February 10, 2012
Colorful Moments in Hidden Places


I was assigned to photograph the preparation for the Little Saigon Street Festival last week which celebrates the Vietnamese culture along Stockton Boulevard and the Lunar New Year. Driving through that area the day before the parade there was little sign that a big event was about to take place. However, I knew that somewhere there was something beyond my view to photograph that would likely be quite special. Often this is the challenge that photojournalists are faced with - illustrating a story that doesn't initially reveal itself to you visually. My next move, after being sent to the wrong address was to call our contact for the story and explain exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a picture of someone working on a float for tomorrow's parade. After about 45 minutes of waiting, calling and following my contact through rush-hour traffic through the area I was finally led to exactly what I was looking for. Located in a nondescript strip mall on Stockton Blvd. was a party supply store, and tucked deep in the back room of that store was Trina Tran, a cheerful balloon artist sitting waist deep in a pool of reds, yellows, whites and blacks. She twisted and turned, yanked and pulled hundreds of balloons into the shapes of red and yellow dragons complete with white teeth and a large yellow dice to represent the casino they were hired to make the float for. It was a visual delight and Trina was the perfect smiling subject to represent the Little Saigon story that ran on the front page of The Bee the next day.


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