Penn State ended its 2013 football season on a high note tonight, but here’re a few action-feature photos from the two regular-season games I shot this year. (I did shoot the spring Blue-White game, and did video for a third regular-season game.)
When my mom and I visited my brother and his family in Naples, Italy, Matt and Emily made sure we saw the sights. For one thing, I’m pretty allergic to cats, and Emily wanted to minimize my exposure to their cat by getting us out of the apartment as frequently as possible. For another, we were in Italy — and who knows when or if we’ll be back?
So the photos below — a mix of landscapes, food and cute baby — are largely in chronological order of our travels around southern Italy and then our four-day excursion to Rome and Florence. Enjoy!
Our first outing took us along the Amalfi Coast, where the views and seafood are ample.
Matt and Emily generally feed Layla “real people” food. She’s not allowed extremely salty things like prosciutto, but she can handle Indian food and a variety of other cuisines, and Emily always cuts up small samples of the meal for Layla to eat. So, nobody was surprised when Layla grabbed one of the lightly fried sardines that Matt left on his platter…
…but everyone — including Layla herself — was surprised when she ate the tail end of the fish:
…and we discovered that Layla, who previously hated gelato for its frigidity, is okay with it as long as she’s holding the spoon:
It’s easier to say Matt and Emily live in Naples, but they’re a bit removed from the city itself. Anyway, Emily took my mom and me into downtown Naples to check out some old churches (including Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo di Napoli and Museo Cappella Sansevero) and, of course, eat true Neapolitan pizza.
We learned that verace pizza napoletana (“true Neapolitan pizza”) is taken pretty seriously. There’s even a sort of governing body that inspects and approves pizzerias that produce verace pizza napoletana. Matt was a big fan of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele — until he found out that that’s where Julia Roberts ate pizza in the movie Eat Pray Love. (Awful movie.) Since then, his loyalty lies with Pizzeria di Matteo (whose website includes an entire section about Bill Clinton’s visit there), where Emily took us:
It was pretty tasty.
Matt and Emily spent their fourth wedding anniversary in Rome… with their baby and the in-laws.
And then the restaurant where we ate dinner (I had carbonara) had a pretty teeny bathroom, so Emily had to change Layla’s diaper in a dark alley between parked Vespas. Typical.
Nine months ago, we all got to meet my baby niece Layla. A few months later, I was lamenting to a coworker about how fast the baby was growing, and how her living in Italy makes it hard for me to be a doting aunt. My coworker immediately chided me for not applying for my passport, booking flights and getting my butt over to Italy, because after all, Layla’s not exactly getting any younger.
So, two weeks ago, my mother and I flew to Naples, where my brother Matt and his family live, for a 10-day trip that would be my first-ever journey abroad. We explored Naples, had a four-day excursion to Rome and Florence, ate a lot and played with the baby. And I made a lot of pictures.
The pictures in this blog post (which is the first of at least three to come) show home life in Naples — or, Napoli. But first, the obligatory travel photo:
I never wanted to be that person who traveled abroad and returned home with all sorts of snooty attitudes about food, culture, etc., but let’s be real: You really cannot beat super-fresh mozzarella di bufala.
And now for some scenes at home:
So, I guess I like rubber duckies, because this happened in July:
…And this happened in October:
It was our first trip to Pittsburgh, and honestly, we went for the duck. We did do other Pittsburgh things, though. We toured the Strip District, dined in an old-person Italian restaurant in Bloomberg, saw Andrew Carnegie’s dinosaur skeletons, nixed a few sketchy hotels in sketchy areas and rode an incline:
But let’s be real: It was mostly about the duck.
Today, I carved my first-ever pumpkin. Granted, my parents bought us pumpkins when I was probably six or seven, and I remember we scooped out pumpkin guts in our patio, but I’m pretty sure my mom handled the knife work. Which means, I’ve never carved a pumpkin. Until today.
Normally, I wouldn’t blog these sorts of shenanigans, except…
- I’m really proud of my pumpkin,
- I used all three of my prime lenses in documenting my pumpkin and
- Jeff and I went to some ridiculous measures to light up my pumpkin for the final shot.
So, here we go!
Using a weird pick tool (not sure why we have it), I punched small holes along the outlines. Then, once I removed the pattern, I used the same pick to create the lines via the holes. The hardest part was not the teeth, but actually the letters.
But as we all know, the only thing that matters is how good your pumpkin looks when it’s lit up. So… voila!
So, uh, yeah.
I promise I’ll have some more, uh, professional photos up soon. And some film, once I pick it up tomorrow and get it scanned over the next few days.
