Derby drivers compete in Smash Fest


Devin Hook, left, drives one of his teammates to have their derby car inspected before Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. This was Team Hook’s first derby and they won in the chain-mail division. There were three divisions in the fest: chain, weld and compact.


Justin Harp, center, and his teammates attempt to get their derby car able to pass official inspection at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The team’s car did not pass inspection and they did not compete in the derby.


A fan waves a race flag at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Derby drivers represented multiple towns in mid-Missouri, such as Moberly, Fulton and Centralia.


Frank Johns slams his derby car into a competitor at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Derby racing has been in the Johns family for three generations. Johns won his derby division.


A child puts his hands over his ears at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Spectators are monster truck rallies and derbies are exposed to noise levels from 95 to 100 decibels, according to the US Department of Health and Human services. Exposure to sounds that are 85 decibels or louder can increase risk of noise-induced hearing loss.


Smash Fest is a monster truck and derby race held in Moberly, Missouri. Derby cars slam into each other and the last car moving, wins. It is not about the appearance of the cars, but about their internal parts, like engines and transmissions.


This has been a topic that I have wanted to cover for years. I, honestly, had very different expectations about what I thought I was going to experience during the rally itself. However, the sources were very nice and willing to explain the sport and what goes into the event itself. I am usually very detail oriented when shooting, and I feel like this shoot doesn’t reflect that. The light also got really bad, really quickly but I think that I made the last two images work.


Group Project ideas


I would love to do a multimedia project on religious ceremonies/meetings from the start of the day till the end. For instance, I want to do a video where we start at the mosque at sunrise then end in the evening with the Catholic evening mass. I want to sprinkle in shots of several religions in the middle, like afternoon lunch prayer at the Baptist church, mid-morning prayers at temple, people who are Hindu doing home prayers and rituals, etc. I want the shots to vary from setting to setting with the theme that religion is a unified and personal ritual. Kind of like a play on Life in a Day, but solely about religion.

I then would love to then do a portrait series of prominent religious figures in town as a secondary element. A key element here is that I want to feature a lot of religions in both the video and portrait series.

Jo Hackman

Jo Hackman has been growing pumpkins in Hartsburg, Missouri since 1979. Her son and daughter help, as well as local high school boys, but she still maintains a lot of her patch. I want to do a multimedia piece of her growing the pumpkins and maintaining the farm. This is timely because the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival is on Oct. 14-15 and it is a festival that brings two thousand people a day to a town of 105. Hackman is a big deal for that festival and provides a lot of the pumpkins, apples and straw.

The video can be of her being a local farmer and how she is getting older and going to decide the future of her farm. This is very reflective of agriculture in Missouri.

The secondary component can be a photo story of her involvement with the festival, which is incredibly timely because we can have it ready for publication the day after it happens.

TRYPS Hospital visit

TRYPS is an after school theatre and dance group that often has their students dress in Disney costumes for local parties and things like that. The group also visits the children’s hospital in costume to cheer up the young patients.

For the video, I want to have a studio set up with a black backdrop and black table cloth, have the subject sit down and apply their makeup to transform to a Disney prince/princess/character. I want the video to vaguely look like Cosmopolitan’s drag transformation videos , but not on a time lapse. And I want the subject to slowly transform into their character: Start speaking like them, sitting like them, etc. The video is mainly about the act of a performance and transformation. I would also like to have at least three camera set up to get details of putting on makeup, wigs, eyelashes, etc.

For the photo component, I would like to do a photo story about the characters actually going to the hospital and interacting with kids.

I have emailed the director to find out when they are going to visit the hospital next.


Anne Lamott

I really appreciated when Anne would say how the students focused so much on how to get an agent rather than better preparing their writing. I think this can also be seen with photography. I think a lot of people don’t focus on bettering their skills. It felt like Lamott was trying to reiterate the idea of doing writing because you love writing and not getting lost in the other crap.

I also see this within my own work when I shoot for a publication and get into a rhythm that is to just fulfill the publication and not fulfill my creativity.

I also like how Lamott writes about the process and how it won’t look good at the beginning and how striving for perfectionism hurts the originally brainstorming process.