Had the chance to shoot another interesting assignment for Scholastic this month, a cover photo for their story on football injuries that ran in Scope. Met Isaiah, who quit football to run track after sustaining a severe concussion his freshman year. You would never know it, but it was about 5 degrees out when this was shot but Isaiah handled it like a pro, even after he changed into his track outfit. I, myself, was in a very long puffy coat.
Got a call from Portland Monthly Magazine to photography Victory Academy, Oregon’s only year-round school for autistic kids. Which left me feeling rather flattered and excited but also nervous as photographing people with Autism can be tricky and amazing and difficult and wonderful. No one yet fully understands why autism spectrum disorder occurs. Those with it often exhibit indifference to social engagements, an intent focus on a single object or subject, repetitive motions like rocking and biting themselves, and difficulty with verbal communication, among other traits. But every child on the spectrum—1 in 68 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—is also distinctly different: some are math geniuses or speed readers, others are unable to utter more than groans.
In my experience, there are many moments of extreme highs and lows when dealing with Autism, and not so much middle ground. Which pretty much summed up my day at the school. Instances of so much unguarded joy and wonder and moments so bittersweet that you immediately burst into tears (ok, maybe that was just me). These were immediately followed by biting and screaming and the incredibly awkward interactions that people on the spectrum are so good at manifesting. I was squeezed, questioned, ignored, hugged, tugged, looked at with great skepticism and with great welcome. It was basically just like being at a family reunion. And that is how Victory shakes out really, you are loved and accepted just the way you are. Or rather I should say; you are loved and accepted especially for the way you are.
I first met wild food expert John Kallas through a friend several years ago. That is how I found myself up at 6am on a Saturday morning at the Oregon coast, digging for steamer clams. John has a year-long calendar of events that pit you against nature and have you come out the well-fed victor. Classes with titles like, "Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate," "Sea Vegetables of the Pacific Coast," and most recently, "Acorn Pudding." So with adventures like that, you can understand why I've been dying to do a story on him. Now just needed to find a wordsmith and well, a publication. Ah, technicalities. Luckily the plucky Deena Prichep was able to supply both and got National Public Radio's The Salt to come along for the ride. We spent the day watching, shooting and interviewing as John took a group of folks from Acorns to Pudding. Apparently this involves lots of grinding, lots of leaching and lots of sugar. The result was warm, sweet, and porridge-like.
Those squirrels had no idea.
Spent the day playing with vials, beakers and all things science for our Cover Shoot for EdTech Magazine with 2013 National Teacher of the year, Jeffrey Charbonneau. The Science and Engineering teacher graces the halls of Zillah High School, the very same school he graduated from. Talk about your high school flashbacks. At least he knows all the good make out spots. Seriously though, as we roamed the halls with Jeff, he got a greeting or a hug from almost every student we passed. Coming from a family of teachers, I know they don't always get their due. Glad in the case of Jeffrey, someone noticed.
Just love working for Education Week, maybe because I come from a family of educators? I can only imagine keeping a room full of teenagers occupied for hours on end, plus you've got to make them learn something! That is tough work people, with not a ton of acknowledgement. So it is nice to make the teachers feel a bit like rockstars when we take their picture, let them know that someone is paying attention. And to all my old profs at Richard Montgomery High School, (especially Julie Newcomer, my photography teacher, who taught me how to bulk load my first roll of Tri-X film ) just wanted to say, "Don't ever doubt that you make a difference."
There is nothing like spending a few days back in high school to make you take a little stock in your life. As I creep up on my 20 (unbelievable) year reunion, I think back to that time, fondly I guess. But I am also struck by how much cooler kids today seem. Do I blame the internet? Cable TV? Back then couldn't see and didn't know too much past my own town and these kids can access the world in their pocket. Does that make them happier? More worldly? Or more weighted down? Things definitely seem a lot more complicated now then they did back in 1993. If you are feeling the need for a little teenage angst revisited, check out a slideshow of Lincoln, Catlin Gabel and Century High Schools, which I shot last year for Portland Monthly Magazine. And you can read the whole story here.
Just taught a class at Newspace Center for Photography on how to create compelling images at Portland's Rose Festival. Students learned how to hone their own personal style while shooting the Rose Parade, City Fair, and the Milk Carton Boat Races. So sorry you missed it. But....I'm teaching another class this summer at Newspace, Finding Your Documentary Passion.
The Newspace Center for Photography Spring 2013 Class guide is out, and they've asked me to teach one of their fantastic photo field trips. We'll spend the weekend at the Portland Rose Festival, which means floats, beauty queens, parades, and carnival rides galore. Plus all participants will get media photo passes to get some behind-the-scenes action. Some of the topics include: Learning the building blocks of documentary work. How to approach strangers. (Ahhhh!) How to create environmental portraits. Seeing things from a new perspective
Plus I will be doing one-on-one sessions over our shooting time, so everyone gets a little love. Friday – Sunday, June 7 – 9. June 7: 6 – 9pm | June 8 & 9: 9 – 5pm Cost is $315. Sign up while we still have space!
As always, had an amazing time co-teaching an editorial photography workshop with Joni Kabana. The best part of the class is that the students will have their images published in an upcoming issue of 1859 Magazine, a publication near and dear to my heart (and not just because the give me awesome assignments). Participants learned some insider tips regarding fulfilling a magazine editorial assignment and then hit the streets to put the work in action. So excited to see which images will be selected for the layouts. The selected photos from the weekend shooting and critique have been uploaded to 1859 Magazine, where the creative director will select final images for print and online use. Special thanks to Sarah Cross and Christopher Onstott for helping out with the class, and taking these awesome photos. Couldn't have done it with out you.