Archive for June, 2010

adDRESSing the issue

June 21st, 2010
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“May I ask why you chose the picture you did of Alina Ching?  You know that picture was awful and yet still printed it.  I have been photographed hundreds of times and I know just as well as you do that a photographer takes teens if not hundreds of pictures in order to find a good photo to use.  This is the best you could find?  Or did you purposely sabotage a girl’s article by posting a poorly chosen picture?  Great job in taking away from the intent of the article.

Not only should you be ashamed of your choice of photograph, you owe that young girl a public apology.  For obvious reasons!!”

–email from one of many alarmed and spiteful readers–one prominent in the golf world.

First off, let me say this:

I DID NOT choose the photograph of Alina Ching to run in that Tuesday edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  I DID file the photograph, however, because it was a different, peak-action sports photograph that showcased the power and precision in a swing that only Alina Ching can deliver.

I had photographed Alina Ching a few months ago at Waialae Country Club for the ILH golf tourney, and she’s a nice, well-mannered, and talented kid.  It grieved me to see all of the hateful comments on our website which ultimately came back to the photograph that ran taken by me.  But here is the bottom line:

The photograph is only as alarming or offensive as the viewer makes it to be.  There are no body parts showing.  I was in full view of the players when I pressed the shutter button, so they were aware that I was photographing them.

I am a photojournalist.  Like others in my field, I cover news, and news happens the way it happens.  There’s no sugar-coating, no cushioning the fall, no second chances.

With this in mind, I am firmly going to stand by my decision to file the photograph of Alina Ching teeing off from the 14th teebox.  To give the alarmed readers some perspective, here’s another photograph from the exact same spot, albeit a different golfer.

Max Bonk watches his drive off the tee box on the 14th hole of the first round of the 2010 Manoa Cup on Monday, June 14, 2010 at Oahu Country Club in Nuuanu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Here’s another shot of Alina from a different teebox:

Alina Ching of Punahou hits from the teebox on the 10th hole of the first round of the 2010 Manoa Cup on Monday, June 14, 2010 at Oahu Country Club in Nuuanu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

As you can see, no matter where the shot was taken from, the power of Alina’s swing always made her shirt rise when she extended.

Like I said,

I am a photojournalist.

I shoot what’s in front of me.  No more.  No less.  This has been the long-standing ethic of thousands of other photojournalists around the globe, and a big reason why viewers are still able to see the people, places, things, and events that they see today.

Windooohhh again!

June 8th, 2010
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I was on assignment today at the Blaisdell Concert Hall to cover the press conference for Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s announcement for Broadway shows this fall.  Of course, I shot and covered the news conference, but as I was walking out, I happened upon this pretty cool image.  It’s amazing–sometimes all you need to do is look out the window and voila!  Wild Art!

A skateboarder traveling up Ward Avenue is framed amid the stained glass windows that adorn the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Reflecting on History…

June 6th, 2010
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History.  That’s what happened last night.  Honolulu became a one-newspaper town as of 12:01AM June 6, 2010.  My assignment yesterday was to cover the final moments of the last printed edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, and it was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had to do.  Difficult because of the loss of not just a piece of Hawaii’s storied history, but also the loss of many friends and colleagues whom I’ve shared a cutline, a laugh, a heated moment, and the passion of journalism in the field.  As with my previous “Lanterns” post, I tried to be reflective and respectful in these moments.

Honolulu Advertiser photojournalist Andrew Shimabuku photographs the new Star-Advertiser newsstand at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Honolulu Star-Bulletin City Editors Ed Lynch, right, and Betty Shimabukuro discuss a page for the final issue of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

After spending some time in the Star-Bulletin newsroom, I headed up the street with our reporter Allison Schaefers to talk to the Advertiser’s night crew putting out their final issue.  We walked in, and I was immediately overcome with a heinous feeling in the air–one of emptiness, of sadness, of letting go and leaving behind.  Workstations were empty.

Workstations were clear of all computers and personal belongings at the Honolulu Advertiser newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

About 20 people were in the newsroom putting together the final issue.  Among them was night city editor Andy Yamaguchi, whom I  met for the first time this night.  I shook his hand and he had a warm smile and mentioned that he’d seen my work through the years.  I was truly melancholy about having to meet him under these circumstances.