Five years ago, Bill Eppridge visited my university. He and his wife Adrienne had some time to visit with students, so I hastily threw together a portfolio for them to review. I was terrified and convinced that they’d tear it apart — Bill being a venerable visual journalist and Adrienne being a venerable visual editor — but they were completely kind and supportive in their criticism and suggestions.
Looking back now, I’m guessing they recognized that I didn’t really know what I was doing, and that prodding me along would be more productive than tearing me apart. (Related: I’ll never forget the only written comment that former Columbia Daily Tribune photo editor Gerik provided after reviewing my exit portfolio in May 2010: “Could be a newspaper photographer someday.”) I’ve since made conscious efforts, every time I’m in a position to encourage or review work with a younger photographer, to be just as considerate and supportive as Bill and Adrienne were to me.
. . .
I’ve just learned that Bill has died. His legacy includes a number of iconic images made in times of peace and war, and I’m certain he inspired and helped young photojournalists who are far more successful than I. But for my part, I’ll never forget the gentle, compassionate critique he and his wife gave me five years ago in the Missouri photo lab. My next portfolio iteration was much more restrained and well-edited enough to land me an internship at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the following summer, and I’m convinced that Bill and Adrienne gave me just the right push to get my internship applications rolling.
(With a wink in Adrienne’s direction, Bill also told me that the best advice he could ever give a young photographer is to marry a good editor. I’d like to think Jeff and I have edited each other’s work fairly thoroughly in our almost-five years together.)
Just for fun, I’m opening myself up to potential embarrassment by posting what I believe is the portfolio that I showed Bill and Adrienne on that Oct. 2009 evening:
Rest in peace, Bill, and thank you again.
Incredibly, summer is past, and we all made it through unscathed. The kids have been back in school for a month or more now, but here are a few wonderful children I was fortunate enough to photograph this summer:
The first high school football game of the season is tomorrow, and we’re sending folks to cover Penn State’s first game on Saturday. With that in mind, here’re a few pictures I made last year while working on a story about pee wee football.
For one and a half years, practically every fall evening as I drove back to the office via Parkway Boulevard, I’d see miniscule football players running through drills and practices. Finally, my interest had been sufficiently piqued and, one evening, I pulled over, observed the final minutes of practice and chatted up one of the fathers who was making sure his son wasn’t slacking. Then he introduced me to the coach, and after that, I was at practice at least once a week.
After following the “rinkies” for about a month, I pulled the story together with this basic summary:
After an undefeated regular season — and not allowing first downs or touchdowns in all but the last game — the Boys Club of York Red Raiders’ rink varsity football team lost the York County Youth Football Association championship game 12-0 to West York’s rink varsity football team on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at Northeastern High School. The “rinkies” are 7-8-year olds who had practiced every weekday from August through the beginning of November on a field just off Parkway Boulevard in York. This team of rinkies has played together for three years so far and, despite three consecutive undefeated seasons, has yet to claim a league championship title.
Happy football season, everybody!
Last week, Jeff, his brother Mike and I found a T-rex skull at the National Zoo. Much to the joy of a nearby 17-year-old girl whose mother insisted she was too old to pose with the skull, I insisted that Jeff take this photo of Mike and me:
Today, while on assignment at a 30-attraction fun park in southern York County, I discovered that owner Hugh is a kindred spirit when I asked him to hop on top of an incomplete tire-saurus for a picture and he immediately struck a dinosaur pose without my prompting him:
KINDRED SPIRITS, I’M TELLING YOU.
(Read more about the Maize Quest Fun Park here.)
Jeff was burrowing around last week and found three rolls of undeveloped 35mm film in a cookie tin. (There were several unexposed rolls in there as well.) So I took them to get developed. One is a Fuji roll he shot during our 2010 spring break trip to the Santa Fe region of New Mexico; another Fuji roll is from his Dec. 2009 visit to Houston.
The Ilford XP2 Super roll is from our Feb. 2012 trip to New York City — a trip whose digital pictures I never blogged, and whose film frames I never saw ’til now.
Along the lines of an earlier post about how I had a bad habit of wasting film, I was pretty disenchanted with the frames on that black-and-white roll: Too many frames where I shot something just for the sake of depressing that shutter button and advancing the film. Like I wrote before, I’m working now to make pictures, with film, that mean something to me, which typically means they need to be of people I care about. That roll from New York City is a good reminder of what I as a photographer should never do again.
But here’re two frames that I do like from that roll. Obviously, I shot one and Jeff shot the other. Can you tell who shot which?
