You know your day is might be in trouble when an editor emails you an assignment and it begins with “I’m not that gung ho….” But that was my Thursday morning. It was Read for the Record day where all across the world, children were reading “The Snowy Day” on the same day to break last year’s record of 2 million children reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The gimmick I was sent to shoot was Mayor A.C. Wharton going to Sea Isle Elementary to read to the student. For me that meant some over-exaggerated photo opt by a politician that I had to somehow make look interesting. Usually, when I get these kind of “photo opt” assignments with politicians or other things like ribbon cuttings, the rule is don’t shoot the actual ribbon cutting, but what’s going on around it. The story was more about the kids reading than the mayor anyways, so I went to my every so ready backup plan of finding a cute kid with a book. Unfortunately, only three preschoolers in this entire cafeteria had books. So, I make a couple tight images of their noses in the books and when I went to get their names, every one starts signing all around me. Turns out these were the hearing impaired students, so I thought “ok, that will be some nice additional information in the caption.” The presentation started, Wharton did not read to students because he was behind in his schedule and the situation was visually flat. As everyone was filing out, an administrator made an announcement for all their readers to wait to get their assigned rooms. I thought about the hearing impaired kids and thought, “Hmm, they’ll be reading the story too, and it will be more interesting than some tight shot of a kid with his nose in a book.” So, my entire shoot was from the hearing impaired classes, and how they are reading just as much as the other students, but in a more visual style of storytelling. I walked away feeling gung ho.
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