I have the distinct pleasure of sharing the following interview with you, today, dear blog readers. Jenny Cisney is a blogger for the Kodak, 1000 Words, blog. If you have not visited it yet, I suggest a hop over there today. Kodak has been hosting this blog for some time, and they get it. It feels good to know a big brand like Kodak, from my hometown, gets the blogging process and power. And, it feels even better to contact Jenny Cisney, ask for an interview (thank you Brian Niznsky), and have her say yes! She did this the day AFTER she arrived home! How super is that?
Yvonne: Tell us your first thought as you stepped off of the plane in Beijing.
Jenny: The moment I stepped off the plane I was struck by how big everything was. Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport is considered the largest in the world. Beijing is a sprawling city that seems to go on forever. And it is chock full of people. It wasn't unusual to see hundreds of bikes parked together on a corner. Everything executed for the Olympics was done on a large scale.
The Birds Nest held 91,000 spectators. There were 70,000 Olympic volunteers. There were 2008 Fou drummers at the beginning of the Opening Ceremony. How do you communicate massiveness like this in a photograph? That was a challenge. A wide angle lens helps!
Yvonne: What was Kodak's goal in sponsoring the Olympic games?
Jenny: There are so many opportunities for delivering a message at the games. First, we were showing visitors how to make, manage and move pictures. The Kodak Showcase at the Olympic Green had Kodak Picture Kiosks where people could download their pictures and make prints and photobooks. It was packed every time I went in there .
Our Graphic Communications Group played a big role at the games, too. We printed 1.2 million security or credential badges for the Games. We also had an image center in the Media Press Center to support the 1,220 photographers at the Games. It was a 20,000+ square foot facility with traditional and digital photographic products and services.
Our digital printing technologies were employed in an on-site production center to print postcards and a daily newsletter for the USA House and all their decorative graphics. Every photographer at the games will also get their personal selections printed in a photobook to take home. Our blogs purpose was to give a view of the Games different than medal counts. Our blog showed the fans supporting the games and the local culture through pictures and personal stories. Plugged-in Kodak focused on what Kodak was doing at the games and also had amazing sports photography from a pro photographer with press access.
Yvonne: What surprised you about China and the games?
Jenny: The overwhelming eagerness and friendliness of the people. It didn't fade by the end of the games. Even as we traveled away from the Olympic venues, everyone was smiling and helpful to the very end. You could tell they were proud of what they had accomplished and loved hosting the world in their city.
One of the most interesting things was people's reaction when I wanted to take their pictures. [see example here] Typically if you walked up to someone in the States and asked to take their pictures you get a mixed reaction.
In Beijing everyone was eager to pose for a photo. They didn't mind that they had no idea who you were. They also loved taking pictures of us. It was refreshing to encounter so much enthusiasm. We also had several blue sky days. Perfect for taking pictures. I understood that there were issues with smog there, but the measures they put in place worked and we had some beautiful weather.
Yvonne: Which games did you actually get to see? How exciting was that?
Jenny: I was fortunate to see many events. Gymnastics, swimming, diving, basketball, track and field. Badminton was a big surprise. It had one of the rowdiest crowds. At each hit the crowd chanted a word I didn't understand. I later learned it was "KILL IT". The fans went wild when China won. It is hard not to get caught up in that. You find yourself cheering for every country, every winner. You cannot help but celebrate every victory. Badminton is suddenly the greatest sport ever.
Yvonne: Did you feel 'out of place' as an American, in China? How were you greeted by your Chinese contemporaries? Did you get to meet anyone "important"? How was that, if so?
Jenny: I am half Korean so I had a look that blended more than some of my colleagues. If I was by myself, the Chinese did not initially speak English to me. There were many Chinese that spoke excellent English by the way. My Chinese was limited, but never a hinderance. We always worked it through.
I think the most important people at the games were the athletes, the fans and the volunteers. I saw several athletes at the USA house and there were a lot on my flight home, wearing their medals proudly. It was fun to meet them up close. I chatted with a lot of fans and volunteers to get their take on the games. Where else do you get to meet someone from Argentina one moment and someone from South Africa the next? All the volunteers were great... it takes an incredible amount of work to host the Olympic Games!
Yvonne: From a Kodak perspective, what's your take away from this trip? How did Kodak do, as a sponsor of these events? Tell us about your Kodak moment...especially about the stunning pictures you've shared on the 1000 words blog. Your "Faces of Beijing" is one of the most emotional posts I've ever seen. A picture truly is worth a 1000 words, isn't it?
Jenny: Everyone at the games was walking around with a camera in their hand. What an opportunity! The Kodak Showcase was a great way to show those picture takers how to do more with their photos.
My favorite Kodak moment was at the opening and closing ceremonies, when I turned away from the spectacular show in front of me and looked back at the faces behind me. Thousands of people all in the same moment. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I tried my best to capture all with pictures and video so I could relive it later and show my friends and family. (Tom Hoehn wrote the Faces of Beijing post, not me... It is a great post)
I got a lot of attention for the three cameras I carried with me. A Kodak V705 wide angle lens camera, a tiny Kodak M1063 and a Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video camera. All pink. I really enjoyed shooting video with the Zi6, it is so easy to use... I shot video walking the Great Wall, riding in a rickshaw, watching Chinese mask changing dancers. I can't wait to watch the videos on my TV.
Now that I am home I have a ton of pictures to print and I plan on making a bunch of photobooks on the Kodak Gallery. I am also going to set up a Kodak Digital Picture frame at my desk at work with all my pictures, so everyone can see them. I took over 1000 pictures in China!