News Columns & Blogs

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Last week, education reporter Sara Schilling talked to some Chief Joseph Middle School eighth-graders for a story about their last day of school and what they’ve learned during the past three years. Of the last day activities we could photograph, kids throwing pies at faculty faces for fundraising fortune was the clear choice.

I showed up at Chief Jo just as they were getting under way and worked my way through the crowd of antsy kids, settling on a spot up front, undoubtedly blocking a few. First up was eighth-grader Kay-Cee Jones, 14, thoroughly covering vice principal John Mancinelli's head with banana cream:

I wasn’t thrilled with the composition, especially the bare spot in the grass, and the wide-angle distortion and harsh lighting on Kay-Cee’s face is pretty weak, but Mancinelli does have a lot of pie on his face, so I knew I had my C.Y.A. shot.

I wove my way around the crowd and worked on a better angle that would minimize distortion of the pie-thrower and fill the frame with more faces. When I made this photo of Harlee Mitchell hugging Stacey Carlson, a Language Arts and History teacher, I heard Mitchell make a comment about how Carlson was her favorite teacher:

"Please be an 8th grader," was my internal mantra as I walked over to get their names. Of course, Mitchell, 12, was a 7th grader.

I worked the scene a bit more and noticed that the kids were eating chunks off pie of the ground and, more disgustingly, off the teachers. My favorite version of this was Kevin Collins eating off of P.E. teacher Blake Lindberg:

He looked a little young, but I held out hope. Alas, he was 13, a 7th grader, and I had to settle for my first shot and all its shortcomings.

While I did get what I need, there was little satisfaction from this assignment. I’d be a lot happier right now if I could have successfully worked in something about you getting off of my cloud (hey!), but I do feel a little better having found a home for these outtakes.


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