As COVID-19 has interrupted daily life, people from every profession have had to figure out ways to be productive — and photographers are no exception. Each week, we’ll share stories from our members about how they’re staying mentally and technically sharp during the pandemic.
Some places in America, like the Bay Area, have been in lockdown for more than a month. This equates to a lot of free time, the kind of time that people like Saroyan Humphrey would not have had under normal circumstances. When the freelancer learned of the impending quarantine, he decided to really spend time enhancing his fledging e-magazine “Trailblazer.”
When San Francisco was put under shelter in place orders on March 15/16, I decided that working on this would give me a solid routine to keep me occupied and keep me from getting frustrated, worried, and sad about all that’s going on in the world right now. It became my garden, of sorts. I became immersed in it. I was able to do more photo editing from the shoots, edit interviews, and develop the basic look and feel for the site.
The site features professionals from many disciplines, including racing, music, and fashion, but the ambiguous nature of the site’s name means Saroyan can keep widening the lens, so to speak.
It’s kind of a stew of different worlds right now — racecar drivers, musicians, artists — and I’d like to keep expanding the focus. In general, they are people that have broadened the role of their work and gone beyond what is expected to not only bring glory to themselves but also for a greater good.
I like the visual the word brings to mind: going somewhere where there’s no trail and creating a path. Also, it’s a word my dad used to call me when I was a kid. He’d say it when he was happy about something that I’d done. So, I guess it’s always kind of rattled around in my head.
Peruse the site and you’ll get a sense of Saroyan’s longtime interests, chief among them racing. The Bay Area resident has interviewed some legends within that field from various generations. Those interviews and stories, the photographer notes, have gotten quite a bit of traction on their own.
They’re all pretty cool in their own way. But to me, meeting retired champion race drivers is always pretty amazing. Since I was a kid, I’ve always admired the drivers from the early days of open wheel and stock car racing. They raced when there was very little thought for safety.
But amazingly, some of the guys that I talked with were able introduce and develop safety features to racing during their era in the regional scene. And that’s part of what makes these stories interesting. They’re not just stories about glory and hardships — they’re a look back at how things have changed. So far, with the Facebook communities, the racer stories have been getting a lot of positive response from the fans that follow racing and those specific drivers.
Of course, it’s going to be difficult for Saroyan to maintain upkeep of this ezine when things go back to normal. When I asked him what he hopes to accomplish moving forward regarding “Trailblazer,” he mentioned wanting to bring more writers on board to keep the mill churning.
I hope to keep contributing to it and integrating it into my work life. Also, I would love for it to gain contributions from others, as well. What I enjoy about it most is it gives a platform to people and stories that otherwise might be overlooked.
See more of Saroyan’s work at saroyanphotography.com.
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