Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I have dealt with some paranoid subjects before but Tuesday’s assignment takes the cake. Paranoid is most likely an understatement. Think more militant camp, anti-journalist, angry xenophobes. That’s how I would describe my assignment at Nummi in Fremont.
We were working on a story about the pending closure of the Nummi auto plant in Fremont which has a large portion of its 4,500 strong workforce from Tracy. The plant’s closure will leave many unemployed and put more local families into a struggle.
So right off the bat I knew the great folks at Nummi wouldn’t be rolling out the welcome mat for us. I thought the greeting would be more like barbed wire and guard dogs. I was right. After the drive to Fremont we were greeted with the “you can’t be here” speech from the guard at the entrance which included the private road that surrounds the massive plant just off the freeway. The best option I was told was to park on the freeway and shoot across.
I had looked at pictures of the plant on the web and I now realize why they are all views of the building from a distance. They are extremely tight with their security and their privacy so I headed up on the freeway looking for the best view. I don’t really enjoy stopping on a freeway onramp to take pictures but I had enough of a shoulder to shoot from safely with out being smashed by an oncoming truck.
The best photos of the day were accidental as I got a little lost looking for the right freeway ramp to head home. I ended up going back into Fremont where the reporter and I saw a sign along the road about the Nummi plant closure. I was just going to get a photo of the sign when we realized it was in front of the United Auto Workers union hall across the street from the plant. A quick trip inside and we found a worker there from Tracy who agreed to be in a photo. That picture turned out to be the cover of the newspaper.
So a lot of driving around aimlessly around an auto plant which didn’t want us there turned out the best photos from nowhere near it. Just another day on the photo desk.