Best Christmas Ever
So a glimpse into the exciting world of freelance photojournalism is what you’re after? well friend you’ve come to the right blog. Let me tell you about Christmas Day. Me and Mrs. Conaty sat in my 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlas Cruiser outside the Chealsea Central Fire Station for about four hours waiting to take a picture.
I should start from the beginning. Meg came to work because it was Christmas and we wanted to spend the day together. She brought home-made cinnamon buns to the photo desk which Garf really seemed to appreciate. Then we were dispatched to Chelsea where there had been a couple fires the day earlier, one fatal. First stop was 295 Spruce St. (where the fatality occurred) for a few pictures of the fire damage cleanup crew boarding up the structure. then it was off to 164 Bellingham St. where we expected one of the tenants to return for her belongings. She must have been occupied elsewhere because we got pulled off that and sent to Chelsea Central Fire where a ‘jake’ from Hull was supposed to drop off some gifts for the kids who’d lost all their presents in the blaze. After that there was a lot of running back and forth between sites hoping to catch up with some survivors and touching base with the writer.
Just to help paint the picture let me remind you that everyone in this story has either been awake for 18 hours fighting fires (one fatal), lost their home and all their Christmas presents, is working on Christmas day or married to a freelance photojournalist. So there are no happy people in this story… ‘cept me… I love my job.
Finally we got word that some folks from the Bellingham St. fire (a “3 bell” in case you were interested-structure totally uninhabitable- scheduled to be demolished) were eventually going to head to Chelsea Central fire to pick up the toys. That’s when the waiting started. Meg read the New Yorker while I stared out the window and waited for someone to show up.
When everyone finally showed up, shoeless little kids an all, they weren’t too too excited about having their pictures made. I explained that I’d been waiting there all day for them, that everyone got to see the sad part of their story; the fire and now it was important to show the silver lining; that the community got together to get them so gifts. Finally a lot of people donated their time and energy to salvage these people Christmas as best they could and they deserved some recognition. After that they were ok with having their picture’s made. That’s the job by the way: pictures aren’t made with quick reflexes in 1/250 of a second they’re made with patience and empathy in the 4 hours before you even take your lens cap off… if you have a lens cap (I always loose them.)
ok so that’s it, click click click, get in the car, find 93 south, back to the shop, Healz helps me edit and I even got an hour of O.T.
Not to mention my house didn’t burn down… Best Christmas ever!
ps: both were ruled accidental – here’s the story