Monday, October 27, 2008

Bjork - Pagan Poetry

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the salt mines



I always thought these photos were slightly ridiculous but strangely entertaining... so here is a detail of my ragtag equipment for spelunking on Thursday. My backpack now has guano on it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

the self

returning from a two day trip to southern kansas to work on a story involving a series of caves and and a salt mine. this is outside our vehicle after evaluating a cave and returning to equip with the necessary gear.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seeing Gardens

"Often we are far from the garden of our dreams, but nearby may be a reminder of it, waiting to be seen." -- Sam Abell

Thursday, October 16, 2008

of friends and film 2

i made this frame of brian and his mother back in july. we were having dinner the day before he moved to springfield, missouri. as we took our seat i noticed a tension between them, or maybe a tension in brian. anyway, i felt compelled to take this photograph then.

of friends and film

on my last day in Missouri I didn't really have much to do shooting-wise, but I did spend a little time with Angie at her grape stand. ended up making a couple holga frames for myself. the second frame in this post is an idea proposed by my faculty to push me to try to approach the scene in different ways. this is her stand from the drivers seat of my jeep while driving. the idea seemed interested at the time, but the photo didn't really speak to me until tonight. it seems extremely sad.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Saturday, October 11, 2008

morning run

I enjoy shooting cross country because I feel like part of the action on some sort of level, running from location to location, zig-zagging across this runners' battlefield.

Friday, October 10, 2008

friday night lights

Thursday, October 9, 2008

more from mpw

Here are a few outtakes from my week in St. James. Maybe a couple more to come.. also have some 120 film to pick up..

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

thrift wars

so i've been unlawfully dragged into a thrift war with a fellow max bittle who resides in washington. the war started here.

basically the laws are this: has to be bought in either a thrift or vintage store, or free. and i think free is where i'm going to pull out the victor in this battle... because basically, free should be worth more points. and in the housing cooperative in which i live, there is a pile of stuff located in the commons area conveniently called "the free pile." a few days ago i found this umbrella in the free pile. i also got a haircut, which was, ahem, free.

Monday, October 6, 2008

something to celebrate

This is Sid, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran who has served three tours. The most recent tour he volunteered to take the place of his close friend, who was expecting a child. Here, he greets his mother, Tammy, who threw a welcome home party for him at the VFW. Sid is now serving in Abilene, Texas, where my good friend Skyler served in the Air Force for several years. When Sid walked in the reception area, he gave out hugs and handshakes while working his way over to his mother and father. He walked right up to me and shook my hand. "Welcome back," is about all I could say while shaking his hand and looking him in the eye. I could have been anyone and he certainly didn't know me. But here I was, mixed in with his family, many of whom were seeing this man for the first time in years.

Welcome back, Sid.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


It's been a strange 10 days but I know my time at the Missouri Photo Workshop changed my life in ways I won't even realize for some time to come. I do know it has changed, or better yet, reaffirmed some of my beliefs about documentary photography. This belief being that, while pure storytelling images are important, another route to reach people exists. And this is poetry, or mood. This is the ability to reach people through the feeling of a photograph, rather than the tangible objects or people shown in the photograph. I'm not saying this story is a success in that realm... but I think the time I spent in St. James, with Angie, Eugene, Danny, Rita, Liz and others will prove as a road to deeper thinking and storytelling.

These 10 images are the end result of seven days of nonstop overstimulation, coffee, waking up early, talking, listening and more listening.

I met Angie on a whim after following a string of leads the first day of story hunting. I was driving a few miles east of St. James to a ranch to follow a lead about a mother and daughter who started a horse stables together. On the way out I saw Angie and Eugene's grape stand and clocked it away in the back of my mind. After meeting the stable owners and photographing for a short time I knew my heart wasn't in their story. They had a nice story but it just wasn't for me. On the way back by chance I didn't take the highway, but a small side road which runs along side highway 44. I passed by the grape stand a second time but this time something clicked and I pulled a u-turn and went back. After receiving a nasty look from a semi driver who almost broadsided me I walked up to Angie who was selling grapes and introduced myself. From that moment on I knew I wanted to photograph her. She exuded life, from her talkative attitude right down to her grape-stained fingernails and tanned skin. For about an hour I sat and listened to her story. At 81-years-old she runs a 3 acre vineyard by herself. Her husband, Eugene, can no longer help much because his kidneys are failing. The vineyard has been in her family since the 1920's, which was planted by her parents, who both immigrated to the states from Italy.

It really was the American dream fading away right in front of me. Yet, she was upbeat. She had a mission. And for five days she and Eugene let me into their lives and allowed me to photograph them. I am grateful to have met them. I hope they find suitable owners for the vineyard once it comes time to sell.

On the last day of the workshop I stopped by her grape stand for the last time. It was mid afternoon and I had just come from the gallery, which showcased the 40 photographers work on 20 inch prints. For most photographers there were a few extra prints which had small errors or didn't make the final edit. Those we were allowed to take. When I went to grab the prints to take to Angie who sat under the green canopy next to her stand, one print broke my heart. It was the 9th frame in this post, where she stood defiant over her grapes. I suddenly didn't want to give it to her. I aspire to be as strong as the person in that photograph. And I knew then I needed to give it to her, so I did. And said my goodbyes.