August, 2011 Archives

Stuck on Stickey

August 31st, 2011 Permalink

Thanks to the Newman family, this summer I had the honor of meeting the greatest chicken on earth.  Born with a crooked beak, Stickey was far from an outcast in the Newman hen house.  Even though she had to eat watered down food, she laid the most beautiful little blue eggs.  Her antics and funny [...]

Thanks to the Newman family, this summer I had the honor of meeting the greatest chicken on earth.  Born with a crooked beak, Stickey was far from an outcast in the Newman hen house.  Even though she had to eat watered down food, she laid the most beautiful little blue eggs.  Her antics and funny twisted face made everyone happy.  And my angel food cupcakes made with her little eggs?  Makes me cry just to think of it.  So guess what?  Crooked beak, hard worker and awesome personality = a perfect 10.  (At least in the hen world). 

Reason Number 2 – Pastor Lawrence Harding

August 5th, 2011 Permalink

Lawrence Harding was my first photo essay.  I managed to get it published in the Post Tribune with help from friend and photo editor Andy LaValley.  Lawrence Harding (and people like him) is/are the reason I picked up a camera.  Shooting famous people can be thrilling but it doesn’t compare to shooting someone like this [...]

Lawrence Harding was my first photo essay.  I managed to get it published in the Post Tribune with help from friend and photo editor Andy LaValley.  Lawrence Harding (and people like him) is/are the reason I picked up a camera.  Shooting famous people can be thrilling but it doesn’t compare to shooting someone like this man.  I think a lot of  photojournalists choose their careers in order to give life and legitimacy to the people in this world who are overlooked and undervalued.

I grew up near Gary, Indiana and the racial lines were very clearly drawn when I was growing up.  I used to go there as a social worker in the 90′s and I felt cheated that such a divide existed.  When I left social work, there wasn’t really a reason to go there anymore, so when I began to learn photography, I drove there looking for interesting photos and people. One day, a very small white and blue church caught my eye and I knew something interesting was going on inside.

I drove by several times over the course of a month – scared to knock.  I finally mustered up the courage and when I knocked, a man swung open a door in a long black robe, looked at me and said, “Praise the Lord!”

He welcomed me into his small church – Lively Stone Pentecostal.  He was trying to get his church going and besides a few community “revivals”, he only preached to his family.  His son played the drums and his wife and daughter sat in the audience.  I followed them and photographed them for the next few months.  The family welcomed me into their world and I learned what many outside of Gary would not.   Without a camera – I would have had no reason to knock on his door.  Sometimes I wish everyone had a camera so they would have a reason to go into places they would have no reason to visit otherwise.  They too could see the faith and strength of a beautiful family like this in such an “ugly” place.

I too am drawn to magazine covers with Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt – but why do we pick them up when we know better?  Why does crap and banality continue to thrive when there are people like this man who are out there doing so much more?

Mr. Harding told me of a check he found underneath his door one day.  It was for $30.00 and it had a note on it saying “Keep on doing what you are doing.”  The last time I talked to him, he had to abandon his little church and he became a guest preacher at another larger church in Gary.  Sadly, his young wife died of a brain tumor.  I will always be grateful that me and my camera were touched by this generous, beautiful family.