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Picturing community: an interview with Los Angeles Times’ photographer Francine Orr

By Digital Storytelling December 29, 2009

Photographer Francine Orr had experience reporting on poverty and humanitarian crises around the globe. But while working on “Gimme Shelter,” an audio slide show about L.A.-area homeless people living under a bridge, she found plenty to cover—and plenty to fear—right in her own back yard. [caption id="attachment_1488" align="alignleft" width="176" caption="L.A. Times/Francine Orr"][/caption] Orr spoke about the dangers of reporting on mentally ill addicts: "There’s such a history of random violence along the river. Everything is okay there until it’s not, and sometimes you don’t have warning before it changes. I always had to be aware of who was standing behind me, because I didn’t want someone to smash the back of my head while I was doing my work." And on how she views journalists' responsibilities to subjects, Orr had this to offer: "I’m a journalist; I’m not a social worker. If I do my job well, I present the story in a truthful manner, in an accurate manner, in a somewhat compassionate manner. I leave it to the viewer, to the reader, to respond. If they feel there is a need or an injustice that requires some action, that’s their role. My role is to present the story." Read the full interview. Read more