Sunday, April 27

at the end of my fellowship at poynter last summer, the faculty asked us to write a personal narrative. i had a bunch of travel photos from my time on the road to and from internships and a song that i couldn't get out of my head, so i made a visual narrative too. the finished product is kind of cheesy, but it's from a time and a place in between. it's already almost a year outdated. perhaps there will be a version 2.0 this summer.

Saturday, April 26

from the dailies...

a local club-owner will be "dancing with the missouri stars" this year. he's a good sport, but i hope he'll upgrade the wardrobe for the big night.

this woman's story was amazing. she lost four fingers on her right hand to a gun-shot blast from an ex-boyfriend trying to kill her. it's sexual-assault awareness month and she gave a talk to reach out to other women who may be in abusive relationships.

Friday, April 18

i didn't know they had earthquakes in the midwest, but i woke up at 4:40 this morning wondering who was rocking my bed back and forth. so strange to have an out-of-california earthquake experience. i know this freaks out the parentals to read, but really, it wasn't bad. i promise.

happiness is...

after a weekend of snow-blown double-headers, frozen fingers, and wind-burned cheeks happiness was a sunny, 70 degree day-off, a long run on the river, slightly sunburned shoulders, and eating fresh fruit on my porch watching the sunlight filter through white blossomed trees. it takes so little sometimes.

back on the swing shift the next few months so sports is back in the rotation. i'm glad for the dose of outdoors. my baseball timing is off, not that it was ever ON in a major way. i'm late to plays and my intuition for choosing a baseline to shoot from is opposite of the play action. arg.

this poor kid had a chance to set a new unofficial NCAA record for most scoreless innings pitched. He had 42-ish scoreless innings with the record at 47. He gave up 5 runs in the first inning. d'oh. at least the stress was over after the first.

a catch at the wall.

an error in the infield put a runner on first.

and then there are the photo gods. i felt them smiling on me for the first time in awhile.

i shot the above softball photo from the roof of the press box. i got there early and watched the track meet going on next door. the hurdles were set-up for the 110 meters and i couldn't resist the clean angle. i shot the competitors blasting through the frame and then this kid falls into the frame from the left. he banged his knee on the previous hurdle and writhed on the track for a few seconds before the trainers could get to him.

BYU junior Justin Bingham clutches his knee in pain after falling during the men's 110-meter hurdles at the Tom Botts invitational at the University of Missouri.

now that i write this, it seems sadistic to say the photo gods were good to me by causing this guy pain, but that's not quite what i mean. so much of sports photography is capturing the peak action of any given event. it's a hard thing to do, but with practice it becomes routine. there are gobs and gobs of sports photos (see: that are on-peak, with clean backgrounds and even play-of-the-game significance, but they end up all looking the same to me. what makes good sports photos, to me, are the ones with emotion, or as jim merithew likes to remind me, when things go terribly wrong. as most of us were never the star player on a high school or college sports team, we can all identify with losing.

photo god gifts are also about being in the right place when the unexpected happens. i struggle with my intuition for these sorts of things. i find myself on the wrong side of the gatorade a lot. so it was nice to finally be in the right place at the "right" time. poor kid. i wonder if sending him a print would make him feel worse.


local ghost hunters packing for a trip to st. joseph, mo a three hour + drive away. it drives me crazy when photo assignments are completely divorced from what the actual "action" is. this article was set to run the day before the team did a ghost hunt in columbia. would it kill us to wait another few days to get actual photographs of a ghost hunt? seriously frustrating. i try to hustle, but sometimes there's no fighting the deadline.

add to my list of 2008 bees the geography bee. i hadn't heard of a geo-bee before, but these kids are amazing with their knowledge of random places, cultures, river systems, etc. this kid didn't miss a question all day. 2008 champion, indeed.

Friday, April 11

our town

the latest our town:

"Why won’t mine fly?” Tynesha Green, 9, asks the skies over the Douglass Park ball field, already crowded with colorful kites.

Tynesha and her sister Kanisha, 8, have come with their mentors, Amanda Koellmer and Lauren Smith, volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters. They have one mission: to get airborne.