Honolulu Advertiser night city editor Andy Yamaguchi looks out at a very sparse newsroom at the Honolulu Advertiser on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I then ran into an empty workstation with various memorabilia.

Various memorabilia sits on an empty workstation at the Honolulu Advertiser newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

What saddened me most, believe it or not, was the water bottle with a post-it note saying “RIP.”  Details such as these I pay attention to, and though I didn’t know the owner of this water bottle, the drinker of the bottle could’ve been using it habitually all these days, weeks, even years.  I didn’t know, but I could relate.  History.

I had to file these photographs and make it out to Kapolei for the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser.  I got there and ran into Advertiser photographer Norm Shapiro.  We were both there to photograph the paper as it was coming off the press.  History.

The final run of the Honolulu Advertiser runs through the presses at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I’ve never been near a press before, and I’ve been in the newspaper industry for over five years.  It was overwhelming.  It hulked four stories high.  We waited until the 10 o’clock hour then the rollers started going, and the first run of the last Honolulu Advertiser came through like a subway train.

Honolulu Advertiser photographer Norm Shapiro photographs pressman Roscoe Nishida as Nishida checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Pressman Roscoe Nishida quality checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I was quite reflective upon this historic moment, and was unsure how I felt.  I just took it as my job dictates me to do–record it.  Freeze it in time to be remembered timelessly.

Pressman Herb Hara quality-checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

The final run of the Honolulu Advertiser runs through the presses at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

As you are all aware of, the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut into Honolulu homes, minds, habits, and lives tomorrow.  But this is not without saying that Hawaii has also had its lions’ share of top-notch journalists in the past century who were a part of both the Star-Bulletin and the Advertiser.  With that said, my heart goes out to those at the Honolulu Advertiser, but most especially in photo.

Competition or not, at the end of the day, I was proud to call each and every one of the talented photographers on the Advertiser colleagues and friends in this small journalism Ohana.  My warmest and best wishes to you, Honolulu Advertiser photographers of past and present whom I’ve had the privilege of sharing the field with:  Andrew Shimabuku, Eugene Tanner, Richard Ambo, Rebecca Breyer, Deb Booker, Joaquin Siopack, Norm Shapiro, Greg Yamamoto, Jeff Widener, David Yamada, and Kent Nishimura.  Each of you had vision, and that vision told Hawaii the stories it needed to be told.

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Lanterns

June 1st, 2010
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Yesterday, the annual Shinnyo En Lantern Floating took place at Ala Moana Beach Park.  This year, however, my goal was to see differently.  Of course there are thousands of lanterns to be photographed, along with the thousands of stories behind each and every prayer on those lanterns, but when I left my car to head towards the beach, I made a promise to myself to “see” differently from last year.

If you recall, this was my cover image from last year:

Last year’s Kona winds blew the majority of the lanterns back onshore in large clumps, which made a dense wall of picturesque lantern mosaics.

This year, I tried to focus on a a more singular vision.  Of course, I photographed the massive groups of lanterns, but, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted something different.

Repetition of form in legs and lanterns.

Here I used the saturated color projecting off the big screen to cast this trio of lanterns into a more colorful composition.

Here I used the saturated color projecting off the big screen to cast this trio of lanterns into a more colorful composition.

I also wanted to make my photographs of people more singular as well, focusing more on emotion.

Rita Luke has a solemn moment of remembrance prior to floating her lantern during the annual Shinnyo-En Temple Lantern Floating on Monday, May 31, 2010 at Ala Moana Beach Park. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Fifteen-year-old Anthony Cavalieri looks out at the hundreds of lanterns cast afloat during the annual Shinnyo-En Temple Lantern Floating on Monday, May 31, 2010 at Ala Moana Beach Park. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

As the lanterns floated out, I actually paused for a moment and put my cameras down to just take in the marvelous moment as the sun went down and the energy surrounding me from the thousands of lanterns and the people there just surged through my senses.

To top it off, prior to the whole ceremony, I was privileged enough to have met and photographed Ms. Shinso Ito, the master of ceremonies in a Star-Bulletin exclusive.  A wonderful and gracious woman off the altar, she lights up with a delicate smile when talking about her father and lantern floating ceremonies from years past.

hinsho Ito smiles while remembering her father prior to the annual Shinnyo-En Temple Lantern Floating on Monday, May 31, 2010 at Ala Moana Beach Park. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

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