that are listed on the site, but are only accessible by boat and I want to see if anyone would be able to take me to one. The Bayou Sauvage Refuge gives free canoe and hiking tours also so I will be calling to set one of those up as well. The site also lists Katrina damages at each of these refuges, and maps of where to find endangered species.
This is the site
I'm really looking forward to this trip now, I was getting really discouraged!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where I'm at

I have email, four different facilities and called  two and still have not had any response.  I am continuing my research and trying to find more contacts but I am running out of Ideas.

When The Levees Broke

            When The Levees Broke gives us an intimate and heartbreaking look into the destruction of what I consider one of the most amazing cities in the U.S. especially after watching this video. The video shows and tells the personal stories of who survived in the wake of hurricane Katrina. This film shows the trials and tribulations that this city and its inhabitants have endured, but more importantly it shows the strength, the courage, and the spirit that these people have shown in the face of the death, devastation, and disease. But more importantly it shown the spirit, strength and courage that the people of New Orleans have to look at all the destruction and still stand back up and rebuild. The video shows New Orleans will to survive, and keep their culture and city alive.

            When the Levees broke is an emotional four hour-film that crosses a variety of different backgrounds, to show the mutually devastation the people of New Orleans faced.  Despite the fact that I like I’m sure most everybody viewed the coverage on the news, the video shows a much more raw version of the devastation of New Orleans. Like the images of people standing on roof tops with signs pleading for help, the personal stories we hear throughout the video of the people that were lost in the flooding, and the most devastating of all at the end of the first chapter the coverage of corpses lying in the street some covered but most not left to rot because there were was no where to put them. The horrific volume of devastation, death, suffering and misery shocked me I knew that it was horrible but I had no idea what the New Orleans went through and I still really don’t.

            But what makes this movie spectacular to me is the hope, that despite the devastation and the fact that here we are four years later and still there are parts of New Orleans that look like it was only four days ago, the people of New Orleans show. The hope that their city will be rebuilt to its once glory. That to me makes me think that New Orleans is the greatest city in America

The True Meaning of Picture: Shelby Lee Adams

"I'm pushing you, the viewer, and challenging you. That's why I'm in there with the camera six inches away from Selena's face. I think you need to he confronted with that. By getting in there with the camera, by creating some distortions, I'm hoping to make everyone think. What is our job here as a human being? Stop making judgments and experience life. I'm experiencing this environment. I'm trying to share with you, in an intimate way, that experience." Shelby Lee Adams

       Jenniffer Baichwal’s The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia is an exploration into the controversial and to me beautiful work of the American photographer Shelby Lee Adams, especially his photographs taken in Appalachia Kentucky, and the people who live there. True Meaning takes us on what essentially is a tour of many different landscapes led by Adams, using his photographs and the audio and video recordings taken while he photographed his series as a starting point. During the movie you learn that Adams has been filming the people in the hollows of Kentucky, who are all mostly living in abject poverty, for over thirty years.

       Most of us probably look at Adams photographs and all we see are hillbillies, I like the distinction Adams makes in the documentary about the people he photographs being his friends not hillbillies he even refers to them as his people. I think that the interpretation varies on the person viewing the photographs, but I think that Adams photographs of the Appalachian people are his way of trying to get people to look past the judgments we all have, and see who the people he is photographing really are.  Adams has also been criticized for lighting and arranging the people in his photograph. I don’t there is anything wrong with lighting a photograph to get the mood and feel the photographer is trying to accomplish. I think Adams is able to incorporate lighting and staging and still manages to show the subject in an unbiased and truthful manner.

My goal that I want to reach through my essay is to show the conditions in which these kids are living in and show the facilities and people who are trying to help them. I want to show these kids in their own environment’s and I want to show the facilities that allow these kids a chance and a different way to live. This is different from how I usually work, I usually pose people and create the environments around them. But I want these photographs to be real and tell a true story. I’m stepping out of my box for this one so we will see how it goes.