Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLk Parade and Pro Israel Rally in Texas, the non-assignment

Both of these shoots were unassigned projects I covered while in-between my planned stories for the Texas area, which really changes the dynamic of how I shoot. For example, if I was covering events like this for the newspaper, very few, if any, of these images would ever run. And that is why I like them. There is a sense of freedom to personal work after busting out multiple assignments summing up the daily grind. So there lies the dilemma: keep art/photography/storytelling as personal work, or make it YOUR work (i.e. making a living). There is a fine line between the two.

P.S. Happy Inauguration! I will post images from a shoot at a Democratic celebration in Tarrant County (the 2nd most conservative county in the country) and from my story on Christian wrestling tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Young Marines in Waco, TX, and a few thoughts on the long term project

I have now photographed Young Marine units in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas. While part of me feels like the project is complete, I think the best way to progress as a photographer/journalist is to continue pushing the work further. Part of the difficulty, besides time and money, is to photograph a subject (especially that is so homogeneous) in different ways. This process, while at times frustrating, forces a photographer to progress in a way that is impossible through daily assignments or street shooting. The dedication to subject will also show through, which sets a body of work apart from the pack and commands respect by peers. The approach to subject also changes. Recently I have begun shooting more portraits, capturing video/audio, and shooting children involved in the program in home environments, posed and lit. I can then carry these skills over to other subjects, projects, and assignments that I wouldn't be able to obtain otherwise. While I don't think I have reached the level in any of these treatments I hope to, I know I can through the commitment!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Dexter Ave. Church, Rev. Graetz, Neo-Confederates, and a Jazz Club

These images are from my continued coverage of Montgomery, Alabama during the week before Sen. Barack Obama's Inauguration. The following five images are from the Dexter Ave. Church, which is right across the street from the State Capitol and where MLK Jr. was a preacher.

Rev. Robert Graetz was one of the pioneers of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and worked closely with MLK Jr. and Rosa Parks. He continues Civil Rights work by advocating for gay rights, poverty rights, and handicapped rights.

The following four images are of the Confederate Calvary Corps, a Neo-Confederate group, as they celebrate the day Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861. They see the Confederacy as part of their heritage.

The next images are from the predominantly African American community in West Montgomery.

And these last couple are from 1048 Jazz and Blues, and Jazz Club in Montgomery.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

History and Race in Alabama

One of the projects I wanted to undertake through the South is on the manifestation of the history of race relations in today's 21st century, post-Obama world. I decided a few weeks ago to photograph this project in between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, where Martin Luther King Jr. held his freedom marches and Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. I began today at a few historical sites. These first two images are from The Civil Rights Memorial, which pays tribute to those who died in the struggle.

The following image was from inside the Memorial Center, where one can add his name to the Wall of Tolerance and pledge to fight for justice.

Reverend Robert Graetz and his wife look at the piece commemorating his contribution to the Civil Rights Movement inside the Rosa Parks Museum. Graetz worked with MLK Jr. and Parks during their struggle, and the KKK twice bombed his house. I will be visiting him at his house for a full interview and photo session.

This following image is what I will be looking for in the coming days. While it is important to include the historical sites in this story, the strongest images will come out of exploring everyday life and people throughout the area. Jarrett Truss (left), 10, of Montgomery, takes a break from skateboarding as Chandler Truss, 9, of Deatsville, skates by at the Montgomery Skate Park.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On The Road Again...

I have officially left Pittsburgh, and want to thank all the great people and photographers I met during my 6 months working in the city. It was truly a great experience. The following image was my last one taken in the city, at the airport on my way back from NYC.

My first stop was 500 miles away, in Bowling Green, KY. I met an Abraham Lincoln impersonator there and photographed him with a portrait of his Russian immigrant wife. Who knows what characters the next days travels will bring?