Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Never Too Big to Be My Friend"




Awal's cousin


The Dancing Queen


the shoes lasted about 5 minutes


All of these were taken by the most beautiful kids I've ever met (in addition to the Fultons and Fesers...). I'm sure this is completely against photojournalism laws of some kind but I didn't take a single picture of the 622 I found on my card when I left Mary's Place. They all took turns as well as kids do and took pictures. 

Remember the last post about spending time with refugees in the city? This is it. It was one of the highlights of my summer playing basketball with Christian from the DRC and a bunch of boys from the Sudan. 

The best part: Awal thought she could give me a piggy back ride and when she couldn't and I said I was too big she grinned and hugged me saying, "You'll never be too big to be my friend". My heart melted. She'll be tall; at only 13 she's creeping up on me. 

HEY, a shout out to men here, there is a wealth of gorgeous, smart women going to Africa and volunteering despite the "dangers". Please get your bottom off the couch and stop playing x-box. I've no doubt the boys would rather play with some men than a bunch of chicks- at their age anyway ;) So let me know if you want to come! Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri they're open. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

LPGA Championship

Michelle Wie, U.S.

Leta Ladley, U.S.

Michele Redman, U.S.

Cindy LaCrosse (U.S.) and Yani Tseng 

Yani Tseng and her caddie, John Hamilton

The board

Yani Tseng, winner of the 2011 LPGA Championship, before teeing off at hole one.

Yesterday, I shot the LPGA tour for Golf Local and I learned: 
-I need a new backpack (i.e. one that can stay closed without caribiners)
-make a check list
-to remember tape
 -not to clean out my car without putting the essentials back in (such as  a knife and brush)
-put padding on the 20 lb. lens and monopod set-up I'll be carrying/bruising my collar bones with all day
-always keep $20 as extra cash somewhere in your car. You will never say, "Oh my gosh, if only I didn't have that extra money to get me through in a pinch!" You will regret not having it one day.

There were times during the day when we had to freeze for the golfer (they're irritatingly particular about silence and focus) and I rested my face on the 400mm lens like it was my friend. I love shooting now. However, as much as it was a cool experience and I'd take a freelance job shooting sports almost any day, I sat there and couldn't help but think how much money was being spent on the day. How much was wasted. 
The competing internet pages on my laptop were LPGA info, the websites of Getty photographers who'd been covering the event, and numerous online articles and photo essays on the growing shortage of food. Several thousand people will die today because they had no food. The photographs of war and famine I saw in the LIFE 1989 magazine as a kid have not led to solutions- more photographs of war and famine are being published now and the situation is continually worsening. It leaps and spreads from country to country like fire. It's predicted that we'll have two more billion people on the planet within 35 years and there won't be enough food for a lot of them. It's bleak. 
 I couldn't truly enjoy "documenting" the importance of golf when I'd trade a seat next to Scott Halleran any day for the freedom and wonder of being with refugees in Rochester or for future considerations, a cement house along a dirt road in Africa. Seriously, nothing is being published on albino Tanzanians being killed for their body parts in cultic rituals. There's a miracle man west of Arusha, west of The Mountain of God, who's 500 shilling cup of something is supposed to cure AIDs. 
This is good practice though. If I can't tell a story or make a photograph here I will be ill-equipped to accurately express any other kind of story. 

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. 
-Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boom, Baby

Last night I sat on the porch (last night house sitting!) in the mist and cursed at the cat rubbing against me as I held the shutter for 5 minutes in an effort to capture all the lightning bugs. Not a total failure. 

I woke up to a text from my mom this morning that read, "We have another contestant for you. Good morning, Honey!" The second read, "It's a talker too. We discussed the consequences of being in the veggie garden but all I got back was attitude." People stop wondering why I'm the way I am when they meet my mom but also say, "Oh, your mom is so sweet! She brought us over the best cinnamon rolls!" She doesn't have the heart to kill anything but slugs on the lettuce. 

However, the little bugger didn't have quite so much to say to me when I picked up the cage in one hand while carrying the .22 in the other. A little strawberry rubbed on the muzzle calmed him right down and the shot split it's head open instantaneously. 

The bottom line is, someone has to shoot it and I might as well get over it and get over it now. You never know what you'll encounter in the future as a photojournalist... especially as one planning to move to Africa. And Jacob Mills didn't think I could kill the goat last summer. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Love you in the Morning

This is my life right now; strawberries and photographs. 

I know not everyone lives like my family. But, after my friend Vince and I went out for some male bonding, I realised it more than before. With my great grandfather's .22 we walked in a field and he said he'd always wanted to shoot a gun in a wheat field. We hunted crows barefoot, ate dinner on the porch with my grandparents, and drank fresh milk from the farm. This morning, I let the chickens out, collected eggs, made biscuits from scratch (my mom even grinds the flour); and picked, washed, cut, bagged, and froze the berries. 

Now, Ian and I are watching Pulp Fiction and my roommate Steph texted me to say she had a dream that we lived in an apartment in New York City together. It's a good life. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Here Chickens...Come to Me

 I never thought I'd spend 15 minutes of my life balancing on a trailer hitch waiting for the right chicken moment. This is my second house sitting this summer so if anyone's looking to get away- I'm valuable on the market! Dogs, cats, chickens, plants- please, anything but the children!  

