Thursday, September 11, 2008

Front Page News, Shanghai SAS

Jesse Long is taking pictures, lots of pictures, at Shanghai American School. In fact, he just finished up at Pudong, and is now on the Puxi campus where he and his helper friend, Kevin Lapin, will remain until next Friday, the 19th. I asked Kevin what it was exactly that he did. “It’s like in the Wizard of Oz,” he said. “I’m the guy behind the curtain. I help Jesse try to get smiles out of the kids, and I look at how they’re coming out on the computer and try to pick the best shot. Sometimes I will open the photo in Photoshop to do some color corrections. I’m a master of keyboard shortcuts on the Mac. I could never do this job if I wasn’t.” Jesse is behind the camera. With 3,000 students and over 400 faculty, plus some staff pictures, and, considering that he takes 2-4 shots per subject, he figures by the time he leaves Shanghai American School on the 19th, he will have taken more than 10,000 shots—easily! Probably more.

From SAS, Jesse, who owns his business known as International Photos, will be headed for the International School of Beijing, and from there to the Middle East. He goes to these schools, including ours, at his own expense and has been doing this for six years. He says that he’s beginning to run into teachers in different locations. He may meet a former SAS teacher in Dubai, and he’s met some teachers at SAS he photographed at other schools in previous years. Jesse became an international school photographer almost accidentally. He had been in Africa taking photos, and returned to Seattle where, one evening, he was showing them to an old high school friend, Shane Oprescu. Her father, Warren Carlson, dropped by and saw his photos. He had been shooting school photos at international schools for over 30 years. He said, “I’m thinking of retiring. Want to take over my business?” Today, Shane works in a Seattle office handling the details and getting the photos to the lab and then back to the school. Jesse and Kevin will soon head north to ISB. “Yi, er, san!” They’ve got thousands of snaps before they’ll see home again.
By Timothy Merrill, Editor, ParentTalk