Published on Huffington Post by Helen Arase

A Huffington Post photo editor contacted me about the stripper strike photos I took for Los Angeleno, asking to license two of the photos. I showed him the rest of the take that Los Angeleno didn’t publish and Huff Post took three images. It went up this week with a story.

I feel like I’m having some momentum at the moment - or at least creative momentum - with photographing Pride and working for Los Angeleno on a food story TBA.

I don’t know if I’m at my (visual) best, but I’m having a good time exploring new places, new assignments and working with new editors. I think the only way to get better is to try new things and shoot a bunch of terrible photos and video.

Bring all the work; I’m ready.

Getting recognition by Helen Arase

I texted Stef and asked if I could pitch an article on her to an LA-centric outlet, totally unsure if she’d be willing to do it.

She was willing and told me she’s still getting recognized when she's out doing regular life things. I’m so, so happy for her.

I feel like maybe I should be a little happy for me, like people saw my documentary on TV, but I think I’m just happy that my subjects seemed to come across how I see them: super cool.

Carlos, the lowrider from Sacramento, also messaged me that he was getting phone calls from people down here saying they saw him on TV.

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I’m just so thankful that I had the opportunity to tell their stories, and extremely happy they are getting recognition from friends and from strangers.

After spending hours, days or weeks with a subject (recording and not recording), it’s hard to distill their story and essence into a few short minutes. You have so much information and know interesting things about them that make the person’s character rich and well-rounded; it’s easy to get lost in those details. Getting messages like this makes me feel like I am capable of telling stories well enough to get them in front of an audience, make them impactful enough that the viewer will remember the subject, and portray the subject with integrity.

I hope Stef, Danny and Carlos feel that I told their stories with integrity.

Horrifying learning experience by Helen Arase

So I guess my documentary ran on Spectrum this weekend. Stefanie messaged me on Instagram and said people were saying they saw her and Danny D on TV.

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This is like, one of my biggest accomplishments thus far and I should be happy - which I am - but I’m traumatized by what happened to the documentary right before it aired…

This is the most rookie mistake, and I want to crawl in a hole and die, but I think I should talk about it because it is a horrifying learning experience that I definitely do not want to repeat.

Apparently I had some kind of stroke and didn’t realize I was using copyrighted music for some of the segments. And to add to the already embarrassing blunder, I didn’t even catch it. The Impact editors (the team at USC who’s prepping our docs for TV) realized it was copyrighted and they had to scramble to change out the music. They contacted me to let me know and when I asked if I could help they were basically like, “no thanks, you’ve done enough.”

I was so shocked and embarrassed that I haven’t watched the TV version. I saw it’s on Impact’s Facebook and I’m not sure how to get a copy of Spectrum’s block of programming for last weekend weekend, but man, this was an intense hit and totally my fault.

It looks really bad, and it is really bad. I’m thankful that the editors did their jobs and it didn’t run with copyrighted music, but it sucks to make this kind of mistake.

Let’s move on and up.