Monthly Archives October 2011

[Editorial Note: This post contains images and stories pertaining to child slavery. If you do not wish to view these, do not click through to the full article]

I became a photographer to change the world. It’s just been a little bit harder than I thought it would be.

I grew up in Iran, and by the time I was twelve I had been around the world twice with my family, and had visited twenty countries along the way. I wanted to find a career that would keep me out in that world, and journalism—especially photography—seemed perfect. I saw the role that photography had played in ending the war in Vietnam and wanted to join that cadre of crusading photographers.

But when I joined the staff of National Geographic, my ambitions became somewhat more modest—or realistic: I could illuminate worlds most people would never see. As a journalist, I loved telling stories, and especially loved being behind closed doors in intimate situations that revealed something about the human condition. I tried to get that kind of photograph into every story, no matter how complicated the assignment or vast the terrain.

And they were big: cities (Jerusalem, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Nashville, Shanghai and Venice) and countries (China, Jordan, Thailand and Taiwan). But my later stories on the women of Saudi Arabia, the geisha of Japan, and the science of beauty and love let me make the kinds of photographs I liked best. I was able to enter some very private places indeed—some never photographed before—and share them the world.

But then a newspaper article about Congress passing the Anti-Trafficking Act caught my eye and I knew that contemporary slavery was an issue I had to try to make sense of. It would be the culmination of all my passions and experience.


Hi Gang: I just got back from the Bucs vs. Colts Monday Night football game (it was awesome!), but I just walked in the door and it’s 1:24 am in the morning. I’m downloading the images from the game in the background, because no matter how tired you are, you must always at least take a brief look at your images to see if you really did capture that touchdown pass in the end zone, or did the ref walk right in front of you.

(Above: Our good friend Ken Toney snagged this image of me on TV, right behind the word ESPN on the left, shooting from the end zone. Man was it hard shooting over those letters). ;-)  Sadly, Ken did not win the Spot Scott Competition, because others beat him to it. I’ll determine the winners later today).

The post that was not to be….
I had grand plans of writing a blog post when I got home showing a more personal side of my Tampa Photo Walk, but sadly that will have to wait until Thursday or Friday, as I’m whipped from a whirlwind day at work, and the game tonight, and now (well, a bit later today) I’m flying to Houston, Texas for my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch It” seminar there on Wednesday (hey, if you’re not signed up yet, it’s not too late to go—here’s the link).

I guess the reason I’m telling you all this is that I’m not doing that really cool post I had planned, and instead I offer you “Lame/Late/Light Blog Tuesday” which I realize is both light and lame, but I really don’t have a great back-up plan (plus, I’m battling a mosquito that snuck in the door with me when I came in a few minutes ago, and that’s not making things easier).

I do, however, hope you all have a magnificent Tuesday filled with all the joys only a Tuesday can bring (I have no idea what that means. Can you tell it’s really late at night?).


-Scott, the Sleepy Bear, Kelby
Red ballcap, yellow monopod, jeans and kneepads. It’s what all the cool kids are wearing. ;-)

P.S. Stacy Tuggle, who follows me on Google+, totally nailed the High Def shot, and posted it on G+ (it’s shown below). Thanks Stacy! That’s worth a signed book! :)

Here’s one more for the road (well, three really), from Kirk Howard on Google+:

OK, I am super psyched because tonight I’ll be shooting on the sidelines at the Monday Night Football Game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Monday Night Football is a grand sports tradition here in the USA, and it’s broadcast nationwide (as its the only pro football game that airs on Monday night—-all the rest play on Sunday), and I know a lot of you will be watching, so I thought I would create this handy “Scott Spotting Guide” just in case I get creamed by a receiver (or if Josh Freeman breaks my monopod). ;-)

Brad Has Re-Pimped Out my Monopod
To make “Scott Spotting” easier, Brad has removed the red flames tape and replaced it with bright yellow tape around the top section of my monopod, so if I show up on camera (which I do from time to time), you’ll be able to see that it’s me. Oh but there’s more…

Adding a Colorful Ballcap
I went to my closet to find a colorful ball cap to help make me easier to spot, but as you can see in this iPhone photo, apparently all I have is black ball caps. So, I went to the mall and picked up the red ballcap you see in the photo at the top of the page at a Sporting Goods store. So, red ballcap and yellow monopod. I’ll look like a small firetruck with a 400mm lens.

