Today was my first day covering the Tribeca Film Festival, which has been showcasing independent films for 10 years now and was created as a way to bring people back to the area where the Twin Towers once stood.
I am a reporter. I write, I interview and I write some more. I am an Assistant Editor. I write, I organize and I write some more. But today I tried my hand at being a photographer. I was reminded of the many reasons why I chose to major in journalism and not photography.
I love photography. It has been a hobby of mine for years. All throughout high school I did black and white darkroom photography, and now I photograph for The Statesman on occasion. But today I experienced the most difficult, challenging and exciting photographic experience that I have ever been exposed to: shooting a red carpet.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen scampered past me from one end of the carpet to the other. Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World) stood three feet away from me while I photographed him. And then an unknown blond woman walked up and down the red carpet, letting the photographers capture her essence. No one actually knew who she was…
Press photography has proven itself to be a true challenge. Celebrities sprint in an effort to get away from the paparazzi-like press photographers, and once the moment is gone, it is permanently lost. If the camera’s settings are not exactly right, the photograph will not be exactly right either.
Luckily, I had Kenneth Ho, our wonderful photo editor, to teach me the basics. After squeezing our way into the red carpet area among the horde of photographers from other publications, we photographed celebrities as they walked by and made conversation with a couple of other photographers, who bonded over the struggle to get the perfect photograph of the ever-elusive celebrities who did not care to slow down on our account.
When the red carpet event came to a close, we moved out to the outdoor seating area to watch “The Union,” Cameron Crowe’s documentary on the story of Sir Elton John’s collaboration with Leon Russell. After the showing of the film, Elton John performed.
As Sir Elton John was performing, I felt so inspired that I couldn’t help but take out my reporting notebook and start writing my blog. And so, the following excerpts are the tidbits that I scribbled down as I stood in the cold at the World Financial Plaza on the Hudson while listening to the incredible voice and piano playing of Elton John.
“I always take out my camera at events like these, but tonight I want to just have this experience. I’m inspired to take to the piano again (I play, but not like Elton John), and to write this. In a world where so many celebrities are famous for nothing, Tribeca highlights those who are famous for something: for talent and for the ability to truly and genuinely inspire.”
“It’s simple, and that is what is so beautiful about it. Balloons, water, fresh air, and raw, organic talent.”
“A festival like this makes you realize that sometimes there is real talent behind celebrities. I’m standing in the World Financial Plaza on the Hudson watching and listening to Elton John perform. The raw talent that is in front of me is surreal, and it has made me realize that Tribeca, a festival that has grown over the past 10 years, really gives people the opportunity to display their talent, realize the talents of others, and realize the value of those talents.”
“The Tribeca team seems to be composed of individuals who truly care. Some are here for the celebrities and the prestige (though the festival is still relatively young), but its founders are clearly and undoubtedly here to give artists an outlet.”
“I photographed a red carpet and Rider Strong walked past me.”
The extent to which this festival has inspired me over the past two days is unbelievable.