Photographing the Jobless

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Haralson-Alford ogranzies the pantry by moving grocery bags from one shelf to the other.

Last week I got presented with photo pitch to photograph a woman who’s currently unemployed. In most cases I would just cover the assignment and pick out the best shot, but because I would be shadowing this person for an extended period of time I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to get some practice in on audio slide shows. I had more than a week to complete the assignment and figured that would give me some much needed time to shoot the assignment and put together the slide show. IMG_4014 copy2

Today I met Rita Haralson-Alford, who is unemployed, at the Salvation Army on 1108 W. Ash Street today, where she currently volunteers. I followed her every move as she gathered and handed out groceries for the needy. After she got off, I then got photos of her off time while in her apartment, where I also interviewed her.

I mainly stuck with my 10-22 through out the day. She was working in a pantry area with multiple steel shelves leaving not much walking around room, so using my 50 f/1.4 didn’t work out so well with space. The only other issue was working with the annoying florescent lighting that creates those ugly two toned images of green/blue. While at the Salvation Army I wondered how others inside would take having a photographer in there. I only had one person ask not to have their photo taken, which I explained I was just getting photos of Rita. There was also a little youngster, no older than 3, who was running around that lightened the mood of the waiting room. Little kids always seem to make awkard situations less uncomfertable.

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After a long day of work, Haralson-Alford sits on her bed as she fills out a puzzle book. She says she normally goes through nine or 10 a day.

While at Rita’s apartment I asked her some questions that I plan to use her responses for the audio with the slide show, along with other captured while at the Salvation Army. I was hoping to get shorter answers from her but I decided to let her respond in a lengthy manner because of the detail and emotion I could see she put into her responses. I might have to do some more editing in the audio than I may have wanted, but I think it will be worth it. I hope start working on the slide show tomorrow and have it done by next Monday.

UPDATE 10/27/09: Here is the link to the finished audio slide show:

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