Last February The New York Times sent me on a couple of assignments on the edge of Idaho and Montana. Both felt super up my alley. I really feel like my favorite work environment is following my nose on a road trip, and this was exactly that. Again, like my last post….both of these fell after COVID-19 had been found here in Washington, but community spread hadn’t taken hold. I believe these photos have been used here and there, but their intended news plug fell through as the world changed.
Here are some photos from one of the two stories. This story aimed at the intersection of prepper culture and solar power.
Thanks for the call Morrigan McCarthy!
Early last year, following my first portfolio trip to NYC since being a college student, I got a handful of assignments that started to feel more in line with a new “vision” I’d been kind of working towards. Something that felt post-daily news photographer and Assignments I could hang my hat on a bit. One of those, was my first assignment with TIME, which I was super excited about. The project focused on the robotics in Amazon fulfillment centers, and the training they offer employees to help them learn about coding and AI.
Regrettably, just a few days later COVID-19 landed in the U.S. in Washington State. The rest of the story we know; there was a world before, and a world after this, and so the story got cut. But now that it’s been a full-calendar year, I can finally share them.
Thanks, and hope you’re all healthy and keeping on.
Photo contests are weird, and I’ve avoided them since college for the most part. Last year I tried to remind myself that entering and putting yourself out there was a key part of running your own business, so I jumped to it a bit. I’m hyped to have had two images “selected” for placement in the annual American Photography book for images in 2019. Here’s a link to the AI-AP winner’s slide show. I will share some images of the printed book when I receive it, but really honored to be included in any space where so many photographers I look up to show up. I’m sad the annual party in NYC got cancelled this fall, but fingers crossed I’ll get that opportunity again.
I’ll use this as an opportunity to explain some background on the two photographs.
This image of goats was one I had been wanting to photograph for ages. I heard of this happening back in Utah when I was at the Daily Herald, and again while at the PI. Finally, I got a call from a friend, journalist, Wudan Yan, that she was going to do a story with High Country News on the relocation efforts on the Olympic Peninsula, as they are not endemic to the area. We headed out to Hurricane Ridge and I did what I could while working with PR and designated media spots. I really had my eyes on something clean with no obstruction that highlighted our entanglement with nature, and its entanglement with us.
I made this photograph on a personal trip to Thailand, my second in a matter of a few years. I always try to tread carefully while not on assignment while traveling. This particular photograph was made at a Muay Thai fight in Koh Lanta that my partner’s dad really wanted to check out. This fighter was KO’d, with a torn ear. He recovered with the aid of friends right next to my spot in the bleachers. I was drawn to his toughness and how he took the loss, got healed up, and never hung his head low. I think it’s important to note that there’s a fine line to ride while traveling and photographing, specifically while not on assignment: You’re in someone else’s home and they aren’t existing for you! Make images the best you can that centers them and holds them high, not points out how their experience is different from your own. I’m not an expert at this, but am always happy to talk about it and learn.
Doing our best to stay present, enjoy the company of our little family, and get a breath of fresh air this wet and cold Saturday.
March was wild here in Seattle. COVID was new and wild and nobody had adjusted yet. Seattle was kind of ground zero for awhile, even though numbers were so, so, low compared to what we know now. The work felt important, and scary, but was so……boring, visually.
During this project for Rolling Stone, things started to feel a bit different. The city truly felt quiet. Things were changing and we were adjusting into the new normal. I was lucky enough to speak with some nurses and photograph them. It was eye opening, but they were also upbeat, and calm. Nurses have always been the best, and this is the best example we have yet. I hope they are doing okay, ten months later.
Here’s a look back to the quiet, strange place Seattle was in as the U.S. began to pay attention. There were no ambulances everywhere, there was no chaos, there was no masking: there was just the void of anything.
How it compares to now makes me feel all sorts of ways.
I’ve always *thought* about photographing mountain biking more, but every time I do, I just end up wanting to ride, and I put the camera in my pack. It’s something I cherish and feels special every time I get to sneak out and it’s a great escape from the mental hurdles of the everyday. I’ve really been wanting to change that, and a good friend of mine, Chip Woodley, gave me a good excuse.
Chip, lead spiritual guide at a local mountain bike training program and Kona Bicycles ambassador was writing a review of his new Kona Process 153 DL for Radavist with a different sort of twist. His goal: a bike review that is less about the details and more about the feeling.
Here are a few photos from our day in the wet and dark woods of Fall City.
A new blog, wow! I <3’ed blogging about photographing and assignments back in college, and then instagram took over, and the world changed. I have some feelings about that I’ll share in a post soon, but in the meantime, I’m going to move from that platform, to this blog, to share more work. Pictures aren’t meant to be seen small all the time.
But back to the current state of affairs and matters at hand.
This last year….was a lot. It still is a lot. I felt/feel trapped, and I think we all do in our own unique ways. Trapped in our house, trapped in our city, trapped in our country, trapped financially, trapped socially, trapped in our masks, routines etc. etc. Decisions have been harder and stakes higher. My partner and I needed a break from it all and to see something different from these walls and the inside of our heads…. the best and safest way we could muster. We struck while COVID numbers were low (lower than now!) at the end of summer and early fall and headed home to Utah from Washington by way of Idaho, Oregon, California and even Arizona. We kept to ourselves or outside the best we could. It did so much for our mental health, and I feel lucky to have been able to travel in any capacity this year. When we got home, and November came, things became more insular than they had been since March, with good reason.
Road trips always reinvigorate my feelings towards photography, way more than any trip on a plane. When I fly, I feel disconnected from my destination, especially if I’m photographing for personal work. On the road, I still have that thread of where I came from and where I’m headed. It’s like a line to my former self, especially when I’m traveling to places I once lived. Enjoy this too-big gallery of pictures I took for fun, of my family, and for no other reason at all. It felt good, and if 2020 taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you have to lean into that when you can.
I’ll probably divide this into two posts, as I just enjoy looking back on the pictures, and there’s too many I enjoy to cram it all into one.