Softball picture from forever ago:
Pictures from forever ago, it feels like. I have even older photos that I have yet to blog, believe it or not.
This is the annual Sheep to Shawl contest at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this winter. The name says it all: A team shears a sheep, and then uses the wool to make yarn and weave a shawl, all within two hours.
First, the shears:
Then the sheep’s sheer terror:
And finally the kids’ sheer terror:
Earlier this month, I finally bought my dream camera, and I’m going to use it to cure myself.
. . .
For seven months now, I’ve been dealing with a struggle.
It’s not a daily gloom, nor is it definitive, long-term or easily explained. Additionally, “dealing with” is the best way I can characterize what I’ve been doing — largely because I can neither face it head-on nor avoid it, largely because I don’t know what it is.
It’s not a rut or cabin fever. I’m still passionate about what I do as a photojournalist, and I’m proud of some of the recent work I’ve done.
It’s probably related somehow to my experiences in Newtown, but I’m not sure how or why.
It’s not impacting my ability to function as a human or as a photojournalist, although I’m sure that my boyfriend would appreciate it if I helped out more with chores, as I once did.
I can’t diagnose it because I don’t know what it is, where it came from or why it’s affecting me, but I’ve recently decided that the best prescription is to care a little harder.
. . .
I think, in this age of Instagram, Facebook and quick-and-easy photo-taking/-sharing, we don’t care as much about the pictures we make. We snap a shot, share it, move on. By the end of the week, we’ve shared two or a dozen more photos, and we don’t even remember what we photographed two weeks ago.
On a related note: I love my job. We are trained to transmit photos almost as soon as we make them, in certain cases (mostly breaking news and sports). It’s fun and fast-paced, and I think it’s a neat step forward that we’re able to do. But because I work for a daily newspaper, I can have anywhere from one to four assignments in a day, which adds up to a lot after any given period of time. People ask me what I did this week, and I have to explain to them that I honestly can’t remember because every day has blurred into an indistinguishable continuum.
So, I have recently found myself pretty anxious to take a very large, deliberate step back from the immediacy that everyone else supplies and demands. (At least, for personal work.) Therefore, I’m returning to my roots, which means film. I first learned real photography at a summer job in New Mexico, where a hippie named Grant put a 6-pound, medium-format Pentax in my hands and taught me the entire process. To make frames on such a tank of a camera — and to develop the film, use enlargers and make prints, all in the same day — was incredibly empowering, and magical. I fell in love.
Last month, I went to Santa Fe to see Grant again and spend time with him. (I don’t think he ever believed that I made the trip just for him, but it’s true, Grant.) It was only a three-day trip, but it was peaceful, and in my heart, New Mexico is home. As I used my Mamiya (no Pentax yet) to make a picture of Grant and his Charlotte in their backyard, I knew I’d found a cure, or at least a relief, for my struggle.
I’m going to return to film, and make pictures that mean something to me. I can’t tell you how many rolls I’ve wasted on shots “just because,” and how many of those frames are just languishing in my binder because they ultimately are of no value to me. So I’m going to care harder about my personal photography, and it’s going to be film, and it’s going to be something that I will treasure 20, 30, 40 years down the road.
I’m starting now, with a few frames from a few rolls I got developed after my New Mexico trip. These were all taken with the Mamiya, but expect to see a lot of work coming from the Pentax from now on.
Every single one of these frames means something to me.
Is that something any given person can say about any given photo they’ve taken recently?
But it’s something I want to be able to say, honestly, about all of my personal work from now on.
I’m not gonna lie: For the majority of my life, Memorial Day meant little more to me than a long weekend.
Until I met a 90-year-old World War II veteran who has devoted the past two years of his life to finding, documenting and mapping more than 70 York County veterans memorials.
Al Rose is blind in his left eye, but he spent countless hours poring through newspaper microfilm at the York County Heritage Trust, in search of any news of veterans memorial dedications. Then, before giving up his drivers license last Christmas Eve, Al put several hundred miles on his car in search of these memorials — many of which are pretty difficult to find even if you know generally where they are.
Believe me, I know: I followed in Al’s footsteps in order to confirm his work and readers’ information and to help create a map of these memorials for the newspaper.
This was a time-consuming process that took me several shifts — in one case, all the daylight hours of a shift — to complete. And I loved it. I thrilled in driving to and finding corners of York County I had never seen before. It was exciting to find an obscured memorial, and it was sobering to read the names on so many communities’ honor rolls.
