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Friday, April 28, 2006


Natural light (not the beer)

Brie Marhenke

In her first year on the team, San Jose State University junior Brie Marhenke has set new school records for both the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle.

After lugging a whole mess of lighting equipment to the pool at 8 in the morning to shoot this portrait, I was pretty dismayed when the sync cord failed and rendered the lights useless. Fortunately for me, the sun has not yet burned out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Otter punishment

Corey Cabral

Spartan Corey Cabral pitched two innings against Cal State Monterey Bay Tuesday at Blethen Field, retiring five batters in a row. The Spartans went on to defeat the Otters 6-0.

Chris Balatico

Spartan outfielder Chris Balatico slides to third base after hitting a triple in the seventh inning against Cal State Monterey Bay Tuesday at Blethen Field. Balatico went on to score during the Spartans’ 6-0 win over the Otters.


Yet another sport

Jenelle Gomez

Spartan golfer Jenelle Gomez watches her drive at Coyote Creek Golf Club’s Valley Course during the Western Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championship on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Follow-up: W

George W. Bush

To anyone feeling disappointed that I didn’t take this opportunity to mock the president, I apologize. If something unique had happened, and I could have made fun of him in a way that was truly funny, maybe I would have done so. But the jokes suggested by these photos are getting pretty tired after five years of W. (OK, I wrote some goofy captions, but nothing insulting, and they’re all factual.)

Besides that, there’s the issue of professionalism. I was a guest at a private event on private property and was acting as a supposedly objective representative of my university’s newspaper. My access depended on my photo editor, the managing editor, the White House media people and whichever security outfit does the background checks. These are all people I’d like to keep on my good side. Any sort of stupidity on my part just wouldn’t be classy.

This isn’t a political blog, but I’ve criticized both Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush here before, and it seems likely that I’ll do so again. After all, they both talk funny, they each appear to represent a primate species closely related to our own and they’re dramatically unpopular (approval ratings below 40 percent!). But Friday’s post just wasn’t the time or the place.

Love him or hate him, Bush is one of the most iconic people alive. I got to photograph him for an hour, and I think that’s pretty cool. Like a peeing-Calvin sticker on a Mercedes, any attempt at humor would have cheapened the whole thing.

Friday, April 21, 2006


The teaser photo

Because I wouldn’t believe me if I were you.

press pass

Photos will be posted by Sunday.


Superultramegapost: Photographing POTUS

When the photo editor called me and asked if I could cover the president, I assumed he was talking about the president of the university.

He wasn’t.

George W. Bush

He didn’t mention that there would be another big star there. I’m speaking, of course, of Cisco Systems president and CEO John Chambers.

George W. Bush and John Chambers

John Chambers of Cisco Systems, right, agrees with President Bush’s assertion that the growth of the Internet has helped Cisco “a little bit.”

One last surprise for me: The Governator.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger laughs as President George W. Bush cracks jokes about the two politicians’ college educations.

The president was in town to promote the American Competitiveness Initiative, a package of legislation aimed at keeping the US a major player in high tech. I’m a little fuzzy on the details, mainly because I was busy trying to not screw up a major opportunity. Fortunately, I’m a photographer, not a reporter.


Participants in Friday’s panel discussion included, from left, SJSU student Arash Shokouh, Foothill College president Dr. Bernadine Chuck Fong, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, President George W. Bush and Cisco Systems president and CEO John Chambers.

The managing editor of the Spartan Daily, another photographer and I allowed an absurd amount of time to get to the event, and that turned out to be a really good thing. Road closures and mixed signals among the traffic control people meant lots of back and forth and circling around, first in the car and then on foot.

Once we picked up our credentials, dropped off our camera gear for inspection, passed through the metal detector and picked up our gear inside, I staked out a spot on the risers set up at the back of the room for journalists while my colleague opted to shoot from the audience. Space on the risers was limited, so I was obliged to stay in my spot if I wanted to keep it.

So I waited.

For the next two hours or so, I sat, stood, stretched, and chatted a little with the other photographers. To my left was Robert Durell of the Los Angeles Times. To my right, Christina Koci Hernandez of the San Francisco Chronicle, whose work I’ve long admired. Behind me were the AP’s Paul Sakuma and Shmuel Thaler of the the Santa Cruz Sentinel — in other words, photographers I’m familiar with, not because I go to school with them but because they work.

Before I knew it, and actually ahead of schedule, things began to happen. Lights came on. A medley of patriotic tunes played softly. Well-dressed Secret Service men staked out their corners. Four unfamous people took their seats at the table before the giant backdrop. A crush of photographers traveling with the president flowed into the space between the table and the audience, and then came three introductions: John Chambers. The Governor of California. And the President of the United States.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger greets President George W. Bush on Friday at a panel discussion in San Jose.

