Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter & Things That Matter

Elana Turchetti

Maybe you were in bed thinking or sleeping, getting your kids ready for an Easter service, making breakfast or out for a morning run but some of us woke up early to watch the sun rise at Cobbs Hill. We had breakfast at our apartment, talked about Katie Davis an her love for Jesus and passion in Uganda (she's 22!), went to church, gathered again for lunch at my friend Joel's house in the city and then I had dinner with my family. 

In between all of the running around and cooking, Elana and Joel were talking in the front room and I made this picture of her. 

I read this the other day:

"You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them."
-Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beat the Old Man Challenge

Krista pauses for a picture after winning the first competition: a 3 mile run on the YMCA track

Steve's wife Dana and Krista greet Steve after he completes the 3 mile run. 

Nearing the end of the racquetball competition. Krista lost this event.

A basketball player from the next quart pauses to peer into Steve and Krista's competition.

Krista's grandparents Al and Carol Sealy watch the one-on-one basketball game.


Krista eyes an incoming pitch during the softball competition.

Steve nails another pitch. We were at a relatively safe height upstairs. 

Krista and her grandfather watch Steve hit the 60 pitches. 

Krista's family and Steve against one of the YMCA's murals after the competition. 

This morning I had the pleasure of photographing Rochester YMCA's Beat the Old Man Challenge. Krista Sealy, 16, of Hilton high school competed against the president of Pace Windows and Doors, Steve Abramson, 58, in a 3 mile run, 60 softball pitch hitting contest, and games of basketball and racquetball. There are plans for Krista to speak on Rochester's 101.3 Kiss FM to promote the concept of athletics actually being fun. Krista admitted she was nervous but she won the competition. 

Since she beat Steve in two contests, Krista will receive $200 in gifts and prizes and will also receive $1000 to be donated to the fitness program of the school she represents. 

Many thanks to the Sealy's and Abramson's for allowing me to photograph them today and also to Jay Polston of the YMCA for welcoming me to the event in the first place. 

Best of luck to you Krista!

While You Were Fighting: Day 4

Juliana and Gabrielle play together on Tuesday morning while Juli is on break from school. 

Esther and Gabby pick out their favourite coloured gummy vitamins before heading to the laundry mat. 

Sarah pauses a game at the laundry mat to fix one of the Rapunzels' hair. 

Sarah trying to contact the operator of the laundry mat when the comforter was barely wet after 45 minutes in the machine.

In a moment of rare quiet, the girls Esther, Juliana, and Gabrielle sit in rapture watching "Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen" by the Christian children's movie company Veggie Tales. 

Two seconds before it'd been, "more ketchup?" and then a minor meltdown. Two seconds after, she was  a happy camper. 

As Sarah said on Facebook, she has her hands full. 

This is all from Tuesday on 19 April, 2011. When I arrived at the Fultons , Sarah was preparing to go to the laundry mat to wash a comforter after milk had been spilled on it the night before. After going to the local laundry mat in Lima and finding all of the large washing machines had been taken out, she decided to make the trip to Lakeville. The girls played together for the 45 minutes the load was going but when Sarah took out the comforter, most of it was bone dry and still dirty. The people she called could not do anything that day and Sarah was faced with a decision.

 Option A) She could either start the load, drive the 15 minutes back to Lima and put the girls down for a nap, wait, and return to put the blanket in the dryer. 
Option B) Put the load in the wash, wait, then take the girls for a nap while the load dried and return. Either way, the majority of her day was dedicated to washing a blanket and mothering three girls under five. 

Though I had to get to class, I believe Sarah's parents watched the girls while she worked out the dryer situation.

A lot of parents do have days like this while their significant other is at work but Sarah doesn't get much of a break. She was still patient with the girls who had no idea what was going on. Gabby kept putting in her lunch order of something like two hamburgers and fries. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

While You Were Fighting: Day 3

*There's something spatially weird going on with two of the photos which is why the spacing is wonky. I gave it my best effort to fix it. 

 Gabby Fulton plays with neighbour Gabby Chapman outside their apartment building in Lima, N.Y. Both girls are two with blonde hair and blue eyes. They refer to one another as "Gabby-friend".

 Sarah simultaneously watches the two Gabbys and Esther play on opposite sides of the yard shared by two large apartment buildings.

 Sarah encourages Esther to take the plunge down the slide alone.

 Gabby Chapman plays in the yard outside the apartment.

Michelle Chapman, a close friend of Sarah's, lives in the apartment upstairs with her husband Tim and their two children Samuel (8) and Gabrielle (2). Tim recently had shoulder surgery and Michelle is responsible for caring for him and everything else while he recovers. "Sometimes I just want to... stop," she said. "I could just lay here."

 Gabby Fulton watches as Gabby Chapman cries about her fall moments before. Gabby has a flair for the dramatic. A minute after this face, the two girls were arguing about their phones. 

 At the Chapmans apartment upstairs, Juliana came out of Gabby Chapman's room dressed for battle.

 Almost to the minute, at 5:00 "The Meltdown" began. Juli had gone to a friend's and Gabby couldn't go. To make matters worse, Esther began whacking Gabby in the face with her bottle. 

