Photo Editor’s note: Senior Photographer Marisa Vasquez had the not-easy assignment of photographing a holocaust survivor today, Irving Roth was giving a speech in the Pharmacy building. By being a touch more cognizant about light and what the, as she says, “dingy” room had to offer she managed to turn an opportunity for some good photos into a chance for something a little better. A well-known photographer once said that the best photos might be before or after the actual event, or something, I forget. Maybe no one ever said that. Even if they did they probably weren’t talking about the “after” photos as being those where the photographer sets up White Lightning strobes and poses the subjects for a very effective DOM image. But if they were, then she did that concept / quote some justice. Although I did enjoy the surreal photo of Roth against the galaxy projection, the set up portrait, that includes Roth's numerical markings, was much more appropriate for the front page, and much more appropriate in general.
"To ensure that I would be able to get a portrait, I arrived 30 minutes early with my lights to talk to Irving Roth or the event organizer and make sure he would have time before or after his speech. Once he agreed to a portrait after his speech, I left the dingy lecture room and scoped out the Pharmacy building for interesting backgrounds (with an outlet nearby). I ended up traveling to the floor above the lecture, where I found a cabinet full of bottles and pharmacy artifacts. I also had back-up locations in mind. I took photos during the lecture in case Irving Roth decided he didn’t have time to stay for a portrait. I started with typical lecture photos and as he continued to talk I noticed the projection screens behind him changing colors. I changed my exposure (to compensate for the brightness of the screens) and played around with using the screens as a background. During the Q-and-A an audience member asked Roth about his Holocaust number tattoo and his answer inspired me to include it in his portrait, something I had not thought of before. Once the lecture was over I went upstairs and set up my lights. I ended up staying 30 minutes after the speech to get these portraits but it was definitely worth it. I started with portraits of him in his suit and then asked him to show his tattoo. We tried different poses to showcase his tattoo. I moved the lights, several times, to make the photos more and less dramatic. I tried different angles, lighting positions, facial expressions and poses to give variety to the take." - Marisa Vasquez
I liked this one the best. - Lawrence Peart
Marisa Vasquez is a senior in the College of Communication studying photojournalism and Senior Photographer at The Daily Texan