The event lasted a little more than an hour, during which time I took an awful lot of pictures. I’ll say this for our president: He’s pretty animated and entertaining to watch up close. I was amazed to realize how familiar his body language has become.

George W. Bush George W. Bush George W. Bush George W. Bush

I’ll also say this for the president: He was eerily likable. It was a little weird, but there was nothing to dislike about the man. He seemed genuine and was relatively funny. He didn’t mispronounce words or say anything dumb. Another photographer told me that Arnold would steal the show with his star power, but I didn’t find that to be the case, as the president had charisma to spare.

George W. Bush

President George W. Bush speaks with members of the audience after a Friday appearance at the San Jose headquarters of Cisco Systems.

All in all, it was an interesting and exciting day. I’m glad, and still somewhat incredulous, that I had the opportunity to photograph such an internationally famous, significant and symbolic person.

And I now know that the president writes with a fat Sharpie marker with his signature on the barrel. You just can’t buy experience like that.

George W. Bush
Thursday, April 20, 2006



The sculpture pictured in the April 8 photo of Anthony Teixeira is complete and was on display this week in Anthony’s impressive BFA show.

Anthony Teixeira sculpture

Lamisha Augustine, whose portrait ran in this space back in March, is headed to the Sacramento Monarchs after graduation as SJSU’s first-ever WNBA draft pick.

Lamisha Augustine

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Porte-rait time

Veronica Porte

Freshman Veronica Porte is one of three all-around gymnasts on the Spartan team this season. At the 2006 Western Athletic Conference Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Logan, Utah, on March 25, Porte was SJSU’s top all-around performer and earned second team all-conference honors.

Portraiture is something I want to do a lot more of, and not just because I need the practice. I’m beginning to understand what’s possible when certain journalistic restrictions are lifted and the photographer is allowed to control the lighting and so forth. The fact that this photo is set up allows us to see a sweet, genuine smile, something we’d never get in action shots like this one from two weeks ago. Hard to believe it’s the same person, no?

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Major author, minor photo

James D. Houston

Novelist and nonfiction writer James D. Houston, the 2006 Lurie Distinguished Chair in Creative Writing at San Jose State University, reads from his work in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Joint Library Thursday evening. Houston’s appearance was part of the Major Authors Series presented by the Center for Literary Arts at SJSU.

Saturday, April 8, 2006


There’s a foundry?

Anthony Teixeira

Art major Anthony Teixeira applies patina to a sculpture in progress at the SJSU foundry on Saturday. The finished piece will be on display in Teixeira’s BFA show, “Conflict,” beginning April 17 at the Herbert Sanders Gallery in the Industrial Studies building.

Friday, April 7, 2006


Not called on account of rain

Geraldine Hazlett

SJSU utility player Geraldine Hazlett attempts a block against University of the Pacific’s Annika Aspen during Friday’s match at the Aquatic Center. The Spartans beat the Tigers 17-5.

The only thing I’ll remember about this assignment is the rain, which fell hard enough to cancel any game not played in a pool.


A sport without a pool

Geraldine Hazlett

Spartan Kelly Harrison winds up to pitch Friday in the second game of a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech at SJSU Field.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006


My chalkiest assignment yet

Tracie Kavalec

Senior gymnast Tracie Kavalec, center, practices on the uneven bars as junior gymnast Raylyn Cardeno, left, watches on Wednesday in Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. The Spartan gymnastics team will compete at the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday at Stanford University.

Veronica Porte

Freshman all-around gymnast Veronica Porte practices a routine on the uneven bars Wednesday in Yoshihiro Uchida Hall.

The second photo was the better of the two, but at the last minute I noticed some false attachment between Veronica and the pair of legs behind her. In a black-and-white printout, it looked almost like there was a centaur on the gymnastics team, so the top photo ran instead.

Monday, April 3, 2006


Mayoral candidacy: Two funny-sounding words?

John Candeias

John Candeias, a graduate student at SJSU and a candidate for mayor of San Jose, meets with members of San Jose Fire Fighters Local 230 Monday at their downtown office. Union officials interviewed Candeias as part of the process to select a candidate to endorse.

If you’re not familiar with the Crotch — I mean San Jose — you should know that this isn’t one of those little farm towns where a high-school senior gets elected mayor based on his stance on the village-square gazebo. San Jose has more residents than Detroit, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Seattle, Denver or Boston. The city has an annual budget of more than three billion dollars, and employs more than 7,000 people.

I’m just sayin’…. Best of luck to the man.