Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Las Posadas




I had a really wonderful experience photographing a story for Naples Daily with writer Victoria Macchi. I had the gift of time to photograph with ease for this assignment. Las Posadas, a Spanish tradition and celebrated widely in Mexico was started in Collier County last year. It is celebrated on the 9 nights before Christmas and re-creates the search for shelter by Saint Joseph and Mary en route to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pride for the family

Xavier hugs his mom first after winning the playoff football game with his high school team.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Play by Ear

Troy Miles, 41, practices with an upright bass in his bedroom on Marco Island, Florida. He faces the corner, practicing for hours. The postion is most convenient for his right hand to press buttons on a tape player that he uses for background music. Troy was born blind. When he is practicing, he does so for himself. He does not think twice about which way he faces.

Troy says that because he lives in a world designed for those that can see, he often feels he is without control. An instrument is something he can handle with total ease.

"It gives me one of the main purposes in life."

The story is here.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Legs


About a thousand dressed in stilettos to participate in the annual stiletto run, a fundraiser for finding a cure to breast cancer.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feel like a lady

Dotty Sledge, dressed to the nines for an ice cream social.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Before the game

A mascot and cheerleaders wait for the high school football team to run through their line.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Love in Retirement

On a flamingo-pink couch, they sit side by side, their aged hands entwined. They each wear wedding rings, not from each other, but from a partner they both survived. After a life, long lived, David Merrick, 93, and Helen Wands, 87, found love once again.
The couple met at Lely Palms Retirement Community in Naples. Shortly after moving into the assisted-living center, David wanted to learn how to play bridge. That is how he met Helen.
After one of many sessions playing bridge together, Helen approached David and asked if he would join her outside.
"She reached over, took my hand, looked up at me in the dark and said, 'David, I'm so happy I met you,' " David recalled.
Those words were enough for David.
"It was so genuine. I won't forget that night," David said.
Just over a year after that declaration, David and Helen happily call themselves companions. They love one another, but value their privacy and reside separately. David routinely stops by Helen's apartment so they can share a meal or play bridge together.
Before moving into Lely Palms, David and Helen felt isolated. After their spouses passed away, they each lived alone in homes with empty rooms and unused space. Initially, they resisted a transition to Lely Palms, but after a short while, they embraced their new environment.
"I suggest that anyone who is lonely go to a rest home like this," Helen said.
"And play bridge," David added.
The room exploded with laughter. David reached over to gently touch Helen's face. She responded with a smile.
"I feel like I'm 39 again, not 93," David said.


Friday, September 28, 2012

First

I finished first a few times. When I was ten, I received first place at a gymnastics competition. Unfortunately, teddy-bears were awarded that day instead of medals. In college I received the top grade in an astronomy class. I'm not a competitive person, but I admit that finishing first feels good. It felt good because at the time, gymnastics and astronomy were important to me.

Last week, David was first in line to buy the new iPhone 5. He is a college student, but cares so much about technology that he arrived to the store the night before. He did well in his beat.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isaac that never was

I'm noticing that the weather in Florida is moody. A sheet of rain will start pounding down, when the sun was shining only a minute before. The same happens with hurricanes. Last week, we prepared for hurricane Isaac. Food was stocked, windows were paneled, and evacuations were ordered. When Isaac arrived Southwest Florida, he was only a tropical storm. Instead of hunkering down, people came out to marvel at him.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Signs of love

Produced my first photo column here at Naples Daily. The idea is that the photographer writes a short story that expands on a photograph of their choosing. It's a chance to share whatever the photographer wants. There's a lot of freedom and creativity in space given to a photographer on a rotating basis. 



