I am fortunate enough to freelance for a weekly newspaper in Carpinteria, California called the Coastal View News. They will publish a six month long series of monthly picture stories I will produce about residents in their town who give it the small-town character. The idea for this series was inspired when I audited a picture story class at the Ventura Campus of Brooks Institute this fall. In my class we discussed how the news is overrun with violent and freakish stories often in order to gain readership. These stories are so prevalent, publications lose track of everyday people who work hard and lead "normal" lives. His challenge to show our readers "normal life" in an interesting way. The series I am shooting for Coastal View News is both a tribute to locals who make Carpinteria tick year-round and also an exercise for me in creating interesting picture stories about everyday people who are often overlooked. So far it has been a fun, rewarding and good learning experience.
I typically shoot journalistic projects with a Nikon D200 or D700. I use autofocus a lot. I purposely shot this entire assignment with a Leica M8 and mostly with a 50mm f/1 lens. The Leica, although it is digital, has limited settings, it is very basic, and does not offer autofocus. This forced me to slow down while shooting this assignment think about composition and framing and shoot more deliberately. It also produced more dreamlike, ethereal photos than the Nikon because of the narrow depth of field of the 50 mm f/1.