Thursday, December 31, 2009

year end BABY!!!!!

so, yeah, i just couldn't let myself go out like that, and somehow, ending with lensBABY pix seems far more appropriate for, what to shoot - well, i've never shot a poinsettia before....

nor myself in the mirror of my new little Charlie Brown xmas tree red glass ornament (and let me just say - self portraits with a macro lens baby - woo, holy technical which i did not master, as you can see!) - i always loved that little tree - i think if i were a cartoon character, i would be Charlie Brown (though my facebook quiz says i'm Schroeder, which also kind of fits) - i'm a complete and utter sucker for the underdog, and that little tree was truly the underdog of the xmas tree world!

by the way, on my list of new year resolutions, between looking at my facebook postings/notes and my posts here, i firmly resolve to try not to be the over user of the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

there, think i got it out of my system now?

out with the old

in the interest of not ending a year with unfinished business, and my "must clean things up before a new year" mantra, i'm gonna go ahead and post up the last pix i've taken this year - it kind of sux that my final post of the year will be sports, average features (from sports) and a women's exercise class, but it is what it post-xmas-back-to-work motivation has been sorely lacking, and i just couldn't manage to dredge up a single thing feature-wise the other day - i mean, everyone here must be hybernating in their houses - school's out, many are off work, but they're not outside, nor in the libraries, nor the community, here it is....

girl's basketball

and yet more girl's basketball

as part of a New Year resolutions story, we covered a group of women who meet at one of their homes with a personal trainer and do a "bot camp" style workout once a week...pretty intense, non-stop 40 minutes these ladies put in - they kept telling me to join in, but i told 'em i was pretty okay with just staying behind the camera for this was kind of hard, actually, a lot of their exercises were face down on the floor of this woman's basement, but eventually they flipped over or moved to squats and leg lifts against the wall.....

so, there you have it - the last of 2009, unless i manage to take a foto within the next 4 hours, in which case, i guess i'll have one final deadline to meet before the year is out!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

end o year catch-up

before the year ends, i want to get caught up on the posting back-log...i smell a new year's resolution on the near horizon - i.e., don't get behind on posting, cos, really it's almost silly to do this now - i don't feel what i felt when these images were made, i just can sort of remember what i felt - kinda defeats the whole purpose of blogging in a sense, but, whatever, since i'm here, may as well do it...

not going to post everything, cos frankly, a lot of it was pretty pedestrian - average portraits or features, not that what i am posting is so amazing, just a little better - don't want to make myself look like a total schlep (sp??)

so, yeah, sports, lots of sports - that's been still the bulk of my assignments it seems - basketball and more basketball (and based on the assignments sitting in the bin when i got back after the holiday, that looks to be my future postings for the week)
but there was a state silver gloves boxing tournament the weekend before xmas...i've always had a somewhat inexplicable liking for this sport - watched it when i was young and whenever i see it on tv...i really don't know why i like it so much, but i i was kind of happy that i got this assn., though it is a tough sport to shoot technically (for me, at least)....silver gloves is all young kids - 8-15, so the bigger challenge is that these aren't real skilled fighters, especially the littler kids, who are kind of a mix of a tazmanian devil and fists of fury - the older kids are a little better and easier to shoot....really liked these 2 little brothers - one 9, the other 11, and dad says he got them involved in the sport because they used to spend all day beating the snot out of one another, so he figured he may as well put their angst to a more organized use....both won, and as you can see, they're very proud of their prowess...

then, there was the sole girl representing Monroe in the tourney - she would be the one on the left, who just beat the bejeesus out of this other girl - this was the only bloody fight i saw that day, and halfway through they stopped the fight, because this girl was just getting completely beat to hell....if i were the other girl, i don't think i could have kept going - i mean, she was just a bloody mess - but apparently that's just me, because not only did she NOT ease up, but she continued to go for the face! yikes

then there was the latest of the H1N1 flu clinics - i think this is the fourth or fifth one i've shot in the last 2 months - i guess the hook here was that it was the first open to the general public with all restrictions lifted, and they were expecting huge lines.....well, there weren't really any lines, huge or otherwise, so, yeah, so much for that idea.....i think the whole hoopla over the swine flu has passed, but still, the nurses there managed to persuade me to get one (despite the fact i'd decided i wasn't going to) - well, really, what else was i going to do while waiting for people to show up? posting this just because i liked the expressions on the kids' faces as they watched mom brave "the needle" for her vaccination - they all got the nasal spray least i didn't suffer through any further hearing loss from the high-pitched shrieks of screaming children this time!

i'm losin steam, and must attend to laundry, so this'll be brief - shot from a cancer benefit concert featuring a headlining performance by Ruben Studdard of American Idol fame

and finally, just a portrait i like for a story on kids who can't play their sports due to inadequate GPA's

more to come!