With the delicate press of her fingertips, Pat Hughes rests her body against the pool table. Encouraging her grandson, Brian Francis, to pick the next ball and aim, she touches her heart, signing the word "please." The room fills with the cracking sound of one ball hitting another.
Pat keeps close, circling around the table with Brian as he sinks all but two balls. The prize for this game: a kiss for grandma.
"I'm very protective," Pat said.
Brian was born mute, with Down syndrome and with clear vision in only his right eye.
"The doctor said that I might as well put him in an institution because he won't live past 3. Now, he's 43."
When Brian was 4, Pat, who had already been caring for Brian, gained parental custody of her grandson. Although Brian's mother is present in his life, Pat is the main caregiver.
"He needs me, and I need him," Pat said.
In the early stages of development, Brian was lucky to have a special education program that catered to his needs. When instructors started teaching him sign language, Pat applied for a grant to create a similar course in the evenings for adults. The grant covered everything from the teachers to baby-sitters for children of the attendees.
Pat has been teaching Brian independence. So on a recent Wednesday, when Brian plucked a bright yellow Batman shirt from the dirty laundry hamper, Pat allowed him to wear the already stained garment, even if she wasn't happy with his choice.
Over the years, Pat also has taught Brian how to help. When she prepares lunch, Brian pulls plates from an overhead cupboard.
Brian has also learned to swim, and has been swimming with the Special Olympics for 35 years. At other times of the year, Brian also participates in Special Olympics boccie ball, bowling, golf and paddleboarding. With exception of 24 days when Pat was recovering from a surgery, she has been present at every practice.
After swim practice, Pat and Brian climb back into their Chrysler minivan and make their way home. On Sunday, they will return for Brian's second swim practice of the week. He plans to swim for many more.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The first day of school


The first day of anything evokes a strong mix of feelings. They stand out for us to remember.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We have a pool now


Last month I spent some time in Phoenix visiting with some Dream Act kids I photographed the year before. It was hot when I walked into Francisco's new house. He and his family moved since I last saw him. "We have a pool now," he told me with pride.

Francisco isn't as active in the Dream Act community anymore. He recently became a dad. Between that and work, it has taken a lot of his extra time. He did find an affordable route to continue his education. There is a community school in a nearby reservation offering discounted classes. He attended last year and will start another round of classes in the fall.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Goodbye, for now

Taking fond memories away from San Francisco, I moved to Florida. At the end of last month, I started a staff position at Naples Daily News. I know little of what is here for me, but familiarity has already begun. Thinking of what I will find keeps me looking up.

Friday, July 13, 2012

When they were young


A change can happen in an instant. So fast, we can hardly capture them. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Being There

I wanted to remember the feeling of being there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creativity


San Francisco is a revolving door of celebrations. But, Pride is special here. San Francisco is a city where people of any sexual orientation can feel a part of the community. Pride is a time to celebrate that. Walking outdoors, and into the celebrations, I love how much I saw creativity come out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Proposition B for the SF Chronicle






Had a fun day of shooting last week for the SF Chronicle. They sent me out on election night to cover the shake-up around Proposition B and protecting SF's historic landmarks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Shauna & Andy








I met Shauna back when I was still trying to decide exactly how to go about being a photojournalist. We were servers at Destino Restaurant in San Francisco. She's near and dear and I was thrilled to participate in her wedding as the photographer. Here's to Shauna and Andy. A lovely, lovely couple. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yosemite Moonbow






The concrete road guiding people to Yosemite is like a rolled out red carpet, inviting us in to experience the beauty. With the Ahwahnee Hotel, averaging at $500/night and Camp 4 averaging ground space at $5/night, Yosemite is a little something for everyone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grass

Sometimes when I see manicured grass, all I want are trees.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Distinctively in Apostrophe Magazine

Distinctively found another home in Apostrophe Magazine. I was really happy about this because it's a magazine for and about people with developmental disabilities. After coming close to the family in Distinctively, I know how important sources like this can be. The twins parents, Jonathan and Kim, didn't have a support system when their daughter was born with Down syndrome. They felt alone and a bit scared. In time, they developed their own support. Their efforts extended the area that the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio covers. They also created a monthly support group for parents of children with developmental disabilities. 

Below is the pdf of what Apostrophe printed in their spring issue.