Yesterday I attended the Bellingham Visual Journalism Conference at Western Washington University for an all-day Soundslides production workshop where we heard some great speakers in the morning and then we partnered up and went out and shot, recorded and produced a piece by the end of the afternoon.
We were really pleased with how it turned out and received some really great feedback from those teaching the class. It is about a street performer who calls himself "Sir Roberto Pettite," aka Robert Little.
I was partnered with Maggie Schmidt, a senior at Central Washington University and the summer photo intern for the Yakima Herald. We left the campus initially thinking we were going to shoot some camp kids that were going sailing for the afternoon. That didn't work out, so we went to plan B, a ballroom dancing class downtown. Upon arriving I could hear Robert playing from down the street and was immediately intrigued. As it turns out the ballroom dancing school was closed, so we improvised further and were pleasantly surprised. I shot the pictures and Maggie recorded the audio and did a great job for her first real go at it.
Robert was a little hesitant at first, but when I was able to draw from my knowledge of old jazz LPs we struck a common ground and he started playing music for us and talking to us about his life, his music and his opinions. Needless to say, we felt very lucky to have this experience.
After the hard day of learning and working we all headed over to Russ Kendall's house for an amazing BBQ. Kendall is the photo editor at the Bellingham Herald and is the director of the NPPA's region 11. He made some amazing food — BBQ chicken, salmon, ribs, chops, sausages, etc. It was really a great gathering of a wide variety if folks in our field, including Pulitzer winners, the former president of the NPPA and longtime photo icons of the northwest, as well as us lesser known folks. It was very cool to have long conversations with Sarah Rupp, an online producer for the Seattle PI and Phyllis Fletcher, a reporter from NPR station KOUW in Seattle, both of whom were speakers in the morning session.