Independent Photography

First week of work…


A worker clears brush in preparation for planting, I think sugarcane? I wasn't quite sure what he said and I was in a rush to another assignment.

Monday morning was the start of my first full week of work.  I woke up to an email from my boss asking me to cover three assignments that day.   The first one was a little ridiculous…  We’re doing a story on ‘Tanorexia’ also called ‘sun addiction.’  I was asked to go to the beach and take some photos of people enjoying the sun, specifically women…

Ali Stark-Rinder (left) and her twin sister Glory Stark-Rinder live in the United States, but their family owns a house in Nosara, they try to come twice a year for the sunshine.

The issue wasn’t photographing women on the beach, the issue was talking to them afterwards…  I ran over my speech a few times in my head, so I wouldn’t sound like a creep.  Imagine some guy with a big camera who walks up to you and says, “I’m a journalist and I’m doing a story on sun-addiction, anyways I just took a photo of you and I need your name, and where you’re from and why you’re here.”  After I hung out on the beach for a bit…

The Nosara Beaches Hotel from a distance, the hotel I explored the other day. Apparently it was built inside a protected area of the beach. The Nosara beaches are spawning grounds for sea turtles so no construction is allowed within 50m of the shoreline. Someone built the hotel anyway and the government shut it down

After that it was off to the liquor store for a very basic photo of liquor bottles.  Costa Rica is in the middle of changing its license management system, and Voice of Nosara wanted some stock pictures of liquor bottles for any stories related to it.  Having finished the first two I had some time, so I went back to the beach to try and get rid of the t-shirt tan I seem to have developed.

A crab, one of many, I found on the beach. This was my favourite photo although i think I need a macro lens... The crab itself is about the size of a small tomato

While that was actually successful, I got something worse… a tan-line in the shape of my camera bag strap.  I’ll have to go back either without the bag or with the strap on the other side and correct that.

Monday evening was the third assignment, I went down to a place called the Yoga House, which is guess what? A yoga studio!  They had a speaker, an American author named John Perkins who became famous in 2004 for his book, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman.’  The book was groundbreaking because it outlined his role for the previous few decades as an agent of the American economy sent to foreign countries to assist in destabilizing the economy for on behalf of American business interests.  The theory is complex, but these so-called economic hitmen were instrumental in implanting America’s neo-liberal polices globally, but especially in Latin America in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s I highly recommend looking it up.

Author John Perkins explaining the prophecy behind 2012.

Perkins is now a new age spiritualist and spoke about many topics.  Mostly he talked about the meaning of several different spiritual and indigenous prophecies relating to 2012.  It turns out that the Maya prophecy isn’t the only one relating to the dramatic changing of times in 2012 most importantly, its not the end of existence but rather a changing of existence.  The talk was heavy at times but really enlightening.

John Perkins demonstrating a Quechua transformation ritual by blowing fire with high proof alcohol. The Quechua use corn beer, Perkins used Bacardi 151.

I felt I was a little obtrusive though, the room was so quiet that the echoes of the mirror slap from my SLR could be heard.  It gave me an opportunity to try out the 5D’s ‘silent shoot’ mode.  It’s a lie, it’s not silent, although it is much quieter.  Basically you enter mirror lock-up, the focusing mirror smacks up blacking out the viewfinder, and you use the screen to frame.  When you actually take a photo the only noise is the shutter opening and the curtain closing, the problem is it limits the frame rate to only one photo at a time.

Tuesday morning started off slow.  Shortly after I woke up I noticed some workers spreading some brown crap all over the road outside my window.  In order to control dust during the dry season they pour molasses all over the roads, which with heat and pressure hardens and keeps dust from going everywhere.  It looked like kind of a shitty job.

A city worker throwing molasses on the road to control dust.

Then I received an email asking me to track down some business inspectors from the Costa Rican government and follow them while they inspected local businesses (mostly immigration and health issues).  There have been some claims of corruption apparently, however, the inspectors never made it today.  Instead my boss showed up on an ATV.  We headed out to the town of Nosara and I got a nice little tour.  We drove through lower income neighborhoods built out of sheet metal with no electricity or running water.  Then headed to three different construction sites to photograph bridges that were under construction.  During the rainy season several poorer areas of Nosara are essentially cut off from vehicle traffic because of high water levels in the river.  The government has finally gotten around to fixing this problem.  It also presented me with an opportunity to try to be creative, how the hell do you take a picture of a build site in the jungle and make it interesting?  What made it worse was we showed up during lunch so there weren’t any workers around.

A view over the shoulder of my boss while she drives the quad back to Guiones Beach from the town of Nosara. I love ATV's.

After that we headed back, and I had to shower off a layer of dust covering my whole body then came the ‘fun’ part; editing and translating.  Because the paper is bilingual everything is translated, so while I only filed English captions for the Spanish people to translate, I was given an 800-word story in Spanish to translate.  I put on Jurassic Park for background noise and got to work, such a good movie.

All that’s done now though, so I’m going to make dinner then head out to the Gilded Iguana, a bar in town with live music.  My boss and I are going for drinks, it will be my first actual night out, should be fun.

Paz Siempre,

Adam Dietrich

P.S. I just wanted to thank those who have read my blog and commented so far.  I post with the expectation that no one reads it, but the encouraging comments from strangers and the number of page views say otherwise.  While I don’t publish comments made (trying to maintain a portfolio feel to the site) I do read everyone.  Thanks and I hope you keep reading.

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