The first few kites are failures. Toy Story, Elmo and inflatable Winnie the Pooh all crash and burn. Tynesha jogs across the soggy field, the cuffs of her jeans muddy, her arm outstretched to release the string. Each time the kites return to earth, her spirits deflate a little more.

After a consultation with a local kite-flying expert, Tynesha revives her quest with another new kite. She names it "Tie-Dye" for its spiral of rainbow colors. "Tie-Dye, you’re going to be the best flier ever," Tynesha says.

Tynesha runs across the outfield, dodging younger children and jumping over kite strings. From the outfield to the infield, from the infield to the basketball courts, Tynesha is determined to fly, but the winds are not cooperating.

"You guys hungry? Ready to leave?" Amanda asks. The girls are discouraged. They look at each other. "I want to try one more time," Tynesha says.

With the wind at her back she catches a breeze, and "Tie-Dye" lifts into the Saturday afternoon sky. Tynesha jumps. She screams. She’s flying.

After a short minute, "Tie-Dye" comes back to earth, but the girls are energized by their victory. They get a second wind, a third, a fourth and then the inevitable. "Tie-Dye" is caught high in the branches of a tree. As they try to retrieve it, the string snaps and the colorful kite becomes impossible to reach.

Kanisha collects her own kite. Empty-handed, Tynesha follows Lauren and Amanda back to the parking lot, shedding tears for "Tie-Dye," now trapped in flight forever.

Saturday, April 5


i had fun at a gallery assignment last week.

found this angle on the hammer throw a bit too late to finesse. note to spectators: your white hats are a total buzz-kill.

did a ride-along with a "pro-active" cop team last week. of course they ditch me the day they make the biggest drug bust in recent memory. i thought cops wanted the glory photos of seizing drugs, guns, and money. i felt like a total ass after that.

a local teen "hip-hop artist" who was actually more into reggae than, well, anything else. he hosts a weekly public radio show. rad kid, er, young man.

last minute weather feech.

two classes on opposite ends of town have been penpals all year. the kids met for the first time at a roller-rink pizza party. some of them weren't so enthused about meeting their penpals.

earth hour scramble. a house part, a church service, and knitting at a bar all in an hour of darkness that saved columbia 1% of total energy demand. hey, something is better than nothing, right?

Friday, April 4

i'm trying to get a few stories off the ground. lots of meetings and talking and explaining and educating and a little deprogramming. i don't know that it's always been this hard to explain to people what it is that photojournalists do. i have a romantic notion that back in the LIFE days, more people understood the goal of a photo story, the method of making one, the concept of candid.

i find myself distinguishing still photography from tv news all the time, and people are a little freaked out by the difference. the tv news model nauseates me with its faux "real," but at the same time, for the people in those stories, tv news is very comforting. the news crew is solely focused on you for only a few hours at most. they ask you to recreate events or conversations. bumble it the first time? how about another take? it's all very staged which gives someone time and space to put on their mask. in a sense, the tv news model encourages people to play themselves on tv. it's you, only more well spoken, pressed and starched with a clean house. tv news wants the polished sound bite, the compact visual sequence, the appearance of documentary without all the messy details.

when i tell people the story is the messy details, they get a little scared. it's a lot to ask someone to be a part of their lives for an indefinite amount of time. it's a lot to ask that someone take off their mask and speak on the record even when they aren't very eloquent, even when they have no make-up on, even when their lives are in shambles.

i spoke with many gatekeepers this week and part of my struggle is in making them see that there are people who are this open, there are families and individuals that want their story told. it's an incredible gift that i'm always amazed people give. they are the basis for my entire career. small and large, these gifts are the photographs. there's no other way to make them.

it's challenging to overcome the paternal protectionism of gatekeepers. all i want is the opportunity to ask.

Tuesday, April 1

checked out the recent BOP winners and was surprised to see some of my work listed. i guess i thought they'd e-mail you if you placed, or let you know somehow. no complaints though, i'm still a bit stunned.

i received a third place for "raising emilie" and another third for my drum corp video. the poynter fellowship was an amazing experience and an intense period of production. i feel very lucky to have had such amazing people pushing me for 6 solid weeks. here's to more stories in 2008.