A Letter to my Little Assistant

Dear Little Assistant,

First off, I would just like to say that your eagerness to help out as my photography assistant was greatly appreciated. Even though I did have a few volunteers, your hand was up well before the others. You took charge and showed initiative. I like that.

Throughout the night you did exactly what I had asked. While I understand that the task of simply holding my camera bag is not an easy one, perhaps you can take these suggestions with a grain of salt as a means of improvement for next time.

#1. Thank you for always checking to make sure my lens was clean and ready to go. However, while I’m out shooting, especially during a major sporting event, perhaps you could let me determine whether or not the lens is dirty. After all, I am the one looking through the viewfinder.

#2. Acquiring portraits is an important part of the job. Your determination to be a part of every single one is admirable, but sometimes my objective is to capture portraits with only one subject. I know you are only trying to help bring my photos to life, but do not worry, I’m sure they will turn out just fine.

#3. As my assistant it’s always important to stay close by in case I need to quickly change lenses or swap out memory cards. Here is just a small, small tip for next time. I know cameras can be confusing sometimes, but perhaps try not to walk in front of the lens when you see that I am about to take a picture. If I ever need to grab something from my bag, you will be the first to know.

#4. Yes, when I got home I noticed there was leftover cilantro in my teeth from dinner (this is the honest truth). As my assistant, it would be great if next time you could tell me through other means rather than looking at me like this all night. Clearly, we were not on the same page and I did not understand this sign language of yours. I would also like to avoid nicknames such as, “the American who doesn’t brush her teeth.”

#5. I was very proud to see you getting into the spirit during the pickup futbol match! Even though the role as my assistant requires some focus every now and again, having fun is always a part of the job. Yes, it was a very competitive, lively, and intense game, but it would alleviate some stress if next time you would not wave my camera bag around as though you’re about to religiously sacrifice it in the invisible fire before you.

#6. Sometimes when I say, “girls only picture” that means that maybe we should let the girls have a picture by themselves. Most of the night was spent photographing the boys so I’m sure you understand when the girls want to have a picture with just their friends. I also noticed that in almost every picture you would look at them like this. Here is another small piece of advice to keep in mind: I know girls have cooties, but as a photographer we don’t want to scare our subjects away. Perhaps a nice smile might be a better option in the future.

#7. You did a great job of staying near me that night. Looking back at some of the pictures I noticed you had joined in a few group shots. No biggy—the more the merrier. However, seeing as you did not have my camera bag with you in some of the photos left me wondering…where the heck were you leaving all my equipment??

In the end, you were always there when I needed you. You took your responsibility seriously and fulfilled your role to the best of your abilities. Even though we had a little bit of a language barrier, I can’t imagine a better team than you and I.

As you are aware, I will be gone for a little while to compete in the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 and I will return with lots of souvenirs. We have a busy day ahead of us and lots of pictures to take. However, through it all I know I can always count on you to be right there by my side.

Take care and enjoy this time off from all your hard work.

I will see you soon,



#Kazakhstan #football #Photojournalism #Shymkent #MyLittleAssistant #Children

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