Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Iris Rising : Inner Vision

Inner Vision
by Jennifer Kay, IPC Visual Lab, Student

Jennifer Kay is a Miami-based reporter for The Associated Press who has enrolled in Iris' IPC Visual Lab. Before moving to Miami in 2005, Kay was an editorial assistant in the AP’s Philadelphia bureau, and previously graduated in 2001 from Dartmouth College, where she was the photography editor of the daily student newspaper. Kay is looking to expand her knowledge of the visual language and to engage in the process of visual story-telling. Her blog will be a common feature for the next several month on the Iris PhotoCollective's Iris Rising series. Welcome Jennifer.

I first started taking pictures for an art class during high school. In that class, picking up a 35mm camera and learning how it worked, it hit me: This is how stories are made. All the stories I read in the newspaper and the magazines and watch on the evening news, this is how they got made. Someone looked and saw something interesting and brought it back to tell to me. That's what I wanted to do, to bring back stories that people would remember the way I remembered certain images and reports from the news.

One image I'll never forget was the scene before me when I was sitting on the tarmac at the Toussaint L'ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was late in the morning on 19 January 2010, and I was sitting on my suitcase, waiting to leave after seven days covering the U.S. military's efforts to get the airport up and running after a catastrophic earthquake that claimed more than 230,000 lives. As the morning wore on, a line of earthquake survivors snaked around me, stoically waiting to board one of the military planes idling just a dozen or so steps away. I pulled out my camera to take a picture of the line, and the troops crossing the tarmac behind them. From my seated position, I had several frames of legs and plane wheels, but then I looked up and saw this Haitian man carrying a small child in his arms. There was enough space between them and the next person behind them to see the big plane they were waiting to board. I thought they looked the way I felt, tired and wanting to leave and tired of waiting. I thought as I pressed the shutter, maybe this will show people what I've been seeing here on the tarmac all week. People aren't supposed to stand on the tarmac, waiting to leave their homeland.

I was able to make this frame with my Nikon FM2 on expired Ilford HP5 (ISO400) black and white film.