Friday, January 19, 2018

Photographing the California Fires

   The end of 2017 was a blur, and the beginning of 2018 hasn't been much different. I'm playing catch up on a lot of things I'm behind on, and one of them is blogging about recent work. In December, I spent a couple long days photographing the fires around Los Angeles, but primarily around Ventura. It was my first experience photographing wildfires and I tried to be as prepared as I could before heading out to document the fires. That being said, I obviously learned a lot through trial and error this time through. 

   Something that's easy to forget is how hard it can be to photograph another person's tragedy. I feel like sometimes I take the images I'm looking at for granted and forget about what the person behind the camera is going through to make the image. Photographing remnants of people's homes was hard. It wasn't fun pressing the shutter. I couldn't help but imagine that being my home in ashes. I was supposed to photograph the same area this month as flooding hit, but was out of town for personal business. 

   It was hard not to be rough on myself about the work I did covering these fires when the people at the LA Times did such unbelievable coverage (links HERE, HERE, and HERE). Feeling like you underperformed is difficult and frustrating. We don't need a bunch of average photos out on the wire - we need photos that tell the story and make people feel, make people care. On the other hand, I was able to compare what they did to what I did and use that as a way to learn what I should/could have done. I'll carry those lessons on going forward.
   Thanks for reading and looking. On to the next one!

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