Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 31, 2012

Life of a video photographer in New York City

Greensburg — You’ve probably noticed that these columns are about people that live in, or did live in, Decatur County or an adjoining county.

The next couple of columns are an exception because I think you’ll enjoy reading about a fellow Hoosier who is a camera freelancer for a favorite morning show — Good Morning America.

Linda Horton was born in Greenfield, in Hancock County, and grew up in a family that appreciated creativity and individuality. I met Linda through her mother Martha who’s among friends that rug hook together each week.

Linda and I can chat by telephone for 90 minutes with much of that time spent talking about our animals, my dog and her cats. I’ve asked her questions such as what’s it like to live in New York City? Who inspired you besides your immediate family? How did you prepare to work at CNN, on Good Morning America, at the United Nations, on soap operas, on The People’s Court, with Anderson Cooper and the new Disney cruise ship Fantasy? What guests on GMA have you most enjoyed?

Her life started as calm as life in an Indiana small town could be. She graduated from Greenfield Central High and said, “Girl Scouting played a huge role in my life throughout childhood and into high school with progressive leaders who inspired us with community projects to make the world a better place.” She entered Ball State, spent a fall semester in the Ball State London Program and graduated from the university with a bachelor of social work degree in community organizing.

She had been inspired by her Massachusetts raised grandmother’s stories of Boston and her love for that city so after graduation she went east via a cross country bicycle trip with a few others, riding from Indiana to Seabrook, NH, site of an anti nuclear rally at the proposed Seabrook nuclear power plant. Then on to Boston, still riding her bike, where she got a job and a place to live.

While working as a social caseworker in South Boston Senior Home Care, her goals began to change. “I met homebound seniors who inspired me with stories of their lives. I met a woman from London who survived World War II bombings of London and married a US serviceman. I met Margaret Rena MacDonald, one of the first female Olympian discus throwers, who told me of her Olympic adventures and I met other strong women who had stories to tell.” (MacDonald was a weight thrower for the Boston Swimming Association. She won three AAU outdoor titles, shot put in 1929-30, and the discus in 1929, and seven AAU indoor shot titles, in 1927, and 1929-34.)

That’s when Linda decided to become a documentary film maker so she could record the lives of these women for those who would never get to hear their stories in person. “I relocated to New York City with my then fiancé and studied video documentary making, taking jobs to train myself to shoot video camera under pressure,” she said. “I trained as an assistant to a wedding videographer with the top photography studio in NYC. I shot weddings and particularly remember a Hindu Indian and Christian wedding complete with traditional elephant ride in the courtyard after the ceremony!”

She discovered a love for the television studio camera work while working as a social worker placing homeless seniors into housing; she was also working in a state-of-the-art community cable access studio in Queens and began taking television courses while working at entry level video camera gigs. Her big break came at CNN where she learned to do robotic camera in addition to her other training. “After that I landed gigs while continuing to master my skill at cable networks, sometimes working as many as two jobs a day for several days a week.”

She even hired a personal trainer and worked with weights to develop the strength to operate a handheld camera in studio. She shot a handheld camera on One Life to Live, Good Morning America and cable networks. Later she was hired to do vacation relief work at ABC and worked all the shows as a vacation fill-in several months of the year.

Linda worked on People’s Court, Anderson Cooper and MTV, but her favorite long term steady gig has been Good Morning America where she’s worked for 15 years, “with some of the finest people in the business.”

NOTE: If you know of a relative of WW I veteran Willard L. Dunn please contact Russell Wilhoit who has something for you.

 

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