Friday, December 25, 2009 and there

first holiday season with our newly pared to go home at least thru xmas eve, which is when my family always celebrates - well, at least the opening gifts and party-ish side of the holiday...but i had to leave this morning to drive back to michigan to work the evening and weekend night deadline desk duties, it was short and sweet, then back it was, and i am now here on the desk waiting to tone the page 1 fotos...really doesn't feel like xmas, and the wet, brown ground isn't making it look a lot like xmas either...anyway, at least i got to be home with my family at the holiday for part of the time, got to help decorate cookies, see my little kitty-boy - going on 16 years and still kickin! go Kashi go!!!! he's such a sweetie, but sadly, i think he is beginning to forget me some, at least when i first got there, but after the first day, i started getting lots of little nuzzles...or maybe he just realized i was another set of hands from which to elicit back scratches! oh well, doesn't matter, still good to get some love no matter what the reason...
although i have plenty of catch-up to post from the last week or so, i'm posting these now...just cause i feel like it, and i'm bored, and there will likely be nothing to do work-wise for the next couple hours, so i may as well get productive here....

this is what our little family xmas scene looks like to the outside world - you'll have to use your imagination to put me in the scene, as i was, familiarly, the girl behind the camera

except for the morning after before i got ready to drive back - clearly i had not yet had my xmas morning caffeine!

here's my Kashi! cute cute cute

and Mr. Lucky, my parents' cat

they've become really good buddies...well, for the most part that is

so, back to the xmas joyousness, from the inside now...while Mom gets things ready, lights the candles, Dad takes a few pictures of the tree and gifts and us...before we get down to the serious business of tearing our carefully wrapped and decorated boxes apart! this photo thing kinda runs in the family

so, we're opening, and we're having some champagne....a good time is had by all

especially when Dad opens one of my sister's packages....before the holidays, when we were trying to get some gift ideas, my folks gave us more of the what-not-to-get list - no more clothes, no more knick-knacks, trying to cut down on so much stuff - so when pressed they said, 'give us something useful, like a gift certificate to a restaurant, or soap....'

and yes, there you have it, my sister did indeed buy my father a 3-pack of Dial soap for xmas (well, that wasn't all - there were less utilitarian presents exchanged - just in case she reads this and fears i have told the world that she just gave our dad a bar of soap for xmas)...anyway, i was about doubled over laughing - it only got better when he later opened up the Speedstick deodorant!

so, here's the scene in michigan - my little home taste of xmas - thankfully none of it got stolen while i was away! hopefully i'll be home enjoying some of it tonight before the holiday officially ends...

merry christmas!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

all things revisited

this week, i got a second chance at a story that i had begun several years ago, and at a feature/news assignment, got a chance to revisit with some kids i had shot a feature of several years ago, as, either i've been here too long (which is quite possible), or i haven't quite accomplished yet what i was supposed to have done here (also quite possible)....and of course there was some other stuff inbetween, like the start of the next sports season (no break from it - i thought we'd at least get a week, but apparently i was mistaken), portraits, and play rehearsals for the upcoming holiday theater fare, and calls and arrangements, etc, etc.....
so, first things first....

a church has held a weekly give-away of clothes/food/miscellaneous items since the spring, and we were doing a story on it - it being the start of a new month when assistance checks roll in, it was pretty slow, only a handful of people came by to get things...there were a couple kids volunteering there, and as i was getting their names the boy asked - did you come by a house on 4th street a few years ago and take a picture of kids playing in a pool? well, i've done that about a hundred times, but i looked at these kids and then it clicked - yeah, i did shoot you and your twin sister playing in your kiddie pool, and good lord, yeah that was about 4 years ago now! so, here they are, all relatively grown up, teenagers, and i got to tell them how that picture actually won in our state's monthly clip contest - which they were super excited about,, a sort of lame assignment turned into something pretty cool, despite the not so great photos...i mean, we go out and shoot so many people, especially kids, between sports, school stories and just feature hunting, as in their case, and it's always kind of interesting to run into them years later and see how they are now and what they're like....just a fun little aside to doing this job i guess....

