Sunday, January 30, 2011

Run, Forest

Athletic overload, ladies and gentlemen. RIT hosted several track meets this weekend, the grand finale was the Empire 8 Track Championships. The RIT and Ithaca men tied for first with 159 points. Here's the link: RIT Empire 8. It was my least favorite to shoot out of basketball, swim and track mostly because I was constantly looking which event to shoot and concerned if I was going to be in the way. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011


The last couple of days have been... emotionally tumultuous and this is all I have to sum it up. After a meeting with my academic advisor and the coaches and fellow captains of the crew team, the book I borrowed from Professor Snyder seemed strangely appropriate. Storms. I thought I'd made my decision to leave the team but I almost started bawling at the meeting with the thought of never rowing again and leaving everyone so I'm taking until Friday to decide.

There's a brief moment when everything is so well-timed and balanced that all one can hear is our breath and the breath of the boat as the muscles and breaths churn to slide the boat over the water. But in the world, there is more to life than rowing. The people in Eyes of the Storm never thought their homes would be wiped from the earth like complex math from a blackboard. There's a boy in there who had to decide if he could leave his dog, probably to die. People living on their roofs begging for help.

I don't want rowing to be sacrificed for something I could fail doing. I do not want to fail. I can't put all my chips on the line to pursue "photojournalism" if I continue rowing. Last night I read in Vanity Fair about a girl who's making purses now after trying other things and skirting what always drew her the most. She said only after she realized it was OK to fail that she pursued her love of... purses.

Coach Freddie said, "Jesse, you're the kind of person who needs 36 hours in a day."
If only, if only.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

There will always be those with more talent, those with greater raw tools but hard work closes the gap to the more talented, you just have to want it more than they do, work harder than them, plain and simple. Claw, scrape, and bleed to get the job done. Treat your talents as the special gift they are, treat your relationships with the love and care they deserve - in the end relationships are all we have. Give everything, follow your heart. Risk. Put all your chips on the line...that's when we live. Chase your passions, do the the thing that makes you come alive, do the thing you are not sure you can do. Do that and you truly live. Do that and you have already won.
-Josh Cox, elite marathoner

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Family Ties

Since I'm up here at 3:25AM and still processing photos I decided to organize a few folders and came across the first one of my family's table taken last year. The lower three are from a random lunch commemorating my grandmother's birthday.

 A lot has happened to our family in the last several years, or really in twenty-five years.  Twenty-five years. A quarter of a century. 

Over food and drink, what holds us together is blood and loss. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Dip

The RIT women swam against Hobart and William Smith College tonight. I'd never shot swimming before and it was only my second time shooting sports so I called ahead, talked to the coaches, and got there early; just what the professor ordered. I shot from 5:30 until 9 and was glad I stretched more before photographing than I did before the basketball game. It was really entertaining to watch half of my photo class show up too because we definitely could have formed our own swim team there were so many of us!

Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm 2.8

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home is Bittersweet

Two weeks ago this Friday Jade abruptly left our apartment and moved back to Connecticut. She had said she had some weird news and we all thought that meant she'd started dating a friend of ours but she got a little choked up and wiped her eyes saying "I'm not going to cry." Then as Steph rubbed her shoulder, "I'm movin' out. Tomorrow". I stopped packing my gym bag. I should have had a camera out but sometimes life just sends you a left hook when you're packing. The next night I said goodbye and headed to a basketball game to shoot. So it goes. (Salinger anyone? Anyone?)

If you look closely, Jade has a 3" nail in her ear in the first one. Never a dull one. 

Canon 5D Mark II, various lenses

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Foods That Feed

This morning I shot for a few hours at a raw food brunch held by Foods That Feed at the wellness center at 703 Park Ave.

I met Damaris Pinedo at the Pittsford Wegmans last night. I'd already had a weird night. I completed a life goal of running out of gas and walking to get some so telling a total stranger the ice cream in her hand was a good pick was nothing extraordinary. She told me she was looking for Luna and Larry's aptly named Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream which I happen to be rather fond of and know just which Wegmans have it.

We chatted in front of the freezers (professor Davenport also made an appearance) and this morning I called her up and asked if I could shoot her brunch. A lot of women came who all had some connection to Damaris and an interest in healthy foods. They fed me and it was delicious.

Canon 5D Mark II, 17-40mm 1:4
ISO 400, approx. f/5.6 at 1/125 for all

Cold Night

It's not that I didn't go out today... As usual, I've been out all day but coming home to our apartment I never find the same thing. Tonight Megan came home and hunkered down in front of her laptop while Eden and Steph F. watched Beauty and the Beast and I went through today's photos and ate Greek yogurt. There've been worse nights, but not too many colder ones yet.

Canon 5D Mark II, 40mm 1.4
ISO 5000, f 4.0 at 1/25

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

House of Mercy

Auto-focus and I do not work well together since it has a mind of its own so I use manual focus 90% of the time. Manual focus is also good practice for developing one's eye. It requires more concentration on the frame and forces one to be aware of what is going on around. Unfortunately, the unexpected sometimes leaves things a little unclear. Isn't that just how life can be? I shot this yesterday at the House of Mercy during the Martin Luther King Jr. service. 

The last photograph is James Trammell and his son. Violet, wife and mother is in the background. The Trammell's were so welcoming and James was very loving towards Violet and their son. Within seconds of me sitting down and talking he'd pulled out a photo of his 5 month old daughter and told me how much he loves his family. But after a few minutes of talking he confessed they'd been separated because of problems he was having and not an hour later James got into a shouting match with someone and became loud, vulgar, and aggressive in front of everyone at HOM. 

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm 1:2
ISO 1000, f/3.2 at 1/60

Sunday, January 16, 2011

House of Mercy

 There are times when one cannot afford to wait and form relationships with people before photographing them but right now my best work comes when I've actually sat down and talked with people for a few minutes. The House of Mercy is one of those new places that's starting to feel like a friend. Today was the first time I determined I would not leave without something to show for it. While my class assignment is one person, I'm venturing to find my own story and am finding more success in starting with the Gestalt principle. In math class, I would only understand the last chapter's equations after I'd begun the next chapter. Once I could see where it all fit in the more complex equation I could see the relationship between the necessary individual equations. 
Today I shot before, during and after dinner was served.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Where We Live

(part of an ongoing work on our relationships in and with our apartment)

I'm still catching up on a few shots from over Christmas break that I'm fond of. This is Brendan washing our dishes- he's over all the time and is finally understanding he does not have to look at the camera every time I raise it.
 I tend to be an obsessively organized person who provides a place for everything but will start to have a conniption if I can't rearrange things. Photographing falls into this compulsion somewhere rather wonderfully. While my decision of when to compress the shutter are frozen forever, it's can be a peaceful finality. This is one of those times. 

Leica M8, 35mm 1:2
ISO 640, 1/60 at f/ 2.8

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Hunt, the Shortage

To begin and start 2011 with a glimpse of yesteryear... The yearly tradition of searching for a Christmas tree, for many Americans, is one that conjures up nostalgic memories. My family is no different but this year we had little success finding the "ideal" tree.

Leica M8, 35mm 1:2
ISO 320, 1/250 at f/3:4