I can print again after my printer got repaired this morning. Apparently, my story was so unbelievable to the Epson technician I was talking to on the phone that he was constantly trying to convince me that my eyes were lying to me. Apparently, if the platen is out of alignment, you can have all sorts of unbelievable problems. Regardless, the technician from Decision One was able to diagnose a truly obscure problem and fix it in short order, while we reminisced about the evolution of digital printing. Now it prints immaculately without ruining every piece of paper I put into it. All in all, it was a fairly pleasant experience and now I can experiment and try to make 24"x24" images when I get the proper roll paper. I think I may need to make my way to WestPhoto in the next few days to snag some big rolls of paper after I make the proper printing targets to evaluate which paper will reproduce the colors in a satisfactory way.
Today, the grand edit occurred. All went well and I shall be ruthless with my edits in the very near future and inevitably spend hours upon hours, burning my retinas sitting in front of a computer screen, editing my little heart out. I'm still excited about what will become the end results. Big prints? Yes, please.
Today, we left New Orleans to head back to Minneapolis. The past week has offered some incredible experiences (and ridiculous quotes) that I will surely not forget. As we were leaving, all I could think of were all the places that I wanted to go to and how I wished there were more hours in a day. When I was on the plane, I was trying to think of nifty titles for my essay. I've got a few titles pinballing around in my head, but nothing has really stuck. I know I want it to be a short title, so I can print it in bold letters, but that's about as far as I've thought about it. I have, however, started to write the as yet unnamed book and I'm already excited to see where it's going.
Day 5: This Machine Feeds Hungry College Students Areas Covered: Lakeview
There was an abandoned school that we had visited earlier this week that we absolutely had to explore. After navigating to it using the power of the Blackberry and the wonders of Google, we just had to walk through the open gate. After all, it was on public land. While shooting, a few locals from across the street came to talk to us about the state of the city. The area that we were in, known as Lakeview, had the highest return rate of any neighborhood in the city at only 38 percent. Within the city, there are still around 150 abandoned schools. The reason why is there are simply no kids to occupy the schools. Many residents fled New Orleans to go to other cities like Atlanta, where they could get jobs. New Orleans also just took Detroit's place as the city with the most blight, or abadoned buildings, in layman's terms. If you walk down Canal street, you can see all the abandoned office towers that line the six lane main drag. As we were leaving the school, a team from Florida showed up, presumably to start gutting abandoned houses on FEMA's behalf.
Day 6: Team Coal vs. Team Champagne Areas Covered: East New Orleans Boondocks
Today, we headed out to St. Roch, because Amanda wanted to get a shot. Keith and I wandered off to a nearby park to talk to some contractors that were hired by FEMA to resod the parks that were annexed by FEMA for the purposes of housing the displaced in trailers. The contractor we talked to was hired to refurbish nineteen parks. Apparently, they were also supposed to be done by October 1st, but they were delayed by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. At the time of this writing, only six parks had been completed. Following that, we headed East to go to Chuck's brother's home to see the damage inflicted by Hurricane Gustav.
Today, we got an amazing opportunity to ride along with Times Picayune photographers, some of which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. I was riding along with David Grunfeld, the assistant photo editor. He showed us around the 9th ward and dropped me off for an hour to met Robert Green, whose trailer I photographed on Monday. An hour later, he came back to pick me up. I had a lot of trouble believing that an hour had gone by, because it felt like it had only been fifteen minutes. Robert answered a lot of the questions I had about the neighborhood he lived in, because he's extremely knowledgeable and as he said, nosey. I felt tremendously privileged to meet him. After David picked me up again, we went to a crab boil, which was really interesting. The process was explained in great detail, which offered a view of the fishing industry that is not often seen. I was pretty grateful to have that opportunity presented to me. When we got back to the paper, we were given a copy of the Hurricane Katrina book that was made by the Times Picayune photographers, which was really, really amazing, because it's not a cheap book. Hearing their stories was absolutely incredible and really gave me such an alternative view of the storm, which I would have never gotten othrwise. I feel like I understand why Hurricane Katrina was so culturally significant now as a result of meeting these people.