Last year was packed with a lot of memorable photographs. I’m not necessarily speaking about big news events, but moreso portraits that made me smile, moments that warmed my heart, and events that made me wonder how they even happened (such as the photo of the flipped van, seen at 0:08 in slide show above).
My job is to create an image that tells the entire story in one photo. This can be easy when I’m faced with something like a man driving a Second World War tank down Main Street (2:26 in slide show), but it can also be difficult.
Take portraits, for example. From artists to politicians, and athletes to entrepreneurs, I pretty much cover it all. What makes a great portrait, in my opinion, is a combination of clean backgrounds, beautiful light, composition and the subject’s expression.
But sometimes making a great portrait can be challenging.
In October, I photographed local artist Kelli Mitchell who sang at Gene Simmons wedding. I met her at the Anavets building on Yale Road. I wasn’t fond of the interior which featured an open dining area of plain tables and chairs and very little natural light, so we went outside and looked for a nicer backdrop.
The outside wasn’t great either — a busy street, garbage cans, telephone poles and some empty storefronts didn’t look appealing, so we kept looking. Tucked away between the outdoor smoking section of the Anavets and a laundromat, was a bright blue brick wall.
That was it.
Using one flash, positioned to capture Kelli’s shadow at an angle, and her natural humour, I made a lovely portrait of her (0:52 in slide show).
Another memorable, but also emotionally difficult, assignment was photographing Terry Fox’s father, Rolly Fox, not long after wife, Betty, passed away.
We were doing a story leading up to the annual Terry Fox Run and I was to get a portrait of Rolly. When I arrived, we talked for a while about Betty. He told me that since she died, rarely is he at home. He doesn’t like to be alone.
The house hadn’t changed at all since the last time I was there. Betty’s coloured-glass collectables sat alongside Rolly’s train collection which were placed throughout the house beside photos of Terry.
I asked him to sit on the couch. A coffee table stood in front of him with some of Betty’s glass treasures on top. He held a framed picture of Betty hugging Terry, and said “I don’t want to smile.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “You don’t have to.”
I photographed him exactly how I saw him that day — sad and lonely, missing both his wife and son.
Two photos that I was told got some people talking were my shot of illusionist Ted Outerbridge (1:25 in slide show) and my photo of Soprema employees at the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards (2:22 in slide show).
Despite the number of people who have asked me about the portrait of illusionist Ted Outerbridge and wife Marion, who is floating in mid-air in the photo, I can’t tell you the goings on behind that image.
I can, on the other hand, tell you a bit more about the shot from the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Rocky Horror Awards Show’.
Pictured in a corset, high-heeled boots, and stockings with a garter belt, is local actor Dayton Pagliericci who, during the awards entertainment that night, played Dr. Frank N. Furter, the main character from the 1975 musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie features a lost couple who are swept into the world of said doctor, who is a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite”. Pagliericci was one of many scantily clad actors who escorted the winners off the stage to be photographed along with the award sponsors.
We did get at least one reader who did not approve of the image.
But regardless of whether some of my images may offend some people, I still have to do my job of photographing things as I see them, or as the public sees them, and tell stories through my images.
And if a photo of a man in high heels and hot pants leading people off stage, arm-in-arm, best describes that event, then I’ve done my job.
View Hauck’s photos on Flickr.
Jenna Hauck is an award-winning photojournalist at The Chilliwack Progress. She has been working at the Progress since February of 2000.