Monday, March 31, 2008
i've been sick lately, maybe i got it from all the little kids i've been hanging out with. the blue stuff is from a preschool circus. i decided to shoot quick portraits before the start of the show. the portraits ran on the front in a row down the center of the page and the candid stuff ran on a page inside. it was supposed to be a standalone feature picture. oops, took it a little too far. the last is an outtake from "chicken day" at a local elementary school. the principal promised to dress up as a chicken if the kids met their reading goal. they read 3,877 books collectively during the month of march.
Monday, March 24, 2008
About a month ago I met Bob JEnisson while on assignment. The Midland Daily News was doing a story on a hospice care facility in Bay City called Brian's House. Bob was the resident chosen for the story.
I hung out with Bob while he visited with his daughters, then stuck around for a couple of hours after they left. We sat in the small cafeteria talking mostly about his life, but a little about death. With a sadness and longing in his voice, Bob mentioned that his wife, Judie, had died about a year ago and that he was looking forward to seeing her again. I couldn't help but to imagine how wonderful Judie must have been and how pure a love must be to bring a man to tears just mentioning her name.
It wasn't that Bob was happy about death; he was grateful for the time he has, but accepting of the inevitable we all face.
My first visit with Bob came to a close with a promise to come back and check in from time to time.
Last week I received a message from Bob's daughter, Michelle. She told me that Bob's condition had worsened and he was on oxygen, spending most of his time in bed. She said that he'd like to see me and that I probably shouldn't wait too long. Two days later I entered room105 at Brian's House to find Bob sound asleep in his bed. I took a seat in the rocking chair in his room. I sat for 20 minutes or so and decided to leave a note.
Just wanted to stop
by to say hi. You seem to
be sleeping well so I don't ...
A phone rang, interrupting my note. Bob woke and began fumbling with his cell phone to answer the call. I helped him open the phone and after he finished his call we began to talk. He showed me the Speed Graphic camera his father used and an 8-by-10 black and white print his father took of Dwight D. Eisenhower waving from the back of a train during his presidential campaign. He also showed me a print of himself as a child sitting on the lap of Mrs. Fitzhugh, a woman who used to live in the apartment above Bob's family and who used to make him tapioca pudding.
After a while I asked Bob how he was doing and he hinted toward not well. "My life is over and I'm kind of glad about that," Bob said, almost instantly contradicting that statement by saying how he'd started thinking about how hard it was going to be to leave his children and grandchildren.
I said goodbye for the second time again with a promise of returning to check in and to bring photos I had taken of the two of us together.
On the following day, Friday, March 7, I returned on my way to shoot hockey in Plymouth and then go to Kentucky for a photography workshop. I peeked into room 105 to find Bob visiting with his grandson, Justin Jennison Luczak. I learned that Justin has his grandfather's last name as his middle name so that the family name would not be lost since Bob had no sons. I also learned that Bob spells his last name with the second letter capitalized as well. It is little details like this you learn only through spending time without a camera to your face. It's these details that make my job special and so rewarding.
I was pressed for time and kept telling Bob I had to go, but each time I said it I'd linger and he'd begin another story. At the last moment possible without being late to my assignment I told Bob I had to go and paused. I couldn't take a step. Truthfully I feared this might be our last visit. "Well why ain't you going?" Bob asked sarcastically, knowing the answer. "I don't want to." "I know you don't want to go, and I don't want you to go, but you got to. You gotta do your job."
I left with a promise to stop by and check in from time to time, and writing this now I am grateful for the friendship Bob and I have, and for this job I gotta do.
i got a call a few minutes ago from bob's daughter michelle letting me know that bob had passed away yesterday. he was with his family for easter and he went peacefully. i didn't get a chance to stop by and check in on him before he went. the above is from a story i wrote for the paper that published two weeks ago.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
hannah and i met in college though she probably doesn't remember me. i had a crush on her as did everyone else i know i'm pretty sure. now we meet again years later and at similar points in life. we're both on our own unknown journeys. truth is i'm finding comfort in the fact that someone else doesn't have it all figured out. so here's to new beginnings and the great unknown.
Friday, March 21, 2008
don't let their boyish charm and big brown eyes fool you, these boys are ready to throw down in a nerf gunfight or pirate sword duel to the ultimate fake death at any moment. they are relentless and they are my nephews. if you've come for battle you may hear graeme yell, "gannon, shoot the damn thing!" at which point the unmistakable sound of a gatlin nerf gun will rat a tat tat put a foam dart in your ass.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
just now settling into the frigid life up north after spending more than a week at home wearing t-shirts with the sun on my face. i was able to spend time with family and friends as well as attend the ACP workshop keeping my streak alive. in my opinion workshops serve the best purpose when they are kept small and somewhat thrown together. after returning from my holiday in the homeland my first assignment was this portrait. most newspaper photographers hate assignments like pet of the week or building mugs. we have the employee of the month portrait. like most lame assignments if you keep an open mind most of the time they can be fun. i explored the bowels of our paper and found this back storage room. i tried using a strobe, but preferred the naked florescent bulb despite the blown out forehead.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
today i worked what i like to call the modified split shift. that's when you work all day, but only get paid for half. it's pretty sweet. it was my own fault for going in to work early. it's 3a.m. and the words on the screen are starting to blur. the computers at work have all conspired against me lately, making my job all the more inconvenient. that's about it. need sleeeep.