• Photo

Several weeks ago, Judy invited reporter Rick Smith and I to her apartment in Mount Vernon to share her story of gambling addiction, felony theft conviction and continuing recovery. Rick's story on problem gambling ran today, as we near the March 5 vote on a casino in Linn County. Rick and I have done several of these combined interview-slash-photo shoots together over the years, which in some cases can result in a more interesting photo than a portrait when a documentary situation isn't a good option. I was glad to have a few minutes with Judy before Rick arrived, talking about our shared Southern backgrounds (she still carries a Lousiana twang, and my OK/TX roots lead me to not-so-infrequently let a "y'all" slip out), so when the interview began we had already broken the ice and she could all but ignore me. I knew this was likely to be a single-photo package, which freed me to wait for the right expression rather than trying to force a multiple-picture package out of it. In my loose edit, I ended up with several very different expressions, but found the photo above to fit the tone of the story more than the photos below: top left, which captured Judy's spirit but didn't fit the seriousness of the story; top right, the more literal photo of Judy looking over the paperwork related to her case; bottom right, which had the somber mood but not the hope or thoughtfulness; or bottom left, a pretty typical interview photo that lacks any connection or emotion.


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