Where I’m likely to be on the field:
I generally shoot from these two areas:

(1) The End Zone (there’s less chance of refs, the chain gang, video crews, and the guy with the giant blue parabolic mic walking in front of your shot)

(2) Between the 15 yard line and the goal line.

I also go out on the field immediately after the game to grab a few close-up shots of players celebrating / agonizing at center field. I’d be shooting something more wide angle at this point.

Let’s make it interesting
The first three people who taks a photo of their TV Screen where you can see me, and post it either to my Facebook page (link), Tweets me with the photo (link), or posts it to my Google+ page (link) gets a signed copy of my new book, “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it.”

If I get flattened by a player during the game, the first person to visit me in the hospital (besides my wife), gets my entire CS5 Photoshop and Photography book library. I’m hoping we don’t have a winner for this one.

Can’t wait to share the shots with you guys tomorrow (provided I get any decent ones). Have a great Monday, and we’ll see you tonight. Well, you know what I mean. :)

This weekend, we shared in something very special: over 1,100 walks all over the world, from Tusla to Oxford, Jakarta to Tehran, from Pakistan to the Philippines, from Finland to Malta, and from Qatar to Denmark—all coming together as one big community to share our passion for photography and people. What an amazing day!

I know it’s our fourth year now, but I’m still amazed by the whole thing. One of my favorite parts happens after I return from leading my walk (this year, in downtown Tampa, Florida), when I get to sit back and watch all the reports and photos streaming in from every part every corner of the globe. It still just simply boggles my mind, and puts a huge smile on my face to know that we all shared in something really special this weekend. Millions of photos were made that never would have been made otherwise, and lots of new friends were made along the way, which is what it’s really all about.

A Few of My Shots
It’s tough getting into “the zone” when you’re a walk leader, and I’m especially bad at it because I want to talk to everybody in our group, and I wind up spending most of my time chatting instead shooting (but that’s half the fun, right?). There is some cool architecture in Downtown Tampa so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites (Downtown on a Saturday in Tampa is pretty empty, so I’m glad at least we had some buildings to shoot). Nothing great but here’s a few I at least kinda like:

The Perfect Ending Spot
For our ending spot, we basically took over a Five Guys Burgers restaurant in Downtown, Tampa, and it was a perfect place to unwind after our walk. Lots of laughing, sharing photos (it looked like everybody had an iPad), and the burgers were….well….outstanding!!!!

Send Me Your Group Shots and Video Links
Tomorrow I’ll be posting lots of group shots and videos from all around the world, so if you haven’t already sent me your group shot (or video link), just post it here on the blog, and I’ll download the image and post it tomorrow.

Link to the Group flickr Pool
Want to see some of the amazing photos pouring in from all over the world? Check out the flickr group pool right here. (Also, if you were a part of walk, don’t forget to post some of your shots to your local flickr group page). :)

On Twitter search for the Hashtag #WWPW
A lot of folks were Tweeting and uploading images live during their walks, and it is so exciting and just plain fascinating to see all the comments and images posted during these live photo walks from every corner of the globe. To see all these comments, just go to Twitter, and up top in the search field type in #WWPW

  • My thanks to everyone who attended my walk in Downtown Tampa, and who participated in other walks around the world. I always have a lot of fun during these walks, and I hope you did, too!
  • A big, big thanks to all the volunteers who organized and led walks around the world (We couldn’t have done it without you). .
  • Also, a thanks to my book Publisher Peachpit Press, for their major support of this event, and to all the sponsors who pitched in to make this a very special day for photographers around the globe.

Tomorrow I’m sharing something different
I’m going to share a more personal side of my walk, along with stories and photos. Nothing heavy. Just fun. But I’m looking forward to sharing it with you, which is what these walks are all about. People and pictures, and fun. See you then.