This was a fun image to make. It was done for an assignment to make a portrait using a snoot. A snoot bascially focuses the light from a flash into a concentrated beam. A snooted flash was beside and a little behind me aimed where I thought the smoke would go. Another flash was in an umbrella aimed at me but set very low to make sure the emphasis was on the smoke.
I kind of knew that homeowners end up in the spotlight, but the media presence at Saturday's build stood out as a part of the experience worth documenting. I hope this series of images will give you, the viewer, a little glimpse into one aspect of being a Habitat homeowner.
There probably won't be many "Women Build" posts for a while. Future posts will mainly be from the build site, but hopefully we will also get a glimpse into Pam's life when she's not in the spotlight.
Pam shares a laugh with Paula Van Law, the Chair of the Women Build Steering Committee. Since the HFH process takes several months or more, homeowners typically forge close relationships with staff and volunteers. Due to various setbacks, including permitting delays, this project has been in the works for almost a year. The first build day is a welcome achievement.
A major theme of Women Build is empowerment. HFH takes pride in introducing women to tools and jobs that some may view as intimidating. This photo captures that theme. I underexposed this image slightly to emphasize the flying sparks.
There were plenty of opportunities to make a shot highlighting the back of the Women Build shirts. You can click on it for a slightly larger size, but it reads "As girls We Played House, As women We Build Them."
Plenty of media showed up to cover the event and I plan on doing a second post specifically on them and their role in Pam's experience. Look for that later this week! Click here to see Channel 10's story.
This past weekend, Pinellas Habitat for Humanity held the Hammers and Hearstrings Ball. This black-tie fundraiser included silent and live auctions to benefit the Women Build project. The money raised at this event will be used to fund next year's Women Build. Pam was a guest speaker.
Here is the second lighting scheme I used while Pam was speaking. Basically, homeowners become default ambassadors for HFH and Pam makes the most likely representative for the Women Build program. I wanted to enhance the feeling of Pam being placed in the figurative spotlight by placing her in a literal spotlight. I snooted my flash (think cardboard tube to focus the light) but the light was still spreading too much. So I taped a few busines cards together to further limit the amount of light to get this result. The ambient exposure is light enough to see the guests looking at Pam, but dark enough to keep the emphasis on her.
The first volunteer construction day for this year's Women Build is this weekend, so look for some more pics some time next week!
Remember, this project will be going on for a year or more, so check back to see updates. A new link on the sidebar of this page will take you directly to all the Women Build posts, or you can save this link: http://ericvichich.blogspot.com/search/label/womenbuild
Many Habitat stories are worth telling, but some stand out. The Pinellas HFH web site describes Women Build this way:
"The Women Build project is part of a nationwide program that encourages the involvement of women in the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes. Women Build empowers women to actively address the problem of children living in poverty housing by building safe, healthy homes where children and families can flourish. This project also provides an environment in which women can feel comfortable learning skills they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn."
I will be posting sample images throughout the project. A link on the sidebar will automatically return only blog entries related to the project. Or you can use this link: http://ericvichich.blogspot.com/search/label/womenbuild
The "Hammers and Heartstrings" event that benefits Women Build took place this past weekend so I will be posting a few images soon.
This situation presented me with a common photojournalism ethics dilemma. The family that lives in this house was in a neighbor's yard consoling each other. Obviously it was a very difficult time for them. The exterior doesn't look that bad, but I am pretty sure it was a total loss on the inside. I pretty much kept my camera pointed at the trucks and the house, but I kept one eye on the family because that is where the strongest moments are likely to happen. Some neighbors were helping them, bringing them water, etc. I noticed a little neighbor girl walking toward the family with a teddy bear in her hand. Seeing the moment start to take shape, I squatted in the street as discreetly as possible and waited for the action to unfold. Some members of the family realized that I was paying them some attention and it was obvious they wanted none of it. I gestured that I understood and made a point to throw the camera strap over a shoulder. As I walked away I peeked back at that little girl. She walked over to a young girl that lived in the house and handed over the teddy bear as a comforting gift. It was a very touching moment that would have made a very powerful image. Legally speaking, I had every right to photograph that situation, but photojournalists understand that sometimes a line must be drawn based on their perception of what is appropriate at any given time. Getting that picture would not have been worth upsetting members of the family after what they had already been through.
This is when the light is getting to be about right. The blue sky matches the inside lights. The shutter speed was still a little too fast in this image so the sky and interior are a little dim. I was kind of in hurry and just wanted to capture the patio and deck. Another real estate photography tip: get on a ladder.
There was a house fire in our neighborhood the other night. Keep an eye out for those pics tomorrow.