Last week it was a photo in this space of bare deciduous tree limbs and branches reaching up against buildings (scroll down below the text). The photo below is one of more bare branches, seemingly inside the sidewalk.
I made the picture, not for this column, but during one of my most-mornings-exercise-walk around my town. Besides the health benefits, my walks down mostly familiar pathways, have helped me to see new things in old places. Or at least see them in new ways (and post them each day on my Instagram).
That fresh way to look at things has served to motivate me in the same way, as I’ve covered many identical assignments, over and over again over the years.
So this week, while one of my colleagues was covering the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, another was at the college women’s swimming and diving championship, and a third is with the Phillies at Spring Training, I volunteered — gladly — to cover three nights of town hall meetings. The three finalists for the job of Philadelphia School District Superintendent. Three guys (yes, all men) on three consecutive nights, in the same seat, in the same room, with the same moderator and audience, and pretty much the same questions. On deadline.
I knew I had to get three similar mug shots, for the future combo showing all three headshots together, each looking like they were answering a serious question. Also wanted to come away with three smiling, pleasant-looking portraits.
Then, once I was past that, I didn’t want the secondary photos to all look the same. Three nights in a row.
Because they didn’t move from their seat for the hour-long meeting, I had to move around, looking for different places I could stand or sit to make pictures. But I knew I had maybe 15 seconds at the beginning and at the end, when each one walked into the room then walked out.
Would they walk in alone? Or accompanied by a staffer? Sit down right away? Or pause to wave (?) and greet the audience? Would they go shake hands with the moderator? At the beginning or the end? Or both? Would they stay around to answer individual and media questions?
That’s where it got to be entertaining, for me, anyway. And why I wanted to do all three nights.
Since 1998, a black-and-white photo has appeared every Monday in staff photographer Tom Gralish’s “Scene Through the Lens” photo column in The Inquirer’s local news section. Here are the most recent, in color: