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March 29 2011


Courtside at March Madness: Man behind the mascot

I've had a blast covering some of March Madness and spending a few days with Mike Nuzzo, the man behind the mask of Roc, the Pittsburgh Panther's team mascot. The photo below got some nice play on the cover of the Sports section when the Erik Brady's masterfully written story ran on March 22. Sorry for the delay!

Catheryn makes some adjustments to Roc's costume during game two of the NCAA playoffs at the Verizon Center March 19, 2011. Butler beat Pittsburgh in the last moments of the game after a series of controversial calls by the referees. Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY

I had so much fun telling this story and getting to know Mike, his mother who is the cheer coach, and some of the cheer team. Really a great group of people so dedicated to cheer, their team, and their school. Mike is a great guy, huge Pitt sports fan, dedicated, and a smart dude too. He's in the nursing program at Pitt. This guy is going places.

Did I mention that I was court-side for both games? As in kneeling on the floor. Ouch! That wood is hard on the knees for what it's worth. I need to do take a cue from my colleague at Jack Gruber at USA TODAY and bring a padded chair and earplugs. I'd be happy to share more about the how's of this story if anyone is interested. Check out my video story "Man behind the mascot" which I edited on last Monday.

The most maddening thing about this NCAA tourney has been the continuous Butler upsets and, well, of course my attempt to park anywhere near the Verizon center during the first round. I had to tip a guy $15 just to get in a garage three blocks away! But back to Butler. Who would have thought they would be in the final four?

Matt Howard, (54) after he scores the winning basket against Old Dominion with one-tenth of a second left on the clock in round one of the NCAA playoffs at the Verizon Center March 17, 2011. Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY

Old Dominion in round one against Butler. Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY

The team bands make the games so much more fun! A Uconn band member waiting for their team to play in round 2 of the NCAA playoffs. Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY

Any predictions for a national champion? Will Butler go all the way?

March 05 2011


A spur from Texas to go back to the blog

I just went to one of my favorite photography conferences of the year and was challenged by the Photoshop guru of the world* Scott Kelby to blog. So, I'm back to share some of my favorite photos, stories, and tips with you all!

The new cowboy on the block. Meet Rory. He came to be a cowboy and drive longhorn steer at the Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas. © Garrett Hubbard 2011

Have you ever been to a conference where cowboys cracked their whips and the longhorn steer mozy'd on down the street? I would love to hear your conference highlights/horror stories.

*Photoshop guru of the world is my title because well, he's been the #1 technology teacher for the past six years. I also had the opportunity to guest blog for Scott last July.

November 13 2010


Life happens without photos sometimes

Please forgive my 10-week holiday from sharing stories with you all. I've lived a lot of life since my last post including:
-Telling two wedding stories
-One engagement session
-A commercial video storytelling project for the CEO of a local company
-A story about stink bugs
-Interviewed the CEO of Rosetta Stone
-Interviewed NFL Superbowl champ & Pro Football Hall of fame inductee
-Interviewed people in Clarendon about the baby boomer generation
-and others that I'm surely forgetting.

Today, I'm preparing to tell the story of two lives coming together to be one. I'm really excited about this wedding story which will be held at Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University, and continuing on to The Newseum in D.C.

All really great stories and great people to share them with. However, I must confess that I've buried the headline here. In early October I proposed to my love. She said yes! :))))))))

July 23 2010


Photojournalism: More than a photograph

-From my feautured guest blog on Scott Kelby.com, Photoshop Guru-
Photojournalism. More than a photograph.

Life has taught me that photography is more than a photograph. In the past few years my career has taught me that photojournalism is also more than a photograph. Photojournalism is relationship, a catalyst for change, and it is ever changing yet still the same. Great visual storytelling can hit us in the heart and leave an indelible mark. It is my hope; it is my prayer--that you come away from my story about cameras, taking risks in South Africa, and prison with more than a photograph. I am thankful for Brad and Scott who provided me this opportunity to share my heart in words, pictures, and sound.

BOLD Photojournalism: It’s about relationship.

I wasn’t born with a camera in my hands. I think I grew up creatively challenged with no apparent inclinations for drawing, painting, or anything musical. While at University at the age of 20 I submitted to what seemed prudent and declared my major to be Economics with an emphasis in accounting. It seemed as though I was destined for a creative wasteland. That same year my Father (whom I admire greatly) gave me my first camera. It was his Nikon N8008 SLR, the very camera that captured the memories of the later years of my childhood and family life. It was the same camera captured the beauty of my mother, the pistol-like personality of my sister, and the annual Easter family portrait before church. I tried to use this camera to capture the pain behind the food eating contests with my seven roommates, the wondrous beaches in Santa Barbara, and the majesty of the mountains on rides with our Mountain Bike team. As I engaged with my friends and watched any part of my life unfold I tried to capture it. I Just put it on “P” mode because “P” is for Professional :)


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Victory is declared at The White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C. April 5, 2010. Photo by Garrett Hubbard © USA TODAY 2010 (This is the closest thing I have to an Easter portrait of my own! )

My life and work now with USA TODAY (www.usatoday.com) and with my wedding storytelling business (http://www.garretthubbard.com)is far from my college dorm, regrettably far from the beach, and definitely includes less saddle time on my bike. But in some ways, little has changed. Even after my degree in Visual Journalism at Brooks Institute of Photography, hundreds of thousands of actuations on my cameras, and developing my own personal vision, many of the principals are the same. I am still photographing real people who are allowing me to tell some part of their story because they trust me. I have learned that the extent to which I can make a good photograph and the extent to which I can tell a good story is predicated on the extent to which I am trusted. This trust and this relationship is why people invite me into their lives for times of celebration, heartache, and healing. This trust I gain with the stories I tell for USA TODAY is so similar to the trust my clients have in me to tell their wedding story. I truly love getting to know my clients before hand so that on the day of the wedding my clients families and friends don’t know me as “the photographer” but know me simply as Garrett. My clients’ trust in me is why my they invite me into the center of their lives for one of their most important days to tell the first chapter of their story. AND they ask me to celebrate it with everyone else in the world who is important to them. Love my job!

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Amy getting her makeup on before marrying Mark in Alexandria, VA. © Garrett Hubbard 2008

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Jake and Elyse make their exit after their wedding celebration at the Capitol Hill Club. Fun fact: Elyse’s father ran for President in 2000 and gave his toast between portraits of Reagan and Roosevelt that evening. © Garrett Hubbard 2008

BOLD Photojournalism: A catalyst for change.

My life was forever changed in the summer of 2002. I had just graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with my Economics and Accounting degree with grand plans of continuing on for a fifth year on a fast track towards my CPA license. That summer after graduating I should have been at an accounting internship furthering my career plans. Instead, I spent my summer serving people in the townships outside of Cape Town, South Africa. I will tell you that this did not come completely out of left field. You see I had been reading much about the life of Jesus and what kind of company he shared. I learned that he hung out with corrupt tax collectors, unfaithful spouses, social outcasts, and the poor. These were all the people that the religious people (who were charged with being God’s ambassadors) would call “sinners” and with whom they would not be caught dead. Not only did he keep company with the lowest of people, he had a profound impact on their lives. I found this to be radically beautiful. I soon realized these scriptures were transforming my heart. As I found small ways to do this with people in need in my community I found great joy in loving people like Jesus did. I believed I needed to step outside of my western comfort zone to love and serve the poor, broken hearted, and suffering cross-culturally. I did just that in the summer of 2002 and my life was never the same. It was in South Africa that I learned new definitions of suffering, faith, perseverance, and joy. I lived through stories there that I will never forget. Some moments of these stories were captured on that same Nikon N8008 my father had given me.

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After a night of flash floods, boys walk the streets in the township of Pola Park near Cape Town, South Africa. This humble photograph was the catalyst for me to become a storyteller. © Garrett Hubbard 2002

The photo that started it all for me.
My words fall short in sharing with you how much the life and death I encountered changed my world. After nine-weeks of community development work with my friends from church I returned with a story to share. What I had experienced was not necessarily new to many people around me, but the way I shared it was. After all, they had heard about HIV/AIDS ravaging much of Sub-Saharan Africa because many of them chose to watch news outlets that shared stories outside of the U.S. When I showed them my amateur photographs, they wanted to find a way to love and serve my South African friends—friends that they would almost certainly never meet. This was my first encounter with the radical power of visual storytelling and it was not to be my last.

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A mother prays in her native Xhosa tongue for her dying daughter, Ntombikayse who has AIDS. She died the next day leaving her daughter an orphan. One year after my first journey to South Africa, I came back to tell stories. © Garrett Hubbard 2004

It turns out that I was not as creatively challenged as I had once thought and I had some sort of talent that I needed to explore with photography. However, talent was not enough to cause me to leave my pursuit of my CPA and my Bachelor of Arts behind, but purpose was. It was my belief that visual storytelling could be a catalyst for change, a means to communicate why we should care for the poor, the outcast, the widow and the orphan. I don’t care about these things out of the goodness of my own heart, but because God has showed me his mercy and put these desires in me. Could there be a better tool to communicate God’s heart for people than photojournalism in the most visually literate society that this world has ever known? I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to make my expensive education at Brooks Institute of Photography come together but I knew why I wanted it. A new risk was upon me and I took it.

BOLD Photojournalism: Ever changing tools yet still the same

I went to prison in April. Thankfully, the warden let me out every night and let me back in the following mornings. I was there to tell a beautiful story of repentance, reconciliation, and fatherhood. I came armed with a Sony XDCAM EX1 HD video camera and two Canon 5d Mark II’s. I went in knowing full well that most of my efforts would be geared toward my documentary video story “Fathers for life.” I wanted to tell a story about men in Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest maximum security prison which also used to be America’s bloodiest prison.

I’ve heard it said that the news business is great because it’s new every day. As if my job wasn’t dynamic enough the rapidly evolving technology has practically made storytelling different from day to day. If I were telling this fatherhood story just 10 years ago, I guarantee I would be going with still cameras to tell a “photo story” which is a carefully edited sequence of images (usually 6-12) with robust captions that would pair with a writer’s story to go in the paper. Today it is much different. I come to every story with my DSLR’s and my HD video camera. I don’t always use both, but I always have them. This is largely due to the way we consume our news online via computer, smart phone, iPad, etc. Many photojournalists have embraced this brave new world and have learned multimedia and video storytelling and see them as additional tools in the toolbox to tell the story. I am one such photojournalist/video journalist/visual journalist. Most of those who have refused to adapt and learn have been let go in the massive buyouts and layoffs in the newspaper industry. In spite of all this change in Photojournalism, its purpose remains the same. Photojournalism is still about relationship and being a catalyst for change through education.

For this story, like most, I did a lot of reporting, research, and pre-interviews before I even set foot in prison. Once inside, I worked alone, like I often do which gives me the freedom I need to tell the story as it unfolds before me. This freedom also leaves me with the responsibility of being the still photographer, producer, reporter, videographer, and editor. So here is the story about some incarcerated fathers who want to reconcile with their children to break the generational cycle of incarceration.

VIDEO EMBED CODE for 640x480 player. I can get you code a larger player if you think your readers can handler a higher bitrate file.

Here is a link to the story + Photo Gallery

In a few years, we all might be telling stories with 3D cameras, who knows? After that, the next generation of technology will present itself. I will learn it and I will learn the technology after that because I am a visual storyteller who wants to reach you.

Grace and peace,



February 24 2010


Olympics 2010: They Fray live at Whistler

So tonight I walked out of the Whistler Media House and The Fray was playing next to the medal courtyard.
The Fray's Isaac Slade brings the crowd to sing "Don't let me go" with him at Whistler Village after the medal ceremony Tuesday evening. Photo by Garrett Hubbard © 2010

February 06 2010


Bring the calm: Winter blizzard 2010

A few sights and thoughts from the comfort of my home in the middle of the largest snowstorm/blizzard or "snowmageddon" as we are calling it after all the news media hype.

My neighbor walks above what used to be our parking spots. It looks like we have gotten 22-inches as of 11 a.m. Saturday February 6, 2010. That bit of red is my neighbors kayak peeking out from on top of his car. © Garrett Hubbard

The snow comes and continues to wrap my world in a quietness that I love. Maybe it's the slowdown of life that I long for which is in short supply in D.C. and often in my life as well. You see our city is consumed by the busyness because we have this seemingly unquenchable thirst for achievement and success. Sometimes, I can't seem to help myself and find that I become a little like my surroundings. For example, I will be at home for four days in the month of February and the rest of the days I will be on the road on assignments. That makes living life and loving my friends and community a bit more difficult. Over the past two-and-a-half years in D.C. I've taken great steps to cut down on the projects I take on to make sure that I live my life without regrets. I've chosen to work less, earn less, and give more. This has brought a contentment, peace, and joy to my life and I'm looking forward to living 2010 in the same way. Thankfully my schedule in February is the exception more than the rule.

Before you mourn my loss of the month of February, please realize that the tears I wipe away may seem like crocodile tears to you since it is the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver that takes me away. I'll be sharing more Olympic related photos soon.

The view from my back deck. Correction, this is the view from inside my warm house looking over my back deck as of 11 a.m. Saturday February 6, 2010. © Garrett Hubbard

January 22 2010


Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate

The café adjacent to the ice rink in the National Sculpture gardens in D.C. sells a fine cup of hot cocoa. by Garrett © 2009

Ice skating along the National Mall under the watchful eye of the National Archives almost makes winter worth it in my book. The weather went above 50 degrees and that was my cue to give another shot at this whole ice-skating thing. We only had to wait about 45 minutes for space to open up and a new session to begin. Very fun and very painless--given it was my second time ice skating in my life. I highly recommend it.

So what are the chances that the random stranger you request take a photo is a professional photographer? Well, on Monday you're odds were pretty good at the ice rink in the National Sculpture gardens in D.C. National Archives in the background. by Garrett © 2009

January 13 2010


White House interview

I made my first visit to the White House on Wednesday January 6, 2010 and I didn't even get a fist bump from Obama. On the flip-side I did get to meet National Security Adviser General James Jones in his West Wing office. I was there to capture a very important & exclusive interview with notconducted by Susan Page, our Washington D.C. Bureau Chief & all around brilliant reporter for USA TODAY. I wasn't afforded the opportunity for any creative visual storytelling but that's how it goes sometimes. Turns out it was a really good move to have me there as Jones talked about how the American people might be "shocked" by the reports the White House would release the next day regarding the attempted Christmas Day flight bombing attempt. Producers from The Today Show called our office late that evening telling us they wanted to run my footage.

Bummer: I had to cancel my date with my lovely lady to get the footage to the networks.

Bonus: Over eight-million people saw excerpts from my interview on TV that day. 19 million people heard reference to our USA TODAY cover story. Here is a clip of one such airing of my footage. Begins 20 seconds in.
"No more canceled dates with my lady" I declared in a briefing of my own at the White House press briefing room January 6, 2010. The press was speechless for the first time ever. Photo by the excellent H. Darr Beiser/USA TODAY © 2010

"Read my lips. Garrett is not to miss his date with his girlfriend. This is a matter of national security and the President is deeply concerned about this matter" General James Jones said during his interview with USA TODAY at the White House Wednesday January 6, 2010.
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010

I was so eager to conclude the interview that I walked away from my video camera while it was rolling to make this photo.
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010

West side of the White House on the way towards the press briefing room (on right)
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010

NOTE: This is a lighthearted look at a very serious issue.

January 02 2010


To be married: Jeff & Katherine

On Christmas Eve, 2009. It happened. Jeff proposed. Katherine said yes. Garrett got really excited for them! End of story. OK, not really. Well, not at all. Their story has great beginnings. Let me back up a little and share why I'm so excited to celebrate their engagement.
The awesome couple shortly after Jeff proposed and Katherine
said yes on Christmas Eve, 2009. Photo courtesy of the betrothed.

Jeff is my closest friend in D.C. He was also one of my first friends in D.C. In May of 2007 I moved to D.C. and into the house in which he lived. We quickly became friends with a multitude of shared interests--not the least of which might be our like sense of humor. We shared a lot of good times including playing ultimate frisbee with friends, discussing a scripture from The Bible, watching bollywood films over butter chicken at the local kabob spot, runing on our three-mile loop around Shirlington, wondering if his well used rice-cooker would ever quit, praying at our small group Bible study, concerts at the 9:30 club, and semi-regular trips to the Dairy Queen at Bailey's Crossroads.
Jeff and I prepare our first ever turkey for other friends
who didn't have family in the area on Thanksgiving Day 2007.

In June 2008 I moved out to my town-home in Reston and I lost Jeff as a roommate. Thankfully a few months later he moved out to Reston and our antics and baboon-type behavior continued (see the fox video on my facebook page).

Come fall of 2008 Jeff signed up to go serve with some friends from our church on a medical missions trip to Kenya. Now you must know that I wouldn't trust Jeff with neosporin and a bandaid, but I do trust him wholeheartedly to love and serve the poor, the orphaned, and the widow in the name of Jesus. We both share this desire which is one of the other reasons why we are such good friends. So, guess who else went to serve on that trip in December 2008? You guessed it, Katherine--the Katherine.

I have really have enjoyed watching their friendship grow since he asked her out early in 2009. Many nights when Katherine was over I heard lots of laughter eminating from the room they were in--not to mention lots of amazing leftovers from the meals Kat would make for Jeff. As they continued to put the other before themselves I saw their love grow. In July my friend Heidi and I even made a little wager over when he would propose.

Sometime in late fall Jeff started talking about a ring. In early December Jeff went to Katherine's dad for his blessing. He said yes.

Here is a video of Jeff attempting to figure
out this whole ring box deal shortly before
proposing to his wife-to-be.

So December 24, 2009 Jeff proposed at Katherine's house. According to Jeff's master plan, his family & Katherine's dad mysteriously appeared on the scene and celebrated with them. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall in that room! I'm so excited for you Jeff and Katherine. The toast I gave you as we rang in the new year still stands and bears repeating that you may be encouraged by what God has and is doing in your lives.

The Lord bless and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine upon your and be gracious to you.

The Lord turn his face toward you and grant you peace.

I'm so excited with you Jeff and Katherine! All I got to say now is Heidi, pony-up! I'm looking forward to that delicious Bubble Tea!

If you have Jeff & Kat stories you want to add, please feel free to share them by adding a comment below.

December 26 2009


Merry Christmas from Washington D.C.

The National Christmas Tree in front of The White House (in background) in Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve, 2009. Photo Garrett Hubard © 2009

November 14 2009


Kiss me

The sun sprinkled itself upon all of us that day, but I think she wanted it the most. This is one of my favorite photos I've taken this year. I'll be silent as to let your heart articulate your feelings for your mind.

"Kiss me"
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
© Garrett Hubbard

November 06 2009


Chicago's 2020 Olympic bid begins with street photography

The International Olympic Committee recently gave the 2016 Olympic bid to Rio de Janeiro. Even an in-person appeal by the Obama's couldn't sway the IOC to give the nod to Chicago. Well Chicago, here I am in your loving arms once again. I think this is the fourth or fifth time for 2009 but I cannot remember, I'm losing track. I do know, however, that I was here one year ago to the day for election night. In light of all the time I've spent in Chicago recently, I thought I'd start my own fight for the 2020 summer games. Here's my ever so humble and ever so sardonic beginnings of my ad campaign (all photos taken Nov 5, 2009).

Photographers note: I don't know if any of the below captions are funny and/or worth reading. It's late and my what wits I have went to sleep hours ago.

In Chicago, everyone sees the best in themselves. Particularly so when we put them in front of the "skinny" squeeze mirror.

Yep, no caption for this one. I just really wanted to put it up. I like the quality & direction of light with the graphic elements. I'll ask the ad team to make it work : )

In Chicago, we have created a proving ground for every soccer-mom in their SUV with our rough terrain. Also ideal for cycling criteriums. Guaranteed to get some crashes worthy of YouTube.

In Chicago, our urban development is green-centric. Condominium's and weeds happily co-exist.

In Chicago, we build very tall emerald green brick walls. Why? Because we can.

In Chicago, our buildings are already golden, err amber, yes, that's it. One caveat, only at night.
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