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Follow Friday: Jimmy Shoots

Posted on 25 June 2010

Five members of the Wandering River Fire Hall pose for a photo on a blocked off part of Highway 63 two hours north of Edmonton near Breynat, Alberta on June 7, 2010. The volunteers are Maureen Hagan, Jennifer Batiuk, Trisha Hatch, Sheri Johnson and Janet Snydmiller. The Wandering River fire hall is threatening to close down due to the high calls of traffic incidents on highway 63. Jimmy Jeong For The Globe and Mail

My blog is somewhat of a niche market. You have to either be interested in me, personally (hi, family) or be interested in the same things that interest me. I don’t follow the rules of niche blogging, and as such, severely limit my potential audience. Which is why most of my followers tend to be bots.

So it’s nice when I notice a new follower who is actually human, and it’s even nicer when it’s someone who is clearly far more talented and interesting than I am. So today I’d like to highlight Jimmy Jeong of Jimmy Shoots.

I have been going back through his blog lately just fascinated by it. For the most part, his posts are highlights from his photojournalism assignments, accompanied by the stories of the people in the photos, and how those stories affect him. It’s this last point that makes it so great– the idea of the detached journalist is one that I don’t fully agree with. It’s important to be factual and present the full truths of the stories you cover, but it’s silly to pretend they don’t affect you and you don’t have an opinion on any issues. I remember talking to a man shortly after the Haiti earthquake– he was trying to figure out if his brother and sister who were right in the heart of things had survived. That stuck with me, and even though it didn’t get covered in the news anymore, I was happy to find out he had eventually made contact.

Anyways, Jeong does a great job at giving some technical details on his posts as well as his own connection to the stories. This post on Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland is a great example of that. Take a look:


Premier Floyd Roland of the Northwest Territories sits down for a portrait at the Westin hotel in Edmonton, Alberta on May 25, 2010. Photo by Jimmy Jeong For the Globe and Mail

“I have to admit that sometimes, rarely, a subject for a portrait can be intimidating. But this is the first time I’ve met a sitting political leader who had actually dropped the gloves and got in a hockey fight (in his B-div beer drinking hockey league in Yellowknife) during their tenure. I wonder if other Canadian premiers or Prime Minister Harper now thinks twice before opposing Premier Roland in the political arena.

The Technical Stuff: I really wanted to isolate the premier from the environment so that he would be the only focus of attention. The shoot took place in the hallway of the second floor of the Westin Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. So, I gridded all the lights. I started by setting my camera settings (Nikon D700, iso 100, f5.6, 1/250th of a second) so that basically if I took the photo without lights the frame would come out black. From there I built up the lights. There are two strip lights (long and narrow) behind the premier on either side. These are both gridded, which controls any spill from the lights and makes a much more narrow beam. I then made use of the reporter (thanks Josh) and had him hold a Nikon SB900 with a Honl 1/8 grid pointed at the face of the Premier. The strip lights add a rim of light around the subject and chair (you will also notice the angle of light on the floor because the lights were up high pointed down) which separates the subject from the black background. And then the punch of light on his upper torso brings back the detail in his face.”

He starts with a stunning photograph, followed by the admission that he was intimidated by the shoot, then deconstructs the portrait to explain how he got the shot. As both a beginning journalist and an amateur photographer, this is a blog I’m going to enjoy for some time.

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