Friday, June 15, 2007

angelina and carmen

Angelina, or in her native Q'anjob'al language, Axul on June 6, 2007.

She's 26 and only speaks Q'anjob'al. no Spanish. She lived in the same village in the Guatemalan highlands her entire life until the father of her four kids was killed in an accident. Carmen speaks Q'anjob'al fluently, so as a result Angelina really trusts her.

She migrated to Alabama to get work to send money back home. She worked the harvests for a few weeks before she met a Guatemalan man who worked with her and romanced her. He got her pregnant and convinced her to move to Lake Worth. It's been three months since she's heard from him.

I spent my last few days at the paper working on this. Between travel time and deadlines, we did not have a lot of time. What could, and maybe should, have been a long-term project, had to be done in two days. She was two weeks from delivery at this point. There was a huge language barrier and I've always been rusty on the non-verbal communication, but Carmen was patient and helped me a lot. In accordance with the newspaper's policies, I did my best to shield Angelina's identity.

It wasn't easy. But as hard as it was for me trying to make usable images while being limited by company policy, I can't imagine what it's like to be in Angelina's shoes. Q'anjob'al is not a written language so even when Carmen explains to her every detail on the paper, it costs Angelina a great deal to sign where she's indicated because she doesn't know how to write. I asked her at least three or four times while I was with her about how she felt about this whole thing -- being alone, not understanding what people are saying around her, all this paperwork, moving from a village to the US -- because wherever we went she was totally calm. Never furrowing her brow or projecting an ounce of anxiety. Every time I asked she reassured me with a smile/nod combo, that she was, you know, okay.

Angelina's story was an example for a story on the challenges in pre-natal care Hispanic women in West Palm Beach are facing. The county, especially is the Lake Worth area, is full of migrant workers and immigrants predominantly from Central America. Carmen works with Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies and does tons of outreach work to the community. Hardcore door-to-door-ing in three different languages. She's kinda my hero.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


John and Julie O'Connor have hand baked all of the cookies from scratch in the 25 years they have worked at their store the Cookie Factory in Lauderdale-by-the-sea. I had to get two consecutive phone calls from an editor to get pulled away from the incredible smell.


i wound up sensing my assignment patterns for the sun-sentinel went through specific and obscure thematic phases. initially, i was doing a lot of church events. towards the end, they definitely had me shooting a lot of hurricane preparedness stuff. this was a hurricane preparedness event for the kiddies at the nova library. story time and crayons were the librarian's, Miss Meaghan, tools of choice.

FPL hurricane prep.


Jaime Gaviria, a golf instructor in Weston, developed the idea for the Helicoptero. It is a tool meant to improve your swing by acting as a guide on your golf club. He's got darkness instead of eyes, but I still kind of like what I got just using a strobe on an off-camera cord. I've got to improve my light kit situation.

hurricane prep tax holiday

woo! HPTH '07! crazy times.


Jessica Lynn, 2, in her bedroom.

Now that I'm done with my internship at the sun-sentinel, I'm going to be playing catch-up with all the photos I've been wanting to post and haven't gotten around to. After driving north 150 miles, I finally reached Juliete Buzek's house. Juliete and her husband Jason were foster parents to Katrina Marie, 3, and Jessica Lynn, 2, and recently adopted them along with another son, Jose, 11 months. The Buzeks are an example of what the new campaign encouraging Hispanic foster parents to consider adopting their children.

It was especially cool to have the opportunity to hang out with this family because there were so many of them. In addition to the three recently adopted kids, Juliette already had three kids of her own from a previous marriage. She was this wonderful free spirit kind of lady that made it easy for me to blend into the background and just watch. The house was warm and the scents of home cooking and the buzz of affection. I wish time and logistics allowed me to stay longer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

fish rodeo

two days after joe watson i was assigned to go to the pompano fishing rodeo. miller lite, pall malls, fried conch and hot dogs, luxury fishing yachts.

the docks were roped off to spectators who wanted to see the catches as they came in.

"guess the weight of this kingfish and we'll give you a free tshirt!"

comfortable distance

the paper likes sending me to low-key governor events they never have room to run photos of, like the hurricane conference earlier this month at the broward county convention center. i have my fun anyway.