Roanoke Times - Week 7 + 8 + a little more
A few frames from assignments and three from a story that unfortunately fell through.
I learned a few things these past two weeks. One, I don’t know anything about golf. Two, there is nothing quite as special as spending an afternoon with a french chef in a small Virginia town. Three, this job, my career, photojournalism itself, is not the most important thing in the world. Some people may find that final sentence shocking, as if I’m belittling a job that I’m still devoted to. Yet you can still love your job while facing reality. The bottom three frames are from 2 hours of shooting what was supposed to be my story for the summer. After weeks of searching, phone calls and arranging, I finally had an inmate within the Roanoke Department of Corrections agree to let me document his process of recovery after being released from prison. I met Sean at the jail the second he got released. 2 hours in, Sean decided not to go through with the story. Photographing him that day, I came to realize, was not the most important thing in the world. What was important, was Sean’s well being. His ability to be able to see his family. His mental state as he was facing the world around him. A stranger with a camera wasn’t going to make anything easier for him and that’s a lesson I had to remind myself. I suck at dealing with failure and although this was more like a random happening than a failure, I was disappointed at the missed chance to tell a story about offender recovery. I’m going to continue though. I’m currently working on a portrait series on ex-offenders and the amazing stories I’ve been able to hear are fueling me and I’m hoping to find another story before I leave Roanoke for Denmark. Thankfully, I have a great support team here pushing me and that’s all a girl could want.
1. Chef Michel Galand, owner of Cafe Michel, has been a chef for 55 years and has owned the cafe for 35 years. Galand can be found in the kitchen every night the cafe is open. Two of his signature dishes are scallop with a creamy tomato sauce topped with sautéed zucchini and carrots as well as raspberry and pineapple Sorbet. "The secret? It’s your heart," Galand said.
2. Jay Woodson of Richmond, Va., tee’s off at the 16th hole before winning his third Open of Virginia title at the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia held at Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke.
3. A competitor putts at the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia held at Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke.
4. George Andrews, Josh Barnes, and Shane Damby of Vinton Roofing, repair the roof of a community member’s home as part of a community initiative program to repair the roofs of aging homes in Roanoke pro bono.
5. Frank Dean, 73, spent 40 years singing in the streets of Harlem, Ny. Now, living with his brother, Howard Dean, in Roanoke, he occasionally performing at local venues.
6. Saphire Pullins prepares for his swim during The City Swim Barracudas swim challenge held at Washington Park pool in Northwest Roanoke.
7. Estelle Avner, of Roanoke, is retiring after serving 40 years as the Executive Director of the Bradley Free Clinic in Southwest Roanoke. She has attributed her success in her career to her passion for helping others.
Sean Greenway, 22, spent the last four months at The Roanoke City jail on a robbery charge. This was his 6th time behind bars and what he wanted to be his last. The firs thing Sean wanted to do when he got out was see his baby girl, get a job, and move forward with his.
8. Sean walks down the streets of his old neighborhood in search for familiar faces. Without a phone or a car, and no one to pick him up, he was uncertain where to go for help.
9. After making contact with his best friend, Nygeria, Sean is picked up and is brought to her home a few neighborhoods from where he was walking. Wearing the same clothes he wore into the jail and overwhelmed by his growing to-do list, he says all he wants to do is take a shower. Beforehand, the acquaintances who gave him a phone to contact his best friend, had loaned him clean clothes to wear.
10. Before his shower, Sean cleans and re-laces the Jordan’s he had left at Nygeria’s before he went to jail.