Get on the Bus
Sometimes what you hope will happen doesn’t happen, but you still need a picture. One of the things that I’ve really embraced as I gain more experience is to start problem solving immediately when I have an idea or get an assignment. No matter how well things are planned or organized, something will always go wrong, or something unexpected will always pop up. My goal is to make pictures that I am proud of, honestly represent a story, and meet or exceed the expectations of people I am working for. There are a lot of things that can get in the way, so I start by doing what I can to be in the best possible situation to make unique images.
In this case, I really wanted to be on the bus, not just photographing from the outside as the students got off. Being inside with them would have given the picture a different and more immediate perspective. I made sure to call ahead, get to school early, and talk with everyone I could so that the staff knew that I was there and what I was going to do. That way, when I jumped on the buses I wouldn’t be stopped by people who were concerned with security issues. We’d already addressed that and I had their support, so, unfortunately, even though I was limited to the arrival of buses at the last minute [and couldn’t ride on the bus], I was not restricted in other ways. I took lots of “safe” photographs to make sure I was covered, so that when I tried something that was riskier, I could go for it and not be in danger of blowing the assignment. If it worked out, great! If I tried something difficult and it didn’t come together, no one would ever miss it. —James Gregg