May, 2011 Archives

So many colors, so much confusion

May 28th, 2011 Permalink

I had my first assignment today in Washington state for The Weekly Herald.  I was driving to the Washington High School State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, WA  thinking it finally felt like a normal Friday night.   I was happy to be shooting and heading to a high school [...]

I had my first assignment today in Washington state for The Weekly Herald.  I was driving to the Washington High School State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, WA  thinking it finally felt like a normal Friday night.   I was happy to be shooting and heading to a high school field once again.  I got out of the car and everything felt like it did in Illinois.   The smell of the grass and the concessions, families hurrying to get to the field, teenagers joking, pushing each other around and goofing off.

I was disoriented at first because for a moment I felt like I was back in Chicago.  Then I looked around at all of the colors and the different uniforms and not one high school was even remotely familiar to me.  At one point I saw green and yellow and I thought “Oh, there’s Glenbrook North.”   Being so unfamiliar with the schools,  I was thankful that I only had one guy and one team to shoot.  So,  I took some time to shoot a few feature photos.

I was inspired by my friend Rob Hart’s great state track photos , so to deal with a little home sickness, I had a shoot out in my head with him.  We used to  have “shoot outs” at the same assignment and then have other people judge to see who “won”.   Today I didn’t care who won.  I was just glad to feel home again.  

Happy Birthday to the Athlete and the Intellectual

May 26th, 2011 Permalink

Today is my father’s birthday and I want to wish him the best day ever.  He deserves it.  My father is an educator, an athlete, a coach and a leader.  He is the rare man who loves the White Sox and Puccini and I will never forget him going from sitting in front of the [...]

Today is my father’s birthday and I want to wish him the best day ever.  He deserves it.  My father is an educator, an athlete, a coach and a leader.  He is the rare man who loves the White Sox and Puccini and I will never forget him going from sitting in front of the game on television to lying in the middle of the living room floor with his headphones on, listening to his favorite opera, La Boheme.

For much of his adult life he made a teacher’s wage.  He was a high school history teacher, a football coach, an assistant principal and an athletic director.  I used to beg my mother to stay up on Friday nights to watch him on Channel 50 ( a local NW Indiana station in the 70′s) to watch his high school sports commentary with his friend Les Milby.  He looked so important in his orange Channel 50 jacket, discussing scores and plays.  I was so proud thinking “That’s my dad.”  Now that I shoot sports I think I needed to find a way to keep his passion for the sidelines alive.

Everyone seemed to know and like him.  We couldn’t go anywhere without someone yelling “John!  John Tennant!”  Students, parents, business leaders, Northwest Indiana residents of all types would locate and shake my father’s hand no matter where we were.  They still do.  I’ll never forget being in a boat, in the middle of a lake and seeing a man on a pier at least 500 feet away yelling “John!  John Tennant!”  It made me realize what a good dad I had.

On his summer break, his love for history and travel took us to all corners of the country  and despite my childhood boredom at too many battlefields to remember, I thank him for expanding my horizons with so little pay.   Sometime in the late 70′s early 80′s I took the photo above of his hands driving us somewhere across the country.  Sometimes he even let me grab the wheel for a moment.   When I started to swerve away from the road, he gently guided me back. Those hands say everything to me.   Loyalty, balance, and discipline.  These are his mantras.  Thank you dad for helping me to keep my hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.   Have a very Happy Birthday, I love you.

James’ Friday Night

May 15th, 2011 Permalink

Spent some time walking around North Tacoma on Friday evening near my friend’s home. I saw families in their yards, mothers with strollers, and kids on skateboards. Then I saw James. James had a long board and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. “I’m gonna do it”, he said to his brother Nick. “Call [...]

Spent some time walking around North Tacoma on Friday evening near my friend’s home. I saw families in their yards, mothers with strollers, and kids on skateboards. Then I saw James. James had a long board and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. “I’m gonna do it”, he said to his brother Nick. “Call 911 if you need to.”

James told me he hadn’t been on his skateboard in 10 years. “I’m old. This skateboard is older than these young punks out here, but I’m gonna show them.” And he did- kind of.

Outside is America

May 10th, 2011 Permalink

Driving my way across the country from Chicago to Seattle – shooting what I can out the window without killing myself.  Here are some photos from Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. As I drive, I am already missing some of my favorite people and photographers. Tamara Bell , Rob Hart, Joel Lerner, Jason Brown, Allison [...]

Driving my way across the country from Chicago to Seattle – shooting what I can out the window without killing myself.  Here are some photos from Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

As I drive, I am already missing some of my favorite people and photographers. Tamara Bell , Rob Hart, Joel Lerner, Jason Brown, Allison Williams , Frank Polich, Chuck Cherney, Heather Eidson, Shauna Bittle, Scott Strazzante, Chris LaFortune,, Warren Winter, Brian Valentin, Geoff Scheerer, Jon Langham, and Andy Lavalley Thank you for all you have done to help me in my journey. Thank you most of all for your friendship.

Virginia Louise Keller

May 9th, 2011 Permalink

Happy Mother’s Day to the most beautiful woman I know. (your dad found some great light)

Happy Mother’s Day to the most beautiful woman I know. (your dad found some great light)

Independence Day

May 4th, 2011 Permalink

One of the main reasons I have always loved Bruce Springsteen is that he had a conflict between romanticizing/loving home and needing to leave it behind.  I left home and moved to Chicago about 15 years ago, but I have always needed to keep it near.  My parents and many of the neighbors I grew [...]

One of the main reasons I have always loved Bruce Springsteen is that he had a conflict between romanticizing/loving home and needing to leave it behind.  I left home and moved to Chicago about 15 years ago, but I have always needed to keep it near.  My parents and many of the neighbors I grew up with have remained in my old neighborhood in Northwest Indiana.  Nick was one of them.  He and his wife Linda live across the street from my parents and their daughter Julie was one of my best childhood friends.

Nick was like a Springsteen song to me. He was a hard working man who was employed at Inland Steel – a tough guy who cried like a baby when his only son left to join the military.  My parents were teachers in an area of Indiana where most of my friend’s parents worked in the mills.  Nick personified some of  Springsteen’s songs when I saw him get up everyday and go to work in a dangerous place in order to raise his 3 children.  He built the home you see in the picture, collected his retirement and bought a few old cars to fix up.

When I come home for holidays, I watch him work tirelessly in his yard, and I see his pride and love for what he built with his own hands.  He doesn’t need anything else – he doesn’t need fancy vacations, 4 star restaurants, or a more exclusive, desirable address.  I envy him sometimes.

Today while I was getting ready to leave for my new, more desirable address thinking about how I could almost just stay in my old neighborhood, live next door to my parents and be happy, I saw Nick outside.  He said,  “What are you doing Suz, why are you going?  I guess it’s just your generation and I don’t get it.”

Sometimes I don’t either.