Monday, October 8, 2007

Royal Court

....for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

Here is the 2008 Royal Court.
From left: Courtney Rubin, 17, Chloe Ghoogassian, 17, Gaelen Stanford-Moore, 17, Katie Merrill, 17, Zena Brown, 18, Dusty Gibbs, 17, and Kelsey MacDougall, 17.

Yes, this was my assignment today. I was given the duty to capture the action as the 7 members of the Royal Court were announced today at the Tournament House in Pasadena. There were 33 finalists, so 26 were going to be left out this time. This is one of those assignments that if you don't get there really early, you will have to fight to get a decent photo as the action goes down.

With a 9:30 start time, I arrived at about 8 am only to find that a lot of the media, mostly television, was already set up and ready to go. No worries, I said to myself, as I planted my camera and bag right in front of the first camera riser. Soon after, many others arrived and filled the media area. A little tip for you young ones. When you arrive at an event like this one, you just don't want to get the shots everyone else will get. Instead, work the area to see what else you can capture. The 33 girls were rehearsing their entrance and introduction, so I grabbed a few shots of that.
Then I introduced myself to the main PR person there and asked if I could do something a little different. I wanted to capture the girls as they waited for the announcement. All you can do is ask and you'll be surprised how many times the media people will want you to do what you ask for.

So, I was given an escort to walk through the House and we found the girls upstairs, in a room that is usually used by the Royal Court just before they come out for the actual Rose Parade. The girls were looking at photo albums or past queens and just hanging out with each other. Some were putting the final touches as well. After working the room for a few minutes, I returned to the presentation area and soon after, the 33 girls were introduced, and..... the 7 members of the Royal Court were announced.
Once again, I was able to work the area and got some posed shots of the 7 girls with the roses each received for being selected. Not to dampen the spirits, there were some anti-Chinese government protestors at the front of the house, on the sideway. They had signs with photos of tortured people, reportedly, from China and signs with "Free Tibet."

There was also a mock operating room with one "doctor" performing surgery, removing an "organ" and putting it in a cooler. The cooler was then given to someone who handed the doctor's assistant a wad of cash! Can you imagine this happening is this day and age? The people there said this really happens in China. They said people are kidnapped, operated on to harvest organs and then killed. Organs harvested, they said, include retinas, hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers and whatever else someone needs, as long as the cash is there.

The Royal Court Queen will be chosen soon out of the seven girls. The remaining six will be princesses and they will ride near the front during the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2008, and will also be present at the Rose Bowl. For a complete set of photos from the event, check out the paper's website:

Until next time, keep shooting.

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