Yesterday was a struggle. It ended up me in nothing but shorts and my JUST DO IT sports bra delicately chasing the chickens as I waved my red t-shirt and herded them into the coup. I always thought the evil stepmother's comment in Ever After, "Go...catch a chicken!" was funny but ladies and gents, it is no easy task. They're quick little devils. 

Attempt: #1

Last  night was the first night my brother could eat solid food in two weeks so he's exhausted and was kind enough to let me use his time. Wisdom teeth surgery is tough. 

I checked out a Profoto acute kit to practice lighting and it took all weekend but this morning I tried my hand at it. Admittedly, it's been a couple of years since I purposefully checked a kit out but I do have the summer and said I'd do some sports portraits SO here we are. You can't even tell I added light unless you look at an exposure without it.  

I will learn to make solid editorial portraits this summer!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

World Refugee Day

My former classmate and Iringa, Tanzania tent-mate Megan applies a hand painting.  

One of the hand paintings. 

Aisha jumps rope outside of the Children's School on Averill and Monroe in Rochester, N.Y.


Bhutanese dancers

The little gentleman half of Bhutanese dancers

Today, I had the pleasure of being invited by a friend to photograph World Refugee Day in Rochester held at school 15 in the city. There was face painting, dancing, good food from Nepal, Sudan, Afghanistan, and other places, as well as a lot of beautiful, awesome people. 

The best part of the day was (of course) when I sat down to eat with a couple kids and found out they're from Sudan and the DRC. Awal, Salame, and Joseph were wonderful. Another girl joined us, a student from Nazareth College, and we got talking about Mary's Place. I asked if any of them knew Kiswahili and Salame and Joseph did! Salame immediately said, "jambo!"And was soon peppering me with questions to discover what else I could say.  

She wasted no time in tapping everyone she knew on the shoulder and exclaiming, "She knows Kiswahili! Watch!" and we would start a conversation for the person. After a few people I told her my friend (Meg) in the gym lived with me there once and she knew some Kiswahili as well. Salame was after her in a flash. 

Unfortunately, I blanked on more than the basics but later and as I fell asleep I was converting as much of my thoughts to Kiswahili as possible. She reintroduced me to Cathy who, I believe, runs the refugee center at Mary's Place, and suggested Salame teach me Kiswahili as I help her with her English tenses. Sounds like a plan, Sam! The other day I ordered a Pimsleur to learn Kiswahili on CD. Days like this I practically prance out and think, "I have the best life."

Rochester may not be Tanzania, but a place is defined by it's people and God's been gracious enough to provide connections between people from Africa and I... until I can get back :) 

Friday, June 17, 2011

O'Connell Electric, 100 Years

O'Connell Electric celebrates 100 years. It's overwhelmingly clear in this photo, isn't it? There wasn't a whole lot besides the relationships and connections made the night a success. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rochester Refugee Women's Network: A Picnic

Today, I had the pleasure of photographing an event held by the Rochester Refugee Women's Network at Charlotte Beach on Lake Ontario. The women were primarily from Nepal and spoke Nepalese. Workers from the network explained what a sandwich is and how to make one. Shockingly no one liked the PB&J! These women and their children are beautiful and it was wonderful to be reminded that we're all human and we can still communicate without speaking the same language. One little guy happily dropped into the lake, was soon covered in sand and put up a fight when his mom finally got him away from the beach. She didn't speak a lick of English but whatever she said, I completely understood she told me he did not want to leave the water. 

It was so good to be with people who aren't from the U.S. again (and those who were shared a passion for refugees). My favourite photos are the first one and the last two :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Bit of Change

Last night, I slept outside on a bed under the mosquito net and drank rooibos tea as I read the strong words of Desmond Tutu- an outspoken South African bishop. My heart felt a little closer to home out there. The last time I slept on a bed with a net was in July on my friend Kirsty's porch that overlooked Kilimanjaro. 

 The whole bit was fantastic until 2:45AM when the heavy rains came in and I woke up and stuck my hand in the grassy puke my dog had thrown up next to me on the bed. The trip to the public market with my mom and peony cutting festival made the vomit situation seem less volatile to my day. 

In other news...Oh, happy day! The cage is open! I've taken out a 24-70mm every time since no one is at school but transfer kids (of whom I was precisely two years ago). In a few weeks, I'll be the teaching assistant for Owen Butler- the same class I took way back when. I also regained full library access so I stocked up on Desmond Tutu, Nat Geo, and other photo books. 

Can I just say, it's so good to be out of school and back in the world where life doesn't revolve around professors and critiques. I can shoot simply because I love shooting and because I want to get better, not for a grade. How people miss school is something I will never understand. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

This is Called Blog Abuse

Two Vine, Rochester, N.Y.
3 June 2011

East Avon, N.Y.
4 June 2011

We officially put up The Map and plotted a rough route for our adventure around the world. Sadly, my Africa poster had to be displaced to the other wall. 
4 June 2011

Lima, N.Y. Not such a terrible substitute (or far cry!) from Africa sometimes.
4 June 2011

Fairport Canal Days,  N.Y. 
5 June 2011

My brother Ian's graduation ceremony tonight at the Eastman Theatre. Looking fly in those jackets!
5 June 2011

I call it blog neglect followed by abuse. Three days worth of posting in one night just proves my negligence on tending to this little beast once we're released from purgatory- I mean, school.

I've been stuck with the 50mm since May 18 and I am more than ready to get back that cage access to broaden my glass horizons. More to come!