                   While making more dinner, Sarah talks on the phone as Esther and Gabby talk about their straws. Sarah rarely sits down while eating.

                                                      Sarah finally sits for a moment while Esther repeatedly distinguishes between salt and pepper shakers.

 Sarah was barely in the bathroom when Gabby and Esther were at the door knocking. You might think Sarah interrupted Gabby in the bathroom but no, the girl just didn't have pants on for afew minutes before bed. I believe she lost them in the juice spill during dinner.

 Gabby hugs Sarah after getting her nightgown on.

 During the day, Gabby's bed became disheveled and Sarah had to re-make it.

 Sarah pauses for a moment before getting Gabby into bed.

 Bedtime at 7:30, Sarah sings a lullaby to Gabby.

 After finishing her dinner, Juli hugs her maternal grandfather, Dick Grout.

 After the girls are in bed and the laundry has been folded, Sarah watches a couple episodes of JAG with her parents Marji and Dick Grout.

Sarah gets Gabby ready for bed. This is my favourite and one of Sarah's. I'd sure appreciate it if you'd look at it larger by clicking on it since this small, it looks like she's crying. 

Eighteen is a lot of photographs, but I was at the Fulton's from 2:30-10:30 yesterday and the time yielded a lot. The colour is beautiful in most of these but since this is only preliminary work the black and white is here to stay and it is lovely. 

Jordan is coming home in a little over 3 weeks! Total, I've spent about 15 hours with Sarah and the girls and I've definitely become emotionally involved. I'm not sure how you could not become so, especially when you're with the family. I'm trying to convey how difficult it's been for Sarah but she has such an outstanding attitude I have to be on my feet about it. The spills, the falls, the meltdowns, the length of time away from the man whom you love so dearly- it's quite a lot for a person. I can't wait to see their family together again. Sarah, if you read this, again thank you for letting me hang around yesterday and for sharing your dinner and tea with me :)

The song, "This Year's Love" by David Gray came to my mind the first night I was editing and reading the lines, it makes sense. 

This year's love had better last
Heaven knows it's high time
I've been waitin' on my own, too long
And when ya hold me like you do
It feels so right, oh now
I start to forget
How my heart gets torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Feelin' like you can't go on...

Friday, April 15, 2011

While You Were Fighting: Day 2

Today, Sarah and Esther were talking with Jordan on Skype when I arrived at 10AM. Afghanistan is nine and a half hours ahead! To be technical, the light was nice today as in, the sun was out so tungsten light wasn't necessary- quite wonderful. 

While watching them talk with Jordan, the fact that he's overseas but still involved in their lives became a reality. The other day when Gabrielle was on the potty in the living room and Sarah said, "Daddy would be proud," was one of several moments when Jordan has been mentioned. However, it had been years since I've talked to him and he was still the guy I knew nine years ago and had become distant. For Sarah and the girls, Jordan has been a father and a husband and he has been absent for a year. A fact that rang like a bell in the Skype video call. 

On a personal note, I last knew Sarah and Jordan nine years ago when I was thirteen and they were almost exactly the same age as I am now. They seemed so old and wise to me then! (As they do now).  The first time I heard Jordan's voice on Skype this morning I was shocked by the shift in his voice- he sounds much older! Nine years ago I was a kid and they were a young, married college couple.

 Who could have known that a war creating their separation would bring our lives back together? I only hope I can do this story at the high caliber it deserves and I am so grateful to Sarah for opening her home to me. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Show Me How It's Done

Her work literally causes my heart to beat faster: Melanie Burford

RIT is hosting a series of workshops beginning in May and going into September. There's a video storytelling workshop August 22-26 that you should look into if you have any desire or affinity for photojournalism. Evan Vucci, William Snyder, and Melanie Burford are going to be teaching it. 

Today our professor got to the heart of something. He talked for a long while and finally pointed out that we put up these walls and fronts to protect ourselves and it hinders us when we try to relate to people we are photographing. It's really rare to find people that don't put up walls and who are happy with who they are without the straining to be cool. If you don't want to be like anyone else, don't be like anyone else. And they aren't- they're honest, open-faced people and I think because they love their lives, they find beauty in the lives of others. Donald Miller makes an excellent point... 

"Everybody wants to be fancy and new. Nobody wants to be themselves. I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat. It's a fact. If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn't want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everybody would want to be him." - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

What a foreign concept. 

 Personal note:
I just ate an entire box of Pop Tarts only to realize that one Pop Tart is chock full of 200 calories. Where do they hide those darn calories? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lilac Queen Beauty Pageant


On Sunday morning I met Prisca Edwards at the Radisson hotel in Rochester, N.Y. to help her with audio recording and anything else she could come up with. Assisting Prisca limited me a little during the actual ceremony when both of our batteries ran out and she had to use my spare to record the big finale but at least it got me some singles and a lot of video to play with before then.  I even used gelled flash. What a concept. 

We had a lot of fun and following those girls around for 9 hours kept us really busy getting microphones on people and dumping the precious content of our cards onto our laptops. I had a crash course in putting mics on people and hooking everything up properly. It was a wonder! 

The end of the day led me to go up to the roof of the South Ave. parking lot and stand in the warm sun and wind for the first time in... about 7 months. Hallelujah, the winter's over.