THE WORST PICTURE
by Dick Kraus
Newsday Staff Photographer
Yesterday I probably made the worst photograph of my life. Yes, I said LIFE. That would have to include all the garbage that I made using my parent's box Brownie. Jeez. At least back then I had an excuse. I didn't know what the Hell I was doing. But, now? For cryin' out loud, I've got over forty years of professional newsdom under my belt. I've been to a few photo schools and have taken photo courses whenever I could. Trust me folks. I am not proud of myself.
So, how did this happen? It began with my morning phone check to my Photo Editor. She told me that I would be working out East (the east end of Long Island) Almost to Montauk Point, which is the last bit of land on the Island's South Fork. Next stop is The Azores. That's about an 80 mile ride each way, but I enjoy it because it is lovely out there. Lots of farms and beaches. The down side is that you get to sit in bumper to bumper traffic at this time of year as you go through the bottleneck in the upscale resort areas of the Hamptons. The road narrows to one lane in each direction and even in the middle of the week, the eastbound traffic is heavy with workers heading east to build new condos and repair the old ones. On Friday afternoon, fa'gedaboudit. Still, it is a change of pace from what I usually have to do.
My first assignment was to photograph an area of high sand dunes that is being purchased by the Town of East Hampton. It's right on the Atlantic Ocean and the dunes are lovely. I didn't even mind having to hike in about a mile and a half to get the shots that I needed. When I was done, I emptied the sand out of my shoes and headed back west a few miles to the lovely Village of Amagansett. If that name sounds at all familiar it may be that you read about it being the model for Peter Benchley's fictional village in "Jaws." I forget what he called it, but we Lung Ayslanders call ours "Amagansett."
Some people in the village and the Town of East Hampton have arranged to be a sister city with La Playa in Cuba. The local softball team has gone to Cuba, several times, to play their softball team. One of the people here owns a fancy restaurant in East Hampton and they held a benefit, recently, to raise money for La Playa. I was assigned to get a photo of these folks outside of another restaurant in Amagansett. I don't quite follow the relevance but that was only the beginning. I was told that someone would bring some photos of the softball team playing in Cuba. Well, no one could find the photos. Great! They had no flags, banners or maps. In other words, there were no props or visuals to use in the photo. Only six people who would have nothing to do except look at the camera. Maybe I could have played around with the formation of the six people. Maybe I could have stood on my head. It gets to the point where you decide that it just ain't gonna happen and all you want to do is get the picture and get the heck out of there. And, that's exactly what I did.
I am not proud of myself.
And the friggin' caption is larger than the photo.
Hampton and La Playa, Cuba have a sister cities arrangement. Long Islanders
involved in this are shown here. In front, l to r: Diana Weir, East Hampton
Town Council, Luly (cq) Duke, President of Fundacion Amistad and Thomas
LaGrassa, Board member of Fundacion Amistad and a Maidstone softball player.
Rear row, l to r: Andrea McCafferty, member of the Sister Cities Committee,
Peter Homerkamp, member of the Sister Cities Committe and a Maidstoner Softball
player, and Frazer Dougherty, Board Member of LTV Public Access. Wednesday,
May 30 2001.
© Newsday Photo by Dick Kraus
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