Photographers' Blog

A day at the gun range

Los Angeles, California

By Jill Kitchener

If a guy wanted to take me to a gun club for a date, I don’t know how I’d react. Growing up near Toronto, Canada, guns have never played a role in my life – most certainly not my dating life. Shooting guns as a recreational activity has never caught on in my social circle.

Yet I found myself at the Los Angeles Gun Club with photographer Lucy Nicholson while on vacation.

After a nice lunch at a neighborhood cafe we thought we’d try our luck in getting permission to shoot at the gun club – with our cameras. To my surprise, the manager was more than happy to have us document the action. She kindly provided us with headphones to save our eardrums.

We met a family with a young girl learning to shoot (the minimum age to shoot at a gun range is 10, as long as they have parental supervision). We met couples on dates, and groups of male and female friends out for some fun. Some were there to shoot the guns they owned, and some were there to try new guns before buying their own. There were tourists looking to shoot, and a swell of frat boys from a local university. Whether young or old, male or female, it seemed everyone was eager to have their shot on the range.


Photographs by Lucy Nicholson

I wasn’t expecting the level of excitement to be at such a high.

Before entering the range, customers picked their guns. I had to laugh at the cartoons of seemingly angry men drawn on some of the targets up for grabs. But before taking aim at the paper perpetrators, everyone had to learn the safety procedures. “Never point a gun at another person.” It made no difference if it was loaded or unloaded – this rule was a non-negotiable. And I was glad to hear it.

Los Angeles: Home Sweet Home

By Hyungwon Kang

Los Angeles is home to my family.

I grew up in L.A., met and married my wife Daisy in L.A., and the first two of our children were born in L.A. My grandmother’s grave is at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, where the late pop star Michael Jackson is also interred. My mother still lives in her Koreatown home where she maintains an immaculate organic vegetable garden.

As far as I remember, there were always risks to living in L.A. In my 8th grade, three big boys ganged up on me, punching me in the chest and stole my Schwinn BMX bike. In the 1990’s, when I was on the staff of the Los Angeles Times, we all had extra chain-locks to secure our company-issued car trunks, to slow down any would-be robbers.

Losing property to thugs and robbers is one thing, but during the 1992 L.A. Riots, many victims lost something more important, their American Dreams.

A day with the LAPD

By Lucy Nicholson

I held on to my cameras in the passenger seat of an LAPD cruiser as Sergeant Rosendo Gomez sped around the corner to back up officers on a car chase.

Several police stood in the street behind their car doors with their guns pointed at a white minivan.

“Put your hands up where we can see them,” an officer commanded. “Get out of the car. Put your hands behind your head. On your knees. Lie down.”

Hollywood royals

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge wrapped up their eleven day tour with a stopover in the Los Angeles area. Even though I deal with celebrity coverage on a daily basis and plan major award show coverage for Reuters, when I saw the pool assignment from the British consulate for their trip, it was an uh-oh moment for me.

In Los Angeles, the big 6 photo agency/media companies (LA Times, Reuters, AP, Getty, AFP and EPA) regularly pool images from celebrity trials and other high profile news events where it is not possible for all to cover. We have developed a friendly system that works for all. Half expecting this event to be business as usual, the official pooling plan became a web of complexity we as a group hadn’t dealt with before.

I am an obsessive planner. If I can’t get all the details in order way before the event, I get edgy. In the weeks before the event, information was scarce, the credentialing process difficult, and the unknown loomed larger by the day. Questions like, how many feet from riser to stage? How will we deliver the pool? What are our responsibilities to the UK WPA pool? All went unanswered. In the end I had to learn to relax and not sweat the details and let things play out on their own, because that’s the way this event will operate. Acceptance of what I can’t control became my mantra.

School on Wheels

In a corner of Western Avenue Elementary School’s yard, a dozen children excitedly circle Charles Evans at the end of their day.

Regional coordinator Charles Evans (C) picks up children from school to take them to an after-school program at South Los Angeles Learning Center in Los Angeles, California March 16, 2011. The center is run by School on Wheels, which uses volunteers to tutor homeless children in shelters, parks, motels, and two centers. There has been a surge in the number of homeless children in Los Angeles in the last five years, due to persistent unemployment and mounting foreclosures. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

One child bounces a ball, another picks a handful of play slime out of a jar as the others chirp with enthusiasm.

While other children have gone home for the day, Evans rounds up this group who have no homes. He leads them down the street to South Los Angeles Learning Center, where he runs an after-school program for homeless children.

Street photography is like falling in love…

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I was walking in downtown Los Angeles when I saw the two brothers sitting there. They were drinking soda by a hot dog stand. The symmetry struck me – their identical outfits, the two-tone wall they leaned against and the two bottles.

It was after a couple of days photographing Japanese baseball superstar Hideki Matsui’s home opener with the Los Angeles Angels. There were so many Japanese photographers that I had to leave for the stadium six hours before the start of the game in order to reserve the best shooting position.

Matsui-stalking was fun, but no-one gets into photography because they enjoy fighting for shooting positions or carrying heavy camera equipment up flights of stairs.