Rewind: Glen Achievers

(From left) The Glen Theater board chairman Vernon Smith talks with African-American Achievers Youth Corps members Joshua Perry, 16, of Merrillville, Ind., along with Gary, Ind., residents Christopher Woods Jr., 16, Ramon Luckett, 17, and Stephen Jenkins, 17, prior to a production held at the theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007. The youth corps members work shows at the newly re-opened theater, completing tasks such as ushering, cleaning, and technical jobs behind the scenes.

In keeping with a New Year’s resolution to myself, I’ve decided to prevent the dust from accumulating on my often-sedentary blog. A new feature that will help me attain this goal is something I’m going to call Rewind, where I’ll feature a shoot from my archives that I may have never shared before.

This first rewind comes from Saturday, November 10, 2007. I was assigned to shoot the African Achievers Youth Corps, a group that worked the then nearly-reopened Glen Theater in Gary, Indiana. It could have been one of those shoots where I stayed for a half hour or so and banged out a few keepers and bailed, but I quickly realized the group of teens was quite literally running the entire show. From taking tickets at the door to running the concession stand to lighting and sound, the amount of opportunities for storytelling images was quite abundant. I decided to stay for the entire evening and produce images of everything the youth corps was responsible for at a given show.

Looking back on this take made me realize how far digital cameras have come in just the past couple of years. I shot this on Canon 1D Mark II cameras, and when compared with images from the 1D Mark IV cameras I used today, I was surprised at how muddy and noisy the higher ISO images were – noise levels that were perfectly acceptable to me at the time.

I was also happy that, now as with then, I was willing to take risks with some of my more “artsy” images, such as the concession worker reflected in the glass, or the ticket being handed off as seen reflected in a velvet rope station. A few colleagues at the time voiced a lot of disapproval at this frame, but I always try and mix in my extreme personal vision when shooting stories along with what would be typically be considered “safer” images. Because, after all, you have to shoot for yourself while on assignment as well!


Glen Theater worker A.J. Taylor, 17, of Gary, Ind., figures out how to put on his bow tie prior to working a show at the theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007. Taylor, a high school sophomore, is a member of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps. Taylor and other youth corps members work shows at the newly re-opened theater, completing tasks such as ushering, cleaning, and technical jobs behind the scenes.

Usher A.J. Taylor (left), 17, of Gary, Ind., takes a ticket from a patron in the lobby of The Glen Theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007. Taylor, a high school sophomore, is a member of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps.


Usher Stephen Jenkins (second from left), 17, of Gary, Ind., hands out programs to audience members prior to a show at The Glen Theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007. Jenkins, a junior at Wirt High School, is a member of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps.

Usher Ramon Luckett, 17, of Gary, Ind., keeps watch over The Glen Theater house during a show held Saturday, November 10, 2007. Luckett, a senior at Lew Wallace High School, is a member of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps. The group works shows at the newly re-opened theater, completing tasks such as ushering, cleaning, and technical jobs behind the scenes.

Usher A.J. Taylor (right), 17, of Gary, Ind., jokes around with fellow usher Stephen Jenkins, also 17 and from Gary, during intermission of a show held at The Glen Theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Concession stand worker Christopher Woods Jr., 16, of Gary, Ind., readies the counter for patrons at The Glen Theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Glen Theater worker Lee Moore (left), 17, of Gary, Ind., takes care of patrons at the concession stand during intermission of a show held at the theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007. Lee is a member of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps, who work shows at the newly re-opened theater, completing tasks such as ushering, cleaning, and technical jobs behind the scenes.

Stephen Jenkins, 17, of Gary, Ind., operates a follow spot during a show at The Glen Theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Ushers Torian Washington (left), 17, of Gary, Ind., and Ramon Luckett, also 17 and from Gary, make sure patrons are situated in the house of The Glen Theater in Gary prior to a show held Saturday, November 10, 2007.

(From left) Glen Theater workers Joshua Perry, 16, of Merrillville, Ind., Christopher Woods Jr., 16, of Gary, Ind., and Ramon Luckett, 17, also of Gary, share a laugh after Ramon accidently knocked candy boxes off a shelf while cleaning up the concession stand at the theater in Gary, Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Glen Theater board of directors vice president Dwight Pointer (right) critiques the performance of theater crew members following a show held at the theater in Gary, Ind., Saturday, November 10, 2007. The theater crew members are all members of The African-American Achievers Youth Corps. The group works shows at the newly re-opened theater, completing tasks such as ushering, cleaning, and technical jobs behind the scenes.

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Rewind by Guy Rhodes on January 12th, 2013.

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