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the online empire of Stephanie Lim

Tag: work (page 1 of 4)

let’s get surgical

In the operating room.

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floating fruit

Fruit vendors in Ha Long Bay, where we stopped to kayak.

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painterly

We came across this temple on Cat Ba Island where a man was doing touch-up work on all the characters. In fluorescent pink.

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I love his beret.

production line

Of course, the first thing we did in Ho Chi Minh City was visit a vegetable oil factory. We fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams of wearing a yellow hardhat during a factory tour with the Laverne & Shirley theme song playing in my head. Next.

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little by little

In Da Nang we stayed right on Thanh Binh beach. It’s a pretty trashed-up beach, with a lot of litter washing up that constantly needs to be burned. Apparently it is pretty good for fishing, and this group of fishermen used large nets to do the job.

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They would walk the nets in by tying onto it and walking the weight backwards very slowly. After they had pulled the net in about eight feet (which would take several minutes), the last person would untie and then tie into the new front position. The guy in the motorcycle helmet here is waiting to buy some fish. This particular haul was poor, and the helmeted man walked away empty-handed.

Shooting Giants

Shooting Giants
for Norman Einstein’s Unified Field Theory | April 20, 2011
(text only)

After the excitement of opening week, a photographer in her fourth season with the San Francisco Giants talked with the Einsteins about the madness and superstition that comes with the job while we roamed her empty office—AT&T Park.

Norman Einstein
It’s crazy being here while it’s completely empty. I was here Tuesday night [against the Dodgers] and it was sold out.

Suzanna Mitchell
Isn’t it? I’m so used to it now; I’m here more now when it’s empty than not.

NE
What’s it like on game days?

SM
The place is on lockdown. It can be really hard to get around. If I’m shooting from the dugout, sometimes the players will be rushing past me into the clubhouse. It freaks me out because I have all these superstitions about having interactions with the players, and then something bad happening in the game.

NE
You sound as superstitious as the players.

SM
Totally. Also, my worst fear is getting in someone’s way and, you know, injuring him. I can just imagine the headline: Idiot photographer sidelines star pitcher for the season.

NE
Do you get to shoot a lot of games?

SM
Not very often. The bulk of my job is editing, which is partially because I’m editing not just for myself, and it’s the most time-consuming job. You shoot, and then you have to make sense of it later. The more senior photographers shoot most of the games, and I shoot all the other things, things for our community fund: beauty shots of the ballpark, Fan Fest. We change the ballpark often enough that we need to re-shoot it a lot.

NE
What’s your favorite piece of work you’ve done?

SM
There’s a shot of mine out on King Street that means a lot to me. I shot it right after the Giants clinched the National League West, which was really dramatic. It was the last day of the regular season, and after the Giants won, they celebrated right on the field, in kind of the typical dogpile-style. Then they ran around the field and they high-fived fans, and it was just really cool and I got this cool shot of Javier Lopez, who is a player I like a lot—a really handsome, nice, charismatic guy. It’s a cool shot because you can see the swarm of fans and the players—there’s a storytelling element to it. Another shot [of mine] that we’re using a lot is actually from the [World Series homecoming victory] parade. I think in the front and center of the photo is Aubrey Huff and the trophy, with a bunch of guys reaching for it.

NE
Weren’t you an A’s fan when you started here?

SM
Yes! It was interesting in a lot of ways because I knew a lot about baseball, but I got to learn a lot about the differences between American League and National League baseball. And I think it was kind of good to not be a nutso Giants fan because I had no difficulties maintaining professionalism.

NE
So how was the last season for you?

SM
Well, it was funny. In the middle of the summer, I remember my family wanting to make some plans for sometime in September and I was being all non-committal about it because I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know… Giants could win the World Series…and that would be bad; I couldn’t be traveling with you.’ And I was getting laughed at, like I was joking. And in a way, I was…not that I didn’t think it was possible, but you can’t…you know, predict the future. [laughs] The Giants had a bit of a losing streak at the end of June. I remember the Red Sox and then the Dodgers, there was a six-game series where I believe the Giants only won one against the Red Sox and then got swept by the Dodgers, which were both really high-profile losses. I was working a lot; there were a lot of things going on off the field, lots of events, and I remember working a lot during that home stand and then feeling really deflated. I felt less hopeful at that point. But then midway, in July, something shifted…it’s just a really good story.

