August 27, 2008

Convention Season

You would be foolish to ignore the images that Matt Slaby and David Banks are taking in Denver at the Democratic Convention this week. After documenting that circus, they're driving 916 miles to Saint Paul, Minnesota to document the Republican circus and they're taking photos along the way there.

They share a gallery of their daily edits on our collective website Luceo Images.

Also, keep an eye on their blogs (linked above) through next week to read their behind-the-scenes thoughts about the political goingson inside and outside of the coliseums.

August 26, 2008

Blind to the Beauty

before i fell in love with documentary photography, i should have known my calling. my nightmares included being partially blind. i could see, slightly--everything was fuzzy, opaque. everyone would laugh at me. i would get lost. i feared losing my sense of vision long before i found a profession and passion and love for a task that requires my own unique vision. i found my fear in a nightmare long before i knew it.

i don't have the usual anxiety dreams.
ok, so that's not true. i do have the usual anxiety dreams. i dream i'm pulling my teeth out. i dream i'm falling. i dream that i'm taking a test and everyone is finishing and i don't understand a single question. i run, but can't run fast enough to get away.

i can't even wrap my head around the complexity of dreaming. your brain creates a scene and plays it out while you sleep and can cause your true emotions to come forth? astounding. we can fly. we can speak fluent french. we change sexes. friends morph into other friends mid-story. we wake up crying. we talk in our sleep. we toss. we turn. and often, when remembered, it stirs us.
despite the fantasy of it all.

i've been sleepless this past week. i toss and turn and awake after brief, stress-filled dreams. i wake up with a knotted stomach in the morning. there is one dream that has haunted me the past year off and on, and i was reminded of it the other night. it isn't the usual anxiety dream. the nightmare varies, but always ends the same. i find myself surround by the most beautiful scenes. rich colors, interesting people, some of the most breathtaking things i've ever seen. and everything lines up to be remarkable photographs.
but, my camera doesn't work.
i try and try to press the shutter and nothing happens. i keep trying. to no avail. desperate to get the photo.

when i think about it, awake and out of bed, what i find more troubling than the broken camera and missing the photograph is that i never just put my camera down and enjoy the scene. i never truly see it.
instead, i frantically try to capture it. despite the fact that i never will.

my awake self is more afraid of being blind to that beauty than my nightmare of never catching it.

August 24, 2008

Kidney Story B-sides

I enjoy working on short and long documentary photostories. It's a pleasure to pick up where you left off with a subject and to have the subject be comfortable with you and give you access they wouldn't at a one-stop assignment.

One of my gripes, though, is the edit after it's all been shot. I debate back and forth between the beautiful/graphic images and the images that tell a story. Because space is often limited in the newspaper, I have to try and tell a story in 5 images, which means some of my favorite photos get kicked to the curb. (Or in this story's case, the photos filled with blood and guts from the 3.5 hours of kidney removal and implant surgery didn't pass the *Kellogg's Test and got kicked to the curb.)

*ie Would John Smith spit out his Frosted Mini-Wheats when he opens the paper in the morning and sees a kidney in a bloody pan? Um, yes, that's a possibility.

Here are some photos I like that didn't make my small newspaper edit.

also, I just got this sweet email:

"We Matched Right From the Beginning"

I found this Bible verse written on one of the countless cards sent to Alberta and Eric Ellis:
Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "He took our illnesses and bore our diseases."
Not to make Eric Ellis a prophet, but he did just that for his mother Alberta.
Eric gave his mother her life back.
He gave her the gift of a healthy kidney.

When Alberta Ellis was told by doctors in December that her kidneys had been damaged by congestive heart failure, she had not imagined how drastically her life would change in the coming year.
She had not imagined she would be tethered to a dialysis machine, having to rush back even from the grocery store to undergo dialysis four times a day – at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. She had not imagined that the same machine that kept her alive would take away her freedom.
She had not imagined she would end up with three kidneys in her body, or that one of them would be from her son Eric.
Of the Ellis' three children, Eric is always the first to help out. When he discovered that his mother was having health problems, his first thoughts were to move home and see if the two were compatible for a kidney transplant.
Although he knew the transplants are often much harder on the donor's body, Eric never wavered in his decision. "There was no stopping me," he said, grinning at his mother.
On Feb . 6 , mother and son discovered they were a match.
"I kinda had the feeling we would be," Eric said.
"We matched right from the beginning," his mother replied.
The two went into surgery on July 11. Eric had three holes cut into him for his laparoscopic surgery. Mrs. Ellis left surgery with 56 sutures and a healthy kidney.
When Eric awoke in a hospital room at MCG down the hall from his sleeping mother, he was in a lot of pain, but another sensation overpowered it .
"Emotionally, I felt real good doing it for my mom. Once it was over and I saw my mom, I felt a sense of closeness … a sense of fulfillment."
The two recovered together, which made it easier to sympathize with the weakness and aches. Mrs. Ellis' husband, Edward, cooked the two soup and became their personal nurse.
Although Mrs. Ellis must take 23 pills a day and have check-ups to make sure her body does not reject her son's kidney, she will have the freedom to garden and travel – two activities dialysis took away from her.
Eric and his mother have a bond very few people can claim.
"I know this will change my life. Now I will be able to pick up and go," Mrs. Ellis said. "I'm just glad it's behind us and we can look forward to our life and be healthy."

August 20, 2008


hats, disguises, surprises, candles, breasts, laughter. sounds like the weekend.

can't get you out of my head

August 14, 2008

The Launch of Luceo Images (or as I like to call it, 6 guys, a girl, and some photos)

I'm so very excited to (finally) announce the launch of Luceo Images, a photo collective comprised of myself and my very favorite photojournalists: David Walter Banks, Matt Eich, Kevin German, Chip Litherland, Tim Lytvinenko and Matt Slaby. (Tim Lytvinenko designed the Luceo site, as well as my personal portfolio site)

Luceo Images is a collection of photographers creating a space for fresh visual narratives. Luceo offers documentary, portraiture, and commercial photography as well as new media production on an assignment basis. Our photographers attempt to push the bounds of traditional imagery both in our personal and assignment work. We are based around the US as well as Southeast Asia and Mexico.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this since last December when Tim, Kevin, David, Matt Slaby and I met to discuss David's idea of joining forces. It was the first time I'd met some of these people, who I'd admired for quite some time.

I'm excited about what will happen next.
To keep updated, check out the Luceo Blog!

August 13, 2008

Alex's First Day of School

A reporter and I tagged along with Alex , 4, on his first day of school. I knew I liked Alex when I watched him, completely determined, putting his shoes on the wrong feet for 5 minutes at 7:15 am Monday.