Friday, December 5, 2008

It's a Pirate's Life for Me

Day 66 - Photo 66. This is LaFonzo Rachal Carter, a.k.a "The Snow Dogg." We call him Fonz. Fonz was recently diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and in this photo he's actually laughing. He calls it his Pirate's Laugh. Arrrrgh!

I met Fonz about 15 years ago when I was a staff photographer and he was a wide-eyed, devil may care freelance photographer. Fonz would sleep with police scanners (yes scanners as in plural) blaring away. And then he'd be standing on the newspaper's doorstep in the morning, film in hand, having photographed some overnight mayhem while the rest of us were sleeping. Fast forward 15 years. Fonz now works for me as a staff photographer at another daily newspaper. He called me at the beginning of the week and said he didn't feel well. He said one side of his face felt numb. Two days later he was back at work after being diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. Bell's Palsy is a paralysis of the cranial nerve resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side.

Fonz has always had the kind of dogged determination for great news photography I admire. And I admire his ability to laugh at himself even when his laugh, is what's been affected.

3 comments:

Mona Shadia said...

:( Tell Fonz I said hello... And I miss how funny he is...

Rodrigo said...

Hey Rick, as you know I worked with The FONZ at the SB Sun. I just wanted to let you know that when I was about 20 years old, I was also diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. Just like The Fonz, I too had half of my face paralyzed. To this day, I'm still not quite sure what happended, but it could have been two things. First, I was enduring a lot of stress in that portion of my life. Two, I had a head injury in high school that could have caught up with me. I remember The Fonz hit his head real hard on the icey-snow some years back. Perhaps it's catching up in the form of Bell's Palsy. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know, that I only had the symptoms for a few months. I hope The Fonz sees relief soon. Best wishes, Rigo

cheryl21 said...

I have enjoyed his photographs for years and am glad to see the face and personality behind the camera. His work is great!