NE
So how does this season feel different?

SM
Professionally, there’s a lot more versatility with the increased exposure. For example, in 2008, we shot a lot of games from the club-level buckets, because we had so many visible empty seats if we shot from the field. But we don’t really have that problem anymore. The prime shots will show a lot of those top-deck seats, which are great to have filled. Now we can do that. Another aspect is shooting the fans. It’s more likely to get great shots with all of this great energy that the fans have. We have all these crazy personas that the fans embrace…my favorite is when I see a fan wearing a beard, a [Lincecum] wig, and a panda hat, like, ‘I love them all! I can’t commit!’

NE
Yeah, that’s all very visual.

SM
There are pros and cons with some of the players. Like, Brian Wilson’s beard is a strange element of my professional life. If he shaved the beard, it would be a bit of a crisis, because, you know, we’re showing him with a beard. On opening day, he raised the pennant. We were out by that Coors deck. I had to sacrifice everything else to get the shot of him raising the pennant so I put a lot of energy to making sure I got it right. I was stressed about it because it’s not like he was going to tell me in advance that he was going to face a certain way; I had to guess. But fortunately he has this big, bushy, beard so I don’t have to show a lot of his face for him to be recognizable. I mean, I put a lot of effort when editing to make sure that the guys are really recognizable and look good. I mean, they’re playing baseball; they’re not modeling out there. [Laughs] But it makes my job a lot easier that a lot of them have these really distinguishing characteristics.

NE
What was the highlight of the season for you?

SM
Well—strangely enough—and I’m totally overlooking the regular season, which was sort of just the routine—but clinching the division was the highlight for me, because we were at home when that happened. Every other clinch was on the road, so that was kind of disassociative from the fans. Being here, at the ballpark, with the fans, the team at home, and all my co-workers—that was the best. Also, that was the beginning of October, and I was well-rested. After that, I was so discombobulated. We were working strange hours, celebrating a lot…by the time the parade hit, it felt like I hadn’t slept in a month. Even though it was a really magical experience in hindsight, at the time I just really wanted to sleep. [laughs]

NE
Were you surprised the Giants paid for you to go to the World Series [as a spectator] in Texas?

SM
I was surprised that we were able to bring guests! I thought it was very reasonable that the front office went—I think it’s somewhat of a tradition. I thought it was very generous of the Giants to allow us to all bring a guest. Really, it’s more for people who have families. [Laughs] For me, it was like, ‘Really? My friend gets to come?’ It felt too good to be true.

NE
So who is “the front office?” You told me that the whole front office is getting championship rings as well.

SM
Let’s see…it’s essentially the people who are here year-round, day in and day out. There are a lot of people who work for the Giants…like the ushers, and the fan photographers, our day-of-game staff, our event staff. Obviously, they are part of the Giants and part of the experience but they are not working on days like today, on days we don’t have games. This includes the ticketing department, the baseball department, the lawyers and accountants. I fall under creative services in the communications department. Altogether the front office is about a hundred people. [Laughs] I know this because I do all the head shots of the front office.

NE
That’s a lot of rings. Will it have your name on it?

SM
Oh yeah…it’ll say ‘MITCHELL’ on it.

NE
In diamonds?

SM
No, more like a die cut.

NE
Your future husband is going to have a complex when it comes time to propose.

SM
Ha, well, it definitely makes me wonder if I’m going to want to change my name. You know, I’m going to meet some guy who’s going to want to change his name to Mitchell and wear the ring.

every six weeks

The scene at Kim’s Precision Haircuts in North Beach on a sunny weekend is highly entertaining. There are three chairs, mostly occupied by men, and a whole clutch of people waiting for a cheap, fast, reliable cut.

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Juan is not excited about me taking photos of him, but he just looks so sweet that I could not help it. Happy Friday! Get a haircut!

growing smoke

We visited a tobacco farmer outside of Viñales in Cuba.

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mani pedi

With a dearth of lights and electricity in many buildings in old Havana, a lot of work is done right in the doorway to make use of the natural daylight.

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behind the aluminum curtain

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