about 4 years ago, i started researching a story on a facility for people who would be homeless and have co-commitant issues of physical and/or mental health that have compounded or often led to their financial difficulties - it's a huge old building outside of town, probably passed by it a million times since i first got here, and in the course of chatting with someone, i learned about what it was, and that it is one of only two remaining "county poorhouses" in the, i made an appt. with the then-director, talked with him and got permission to work on a foto story - actually, they were incredible about pretty much letting me do whatever i wanted, come whenever i wanted, etc....that kind of access is hard to come by in most facilities, so i was really excited about the project....started it in december of 2005...but like so many open-ended, long-term projects, i let myself get caught up in the demands of the daily - well, especially that time of year, when there's so much holiday STUFF going on, the month flew by before i got back to it, then it was onto a new year, and you know, a couple mmonths or so go by and you realize you haven't gone back, and you feel bad and regretful, and then that feeling alone starts to make it feel harder to go back, because you feel like you must seem like a flake to them, and then more immediate demands come up and more time elapses, and well, now, i just really feel bad, so it lapses into another of those great project ideas that you seem to be letting slip through the cracks, and then, it just gets filed under the "things i started and didn't follow up on" regret file...

this is Ruthie - she mostly walks around in her own world having conversations with, as she calls the, her voices....she has been living there for about 15 or 20 years now, and she was one of the people that i really wanted to concentrate on for the story, because she so seems to embody the unique service that this home provides

so a couple weeks ago we get an assignment to go there - their funding is running out and the county has decided to put its fate up as a millage on an upcoming ballot, and we want to do a story so people are aware of what it is and what they're being asked to vote on funding....we couldn't schedule time til this week, and it's under new directorship, but again, i get pretty much full and unlimited access to do what i want, as long as the residents give their i went back a couple times - everyone there has such a great story - and i mention to the new director that i'd started something there years agop and let it slip, and i would be interested in trying tl pick it back up - even though this story is running this weekend, i'd like to come back and keep doing more - i almost envision this like some of the work that Eugene Richards did in the mental hospital that's in Americans We or something....i mean, not that i'm that good, but the idea of it, and hopefully it would be that good...anyway, this is my second chance i think, and if i let it slip again, then i think i really am an, that millage vote isn't coming up until the summer - got pushed back til then due to funding issues - so, it would be very timely to have something more in-depth come out before then - i mean, these are people that really couldn't (at least quite a few of them) function on their own, even if they got state funding for their own places - accident victims with brain damage, seniors, or schizophrenics not an immediate danger to themselves or others, but they simply wouldn't be able to live independently and would likely end up abused or dead if they were out there completely on their own...
anyway, here's a few from this week's shoot there....

Ruthie is still there, years later - "i love it here" she tells me, lining up to purchase nightly snacks with her tokens...i cannot imagine what would happen to her if Fairview were to close

lunchtime - the food at Fairview is provided by the kitchen staff at the Monroe County jail - granted, Monroe has been known to have the best jail food in the state, but still, it's jail food...residents say EVERYTHING is made with turkey

residents can use the facility's phone room - calls limited to 10 minutes

tokens in hand, residents begin to line up and wait for the snack shop to open for the evening snack time

naptime after the post-lunch afternoon meds have been dispensed

Jim has suffered several heart attacks and recently 2 small strokes, which have left him, not paralyzed, but without feeling in the left half of his body....he lost his home after separating from his wife and before coming here lived in his van in the parking lot at Meijer, where he was subjected to taunts and pranks from teens who noticed that he was basically homeless and living there....his wife also lost their home since he left and is living in the Salvation Army with their children - she has had trouble with their oldest daughter, whom she kicked out and got a no-contact order against - she is now living with family friends, isn't currently in school and comes by Fairview nearly every day to hang out with her father...Jim hopes he can get custody of all the children when he gets back on his feet...his daughter, Amanda, wants to get back in school and also loves photography - she learned about it in a class before she stopped going and told him all about photoshop and how she could remove that funny mole on the back of his neck with the cloning tool....
friday morning, went to the historical museum for a day-long visit/tour by students at a local elementary school...they were there to see the annual xmas tree festival the museum holds, but they also got to tour the museum exhibits, which they were far more interested in than the was pretty hectic - i mean, elementary kids running willy nilly thru a museum - bit of a challenge, but i wound up sticking with a group and got some pix i liked, as well as a couple random ones either for still life or our community page