Jim's Feed
May 30, 2012
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NATO from above

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By Jim Young

Remote cameras can produce great pictures, but they are not always easy to set up. To put a camera in a position that would be impossible for a person to shoot from can produce interesting images, but it takes creativity and a lot of technical planning.

In March I went for a walk-through with organizers and news media for the upcoming NATO Summit to be held in Chicago in May. For years now we have set up remotes on the ceiling looking down on the meeting table for political summits and we wanted to set one up for this summit as well. We took a look at what would be the summit room, which at the time was completely empty and as bland as any other empty convention center room. In the week before the summit it would be transformed into a polished meeting room for world leaders and we hoped that we would be allowed to mount a remote camera as well. The idea was to shoot an overall photo of all the leaders sitting at the table for their meeting surrounding the giant NATO seal on the floor. The only way this could be done was with a remote camera because with the height we would need to be at to achieve the image, the camera could only be mounted up in the ceiling among the overhead lights.

Mar 30, 2012
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Therapy ballet

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By Jim Young

I found out about the program, “Ballet Class for Kids with Movement Disabilities”, while flipping through a brochure as I waited for my daughter at her ballet class.

I contacted the instructor Dr. Citlali Lopez-Ortiz, who has a Ph.D in Kinesiology and a Masters in Dance, to see if I could photograph the weekly class. A week later she said the parents and instructors agreed and I could join them on Sunday.

Mar 9, 2012
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Welcome to Revillo, South Dakota

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By Jim Young

“How does a trip to Revillo, South Dakota sound?” asked my editor. “Sure, ok?! And where is that exactly?”

I have been to quite a few places in my life, but I don’t think that is one of them.

Mar 1, 2012

Midwest cleans up from tornadoes, more storms forecast

HARRISBURG, Illinois (Reuters) – Residents of storm-tossed midwestern towns searched for photographs and mementos from their ruined homes on Thursday as the death toll from a line of tornado-producing storms rose to 13, while more storms bore down on the region.

Adding to the toll, a 53-year-old man who was trapped in his collapsed home in Harveyville, Kansas, was removed from life support at a hospital and died, state officials said on Thursday.

Sep 6, 2011
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Handshakes and corndogs

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The Iowa State Fair and the U.S. Presidential election campaign are pure “Americana” to me. Though at times, both seem so over the top but in completely opposite directions. From the Hollywood-esque nature of the politicians rolling through the crowds (rock stars in suit) to the real down-home kindness and curiosity of the Midwest people, just wanting to be out enjoying the atmosphere.


(Click on the images to view in high resolution)

The Fair is one of the first unofficial steps in the run for the Presidency. The candidates go through their rights of passage from flipping pork chops, eating the latest deep fried concoction, and shaking hands with anyone within arm’s reach, while the sights and smells of the Fair conjures up memories of my own childhood.

Mar 16, 2011
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Hockey night in Washington

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Hockey and politics? A strange combination.

As a Canadian growing up in a small rural town, street hockey was a big part of my youth. So when the White House announced an event billed as a street hockey game on the South Lawn of the White House as part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, a lot of great memories came flooding back. Stoppages in play for oncoming cars and playing under street lights until all hours of the night were a way of life.

We do a lot of remotes at the White House and with a ceremony being held for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Black Hawks in the shadow of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, I was trying to come up with an interesting way to capture the event.

Dec 13, 2010
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Obama in an Indian instant

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Leading up to the midterm elections in November, I worked on a project photographing scenes around the Presidency using an instant film camera called a Fuji Instax, similar to a Polaroid.

(Click here to view the selection in Full Focus.)

That was right on the heels of a President Obama 11 day, 4 country trip to Asia including stops in Mumbai and New Delhi, India.

Dec 10, 2010
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Can you keep a secret?

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Want to hear a secret?

“U.S. President Barack Obama will make an unannounced visit to Afghanistan but you cannot tell anyone.” Those seemed like simple enough guidelines, but it certainly wouldn’t end up that way.

It started with a call from Washington Editor in Charge Jim Bourg during my shift at the White House on Wednesday afternoon. “I never know how to start these kind of conversations…” he said. “You know when we have these trips where we really can’t talk about it?” I had a feeling I knew where this was headed. He kind of paused a bit trying to find the words to say it, without really saying it. But I stopped him and said, “I know where you are going with this and you don’t have to go any further.” Obama would make a surprise visit to Afghanistan. I was careful not to answer his questions out loud, so that anyone standing by wouldn’t figure out the questions or the subject matter, but we were on the same page. He just said it was tomorrow night. The trip would be about 30 hours there and back, with 25 of those hours in the air. I would finish my shift as usual and go to see him in the office to get more details.

Nov 1, 2010
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Presidential polaroids in Full Focus

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White House photographer Jim Young has been using a Fuji Instax to produce images while on assignment covering President Obama. Over the past few months Jim has developed a collection of Polaroid-type images that illustrate what surrounds the presidency. View the series here.

Mar 31, 2010
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Destination: Afghanistan

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It all started out with a phone call from Reuters News Pictures Washington Editor In Charge Jim Bourg on Thursday night informing me there was a secret Presidential trip leaving on Saturday to an undisclosed destination which Reuters would like me to travel with the president on. I was told that this was very secretive and that I was not to mention it to anyone and that no details were available yet. I had been with President Obama on his secret trip to Baghdad last year, so it was pretty easy to figure out that the destination this time might be Afghanistan, a trip which had been highly anticipated since Obama became president 15 months ago. I was to expect to be contacted directly by the White House for a meeting to discuss the details. But I was to “open” the White House as the first Reuters photographer arriving there on Friday morning at 7am, my scheduled shift, and to go about my day as planned acting as if everything was normal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

That afternoon I was called in to meet with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in his office at 4pm, along with some of the other members of the 14 person media travel pool who would be going on the secret trip aboard Air Force One.