One honor roll had a name listed under the Spanish-American War. Others were overwhelmed by those who served in World War II. At least three honored those who have served in the current war on terror.
After finding and photographing 68 of the 70+ veterans memorials over roughly the past few weeks (editor Scott and reporter Brandie helped out with a few of the last ones we found out about), I find it repugnant that I formerly had so little respect for Memorial Day, and that many Americans continue to do so.
York County certainly has its share of veterans memorials — over 70! — and yet I doubt that many who live here are aware of or care about their existence. It’s saddening, especially when I think about all the tiny communities who gave up so many sons that their honor rolls are too long for a readable photograph.
Yes, I’ll probably participate in some sort of grill-out this Memorial Day weekend. But I’ll draw the line at Memorial Day sales. And, thanks to a long and sometimes difficult search for almost 70 veterans memorials, I’ll remember just how much of itself York County has given to this nation.
For more information:
Sometimes, when the big event is happening, I look elsewhere to make pictures — especially when the big event involves somebody at a podium.
So, I look to the children.
(I love that the fathers in the second photo can so easily show affection for their daughters without my having to include their faces: Look at their gentle hands.)
Well, I thought I was okay.
Sometime between mid-January and late March, I had ceased thinking about Newtown on an hourly or daily basis. The holiday season was finally over, I got to meet my baby niece, Jeff and I were taking ballroom dance lessons and I was back in the swing of regular work.
But near the end of March, I had a dream: I was back in Newtown, and I was interviewing a florist as she was preparing spray arrangements for a child’s funeral. Suddenly, I felt my eyes burn hot with tears, and my mind went blank. I quickly turned away for a moment, then faced her again.
“I’m so sorry,” I told her. “I don’t know what’s the matter with me.”
Then I woke up.
Later that day, another reporter who had been in Newtown wrote a blog post in which he explained his reluctance to talk much about his experiences:
1.) I’ve been nervous that [this] just comes across as me complaining about my own personal situation.2.) I’ve felt a certain amount of guilt for feeling so badly when there are obviously people who were directly and significantly affected by what happened far more than I can imagine.Additionally, I’ve wanted to distance myself a little from my coverage in Newtown. It’s not a fun thing to talk about so I largely avoid it, though there are times when I’m drinking with buddies that things will slip out.
That basically sums up my feelings.
But now I feel ready to share some of the pictures I made while in Newtown. It could be that the warmer weather and sunshine are helping me overcome the dreariness of that trip. It could be that I’m actually getting okay-er over time. Or it could be that it’s simply time to do this now.
Today, the York Catholic girls played their seventh state championship game in the past eight seasons.
Today, they lost 45-38 to Bishop Canevin.
But — they lost with grace.
I began following the team’s journey this morning after I checked in with the student tailgate outside the Giant Center:
After the game, tears:
And a pep talk:
I’d like to thank the girls for letting me follow them around, even inside the locker room, and being completely normal about it. They’re a class act, a strong team and wonderful people.
For more coverage:
I’ve never taken the time to count how many times I’ve been assigned to photograph people as they work out or otherwise exercise. But even if we don’t include sports practices and games, it’s still a fairly large number. In the week around New Year’s this year, I happened to have two separate assignments that had me cover people going through their routine gym workouts.
The funny part was, people in both assignments made remarks along this vein: “I’m sorry you have to follow me around while I’m in the gym today. This can’t be that interesting. I hope they’re paying you a lot.”
I assured them that I was not suffering in these assignments. On the contrary, I see these assignments as a challenge to show the human interacting with and mimicking the form of the gym equipment.
My first-ever cheerleading assignment took me to the YAIAA Cheerleading Championship, where seven teams competed in two divisions. It was a lot of fun, especially with the presence of the youth cheerleaders who performed showcase, non-competition routines. If I shoot this next year, I’ll definitely take my shooting to the next level, but nevertheless — this was fun.
I love shooting basketball. It was the first sport I ever shot (thanks for throwing me in, Rae) and much of my first winter in York was spent covering high school games. This season, not so much, oddly enough. But here’s a collection of some reaction-oriented feature pictures — or jubilation, or “jube” — from the post-season.
And, to end on a joyous note, four pictures from the York Catholic girls’ eighth consecutive district title win — which, by the way, is a District 3 record:
For me at least, it’s easy to forget, after covering some of these girls for three seasons, that they’re just girls. They’re still in high school. They’re just kids. Then you get off the court, and they’re jumping and whooping and giving each other piggy-back rides back to the locker room, where they then break out into song and run around and remind you that they’re still girls, and that’s totally okay.