1. My Soap Box

    Plain and simple: We do not take enough photographs of the every day moments that weave the fabric of our lives together. Sure, we all have a hundreds of photos of our lunch, a million selfies, and random street photography but when have you last taken an authentic moment of someone close to you, your family or best friends? Not in a cheesy pose, or acting inappropriate but a real moment that captures life’s precious memories.

    We all have our cell phones ready for the birthday cake, opening holiday presents, graduation but what about the daily moments? A nap, a quiet time, homework or playing outside, I believe those photographs connect us more and create memories that hold our hearts. Of course we should have the wedding images, but also the photos from weeks before of someone addressing envelopes.

    In my childhood, the camera was on the bookshelf and ready to used by anyone in the family. The camera was not stored away, only to be dusted off in anticipation of vacation or a birthday. So with cell phones, and point and shoots that are so affordable, take the time to make a photo this week of an ordinary, but authentic moment.

    This photo is by Wendy Gay, a student of mine who took my GCC class. This moment of her daughter and grandson is true. It is beautiful, real and life at that moment. It tells the story of this relationship; it is the kind of photograph that I wish more people would take.

    If your camera is out and ready and you have patience and calm  - people will forget you are photographing or not even notice. Don’t announce it, just be mindful and true in what you to hold tight to.

    This photo by Wendy makes me happy feel love and I have never even met her family. Thank you for letting me share this photo.

  2. Go With Your Strength.

    I just read a NYT article about the old cliché of “write what you know” – I related it to photography. I try to encourage my students to photograph what they know –their world. Great photography does not come from far away but from being observant from right where you are. Maybe you are on safari but there are wonderful photos to be made in your backyard, you community, your everyday world. Photograph what makes you happy and gives meaning to your life.

    Relating this even further to myself – I was recently asked to submit a proposal for a HUGE job – would be a great money, great client to have. I was asked to replicate a style of work they were already using by another photographer. I questioned this and shot some work on spec anyway - twice. They asked me to shoot exactly like the other photographer so I tried – I failed. The photos were not me, not my heart. The first photos were more me but still out of my range of expertise.  After many hours, 2 spec sessions – they went with another vendor. It was a relief. I wanted the money, I tried to work on it but it was not true to what I am good at as a photographer.

    I am a documentary photographer, a photojournalist, a storyteller – I am not a commercial, studio, high key, create something out of nothing photographer. This is my heart. This is what I need to remember to go forward in my career.

  3. Playing with portrait ideas, not liking anything but I saw this…the plastic. I draped this over a light and I love the folds and how it kinda looks like an x-ray.

  4. Watching barn be built with no machines - only hands and cooperation, was amazing. The sky changed every hour with moving clouds, blue sky, total overcast and every other variation. Waiting for the right combination of clouds and hands working was like watching a dance. Picking the right moment - is what i love. Being patient, quiet, observant - the moment comes. You can’t rush them and make them happen.

  5. Snow on the Sand.

    I have never seen snow on sand, snow on the beach. It was a unusual combination for me to see. Seems like such a contradiction to me. I was curious and saw the land in a new way. New textures, colors and a new emotional experience with my camera.

  6. A leaf…on the hood of my car caught my eye. I dislike the coming winter but find myself so engaged in the leaves, where they fall and the colors they produce. The trees stand bare, ready to hold the weight of snow and sway in the coming frosty months. The leaf seems to be looking at its reflection and embracing itself. So, I will embrace the fall and the coming winter and reflect…

  7. White bike, laying against a white house, both show signs of age and wear. They seem to be holding each other up, being supportive. Graceful, strong, kinda proud of their age.

    I left this in color since it was a “no color-color” photo. I don’t think converting it would help it.

    I like the perfect organization and lines of this which I don’t normally like.

  8. Walking down the street in Greenfield I noticed a group of bikers over at the Veteran Memorial - I crossed the street to see what they were doing. They were member of Rolling Thunder, advocates for MIA/POWs. I told them I had been in the Coast Guard Reserves and they hugged me and thanked me for my service…it gave me pause. These men had been in Vietnam. I looked him right in the eye and thanked him…I made one photo with my phone, all I had, and exchanged cards so I could send it him later. It was a 2-minute conversation, a photo, and a humbling experience. It made my week…

  9. This is Ty Cobb, he plays little league baseball in a small New England town. Documenting little league has become a focus of mine - the love and passion for the game is pure. When I saw this young man’s name and heard his first name, I smiled. I wondered - how much he knew of his namesake. Does he understand the place in history that “The Georgia Peach” holds, does he care? Even people who do not like or follow baseball probably know who or have heard of Ty Cobb. This game, Ty Cobb pitched and did a fine job. He was a team player and watched the game intently with his teammates, one who has the last name Comiskey - but that is another story. Read about Ty Cobb http://www.cmgww.com/baseball/cobb/index.html

  10. Today ends 6 months of being the storyteller for Linden Hill School - what was the oldest junior boarding school for boys with learning differences in the country. I only got to see a glimpse of how amazing these young men are and that makes me sad. Teenagers, boys - lots could go wrong there. But they opened up and let me in and allowed to document often difficult situations in the education. This photo of these three friends touched me- one from Texas, one from New England and one from Saudi Arabia. They shared dorms, meals, classrooms and the playing field for lacrosse. Each goes to a new school next fall and who knows if they will ever see each other again in person. They are linked through Linden Hill, through a learning difference, and overcoming challenges most do not have. I am honored to have been witness to their education, their transformation and their friendship. With out my camera, I would have never met them!