Feature Story

Outside of the Courthouse: the Dr. Murray Conrad trial

Janet Jackson
Tired of Injustice
Joseph Jackson
Latoya Jackson
Remembering Michael Jackson
The Illuminati Killed MJ
Supporting Dr. Conrad Murray
Murray is Innocent
The Reporter
Michael Flanagan,The Defense of Dr. Conrad Murray
His Face

It was last Friday morning, I was walking in Downtown LA. I see TV trucks and a bunch of cameras and other journalists. When I take a peek, I see a courthouse and several people outside showing their support to Michael Jackson and its family. I was now in a new unplanned photography project. I had my Canon 7D and a 50mm f/1.8 II lens, and decided to start shooting. As I shot the signs in support, I started to see the two sides of the story. On one side, the supporters of Michael Jackson. On the other side, some supporters of Dr. Conrad Murray. The best part of this project, was the peace felt among the people around. Each side respected their opinion.

While shooting the picture of the kid imitating Michael Jackson, I suddenly look back and you guys won't imagine what happened. I see Joseph Jackson leaving the courthouse, towards a luxury car with a driver that would take him somewhere else. My tip to anyone who is shooting a serious or historic event, or to any photojournalist that is starting, be in shape and ready to run. I ran so fast, got near the car and took a sort-of-clean paparazzi-like shot of Joseph Jackson. And I will admit, when making that shot, the distance between both of us was of half a foot. His facial expressions revealed he left the courthouse relaxed and somewhat happy. And shouldn't I forget, that these pictures were taken, the fifth day of this trial.

The advantage of the lens I was using is, the fact that its f-stop is a 1.8. Which means, that still under the shade of the trees and the cloudy weather that day, if the speed of the shots is calibrated correctly, the colors and the image is going to look good. One advantage of using a Canon 7D , is the high speed continuous shooting option, of 8 frames per second, which is really good because there are some moments that happen so fast and that also you don't want miss.

As mentioned before, some people wanted justice for Michael, some others want Dr. Murray is not to be judged. One of the signs of the supporters reads the following: "Tired of injustice, makes me wanna scream." This not only happens to Michael or to his supporters. But also to many people who want justice or others who justice are not on their side. One hour later, a lady with big black glasses, exit the court escorted by several officers. The famous pop singer, Janet Jackson walked towards the car. And so did Latoya, Rebbie, and Tito Jackson. When shooting celebrities moving, escorted, around other supporters, it can be a tough one. Arm yourself with patience and courtesy. Be considerate of the people you have near, and also think that others have cameras too. But very important, be concentrated in the shots you want. These will NOT be perfect, but they will require a lot of effort and maybe some color fixing. But don't rely on the color fixing, experiment with the speed and apertures of camera before doing some serious shooting.

After all the Jackson family left the courthouse, some of supporters of Michael, asked me if they could see the pictures. I showed them. Some of them told me I had a good camera and eye, and the shots were really cool. But I thought they could be better. Many of them thanked me for taking good shots and for supporting the cause of Michael. But I rather stay myself neutral in the matter.

Ten seconds later, I look to the left and see a bunch of journalists walking and running towards somebody. I ran and as they were moving decided to stay in the back of the crowd facing the interviewed man. As mentioned before of the consideration, while I was shooting, I was trying not to crash or interfere with a boom operator (or the microphone man). I got a clean shot of the interviewed man. While shooting, as I heard the questions done, one journalist mentioned something about a gag order given by the judge of this case. Later, I found out the name of this man, Michael Flanagan, is part of the defense of Dr. Conrad Murray. His face gives a look evilness and seriousness. But if continue, his face reveals disgust and repulsion against the journalists and the many other cameras surrounding him. But still, his face is priceless and also worth a million dollars. If we want to know what's in his mind, maybe we should just ask him.

When the clean shot was taken, I saw the man talking to one of the officers. I took another shot. His head is low and reveals anguish and he seems exhausted. Maybe he has a great deal of pressure on his shoulders. The truth, under no circumstances he was going to speak. The ped xing was open, the guards escorted him to a couple of streets far from the courthouse, away from the cameras and microphones. It was a long day. I arrived at ten in the morning, and the last shot was taken at four o' clock. I asked myself where was Conrad Murray. Another journalist told me he left the courthouse, through another exit due to security reasons, in a vehicle with black tint. One or some of the shots I wanted and needed from Murray, were not possible to achieve.

I learned several things from this project. First, have your camera with you and be aware from your surroundings. Second, be considerate of others. Third, be patient, things and the shot desired don't always arrive or happen when you want. Fourth, always listen to both sides of the story. And last but not least, be willing and dare to be adventurous with your camera, but especially enjoy using your camera. When using a camera, you are the one that has the ability to capture reality and let the photography to create the space of memory in time. Have this last tip always in mind.

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—The JPG team

2 responses

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (6 Oct 2011):

    Well done, a huge vote!

  • tania medina

    tania medina gave props (22 Oct 2011):

    I like this. Great photos, give us a different perspective of a case that receive the media and the entire world attention.

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