9/11 Remembrance: Photographers & Editors Recall That Fateful Day

No doubt that this is a week of remembrances. Time and again in life we encounter markers that are placed in time that function as transitions. “Before the earthquake,” or “after Katrina” or, in this case, “after 9/11.” Sadly, most of us knew almost immediately that 9/11 would serve as a marker on the scale of Pearl Harbor, D-Day and Hiroshima.

Remembering and respecting solemn dates is woven into society’s fabric. It’s also good for teaching others, healing our souls and reminding ourselves of a terrible loss. With that in mind, and as you encounter various 9/11 remembrances, take a moment to stop by Aurora Photos for short blogs by photographers and editors who recall their feelings and actions on that day in history.

Aurora News Blog can be found here

Short Profile on my Border Work

A migrant bathes in the hills of San Diego, CA near the fields that he works.

Thanks to the University of Arizona and it’s team of student journalists who run the Border Beat blog. Special thanks to Tim Glass for taking the time to listen to me go on and on about the border.

Take a look: http://www.borderbeat.net/people/1661-todd-bigelow-an-eye-for-storytelling

The Early Risers

The grounds crew at Grayhawk Golf Course starts the day before sunrise.

Pretty golf courses aren’t born that way, nor do they stay that way without tremendous effort by The Early Risers.

They are the laborers who work silently and with purpose, racing against the sunrise to stay ahead of the day’s first group of golfers.

Golf courses across the country owe their manicured fairways, tightly mowed greens and beautiful bunkers to this legion of workers. The mostly Latino immigrants begin their shift at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona at 5am and immediately begin traversing the Raptor course in golf carts and John Deere vehicles. A symphony of artificial sounds like leaf blowers, mowers and rakes combine with the natural, early morning sounds of the desert to create a melody familiar to the legion of grounds crew workers but wholly unknown to the polo clad golfers who will begin arriving after the sun rises.

Despite the low pay, they talk of taking pride in their work and it shows as Grayhawk Golf Club is frequented by pros and amateurs alike.

“In Theory” vs Degree’s of Experience

Too much emphasis in education is placed on degrees meant to indicate levels of excellence. Institutions love degrees for what they imply, yet so many professors teach from a purely theoretical perspective gained from lots of textbooks, but they lack the most beneficial perspective gained only from practical experience. I’ve been asked to teach a PJ course at a community college yet despite my Bachelors degree in Journalism, a 25 yr successful career (still going, I might add), and nearly 10 yrs of part time teaching, the pay scale being offered is not enough to warrant the commitment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to teach the course, but simple economics dictate that it has to make financial sense.

The pay scale at the community college is elevated only if the instructor holds an advanced degree (there’s that word again) such as a Masters or Phd, neither of which I possess because I thought it best to actually apply my education by working in my field upon graduation as opposed to spending more time in the classroom chasing degrees.

I’ll admit that in many fields the advanced degree is necessary. For example, engineering and medicine are highly complex and theoretical, thus it’s beneficial to the student to gain all the education possible before dicing someone up in an ER or building a bridge. But I can assure you that advanced degrees in Photojournalism are completely unnecessary. The advanced knowledge in photojournalism comes from experience in the business.

Doesn’t it make sense to value real world experience at the same level as a certificate that certifies I “studied” my major for two extra years nearly 3 decades ago?

If I haven’t persuaded you yet, then ask yourself the following question. Who would you rather have teach you photojournalism, Sebastio Salgado and all of his experience without a Masters or John Doe with little, if any, experience but a Masters?