Monday, December 23, 2013

Luck


Philip B.J. Reid was one of the head FBI agents who cracked the Pan Am flight 103 case. Twenty-five years ago an airplane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland and 270 people died. Following a string of leads he and his team found the culprit, and that the crash was a act of terrorism. He said he solved the case because of luck.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Golf







This last weekend I was introduced to Golf in Naples, full force at the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout. After the rain cleared, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took home the prize.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reflection




We admit who we are when we look at our own reflection in the mirror.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Change


Kids roamed around and played inside King Richard's amusement center just a few weeks before the photograph was made. If you drive by the building today, or tomorrow, you'll see it has been demolished and in its place is a giant mound of dirt. Soon, it will be grounds for new vehicles to sell.

How quickly things can change.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Athlete of the year



These two are at the top of their game and were honored today in the paper for being such star athletes. Read about them here and here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Paint the beach


Another day along the beach in Southwest Florida.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Under my umbrella


During the last song at a public jazz concert, the ones with umbrellas got up to dance. Ilona and Helmut smiled and twirled along to the dixieland tunes. When the music stopped, I asked to take down their names for the newspaper. Ilona did all the talking, said that her husband has Alzheimer's, but that he won't miss a beat. They've been married for forever and want to stay that way for life.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Karaoke

I worked on a story about a group of folks that dine at New York Pizza & Pasta each Tuesday for karaoke night. They know each other because they've sung to each other for years at the establishment. Photographing funky and tight niche communities like this is so rewarding.








Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hands



It's October, which means we're in the middle of football season. On game day, I like to arrive well before it starts to photograph features that sparkle especially bright in the setting sunlight. It's funny how I can go back to an event and see something similarly, photograph it similarly, and only notice later when I'm sitting back and sifting through my photographs. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

They danced


They danced as the karaoke singer's voice exploded with dynamite that you feel with colors when you close your eyes.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Alone


When I want to be left alone, I notice others who do too.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fish


“Fish," he said softly, aloud, "I'll stay with you until I am dead.” 
― Ernest Hemingway  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Something to remember


When Marcos Ramirez tells people he buries the dead, they grimace. But, Marcos does not think of his work as something to look down upon.

 “Everyone has to die someday, and we take care of you,” he said. 

Marcos works at Palm Royale Cemetery & Mausoleum as a groundskeeper. He works with two other groundskeepers, Alex Campos and Rolando Quintana. Since Marcos has the most experience, six years total, he has been helping the other two guys along and training them when necessary.

Groundskeepers set up for the burial services. They level the ground for a gravesite. They dig holes and put coffins inside of them. They nurture the plants. They remove the weeds and trim the grass.

Together, these men keep the site beautiful.

“There is nothing scary about this place,” Marcos said. “I think it’s peaceful.”

Marcos knows that his job is something most people would not want to do. Most of us keep death away from our daily existence. But once we lose a loved one, and it enters our lives, the work that Marcos does becomes a dignified, rigorous craft. A funeral is a source of solace for the bereaved, and Marcos helps make it happen.

On a recent Tuesday morning, Marcos and Alex prepared a mausoleum crypt for a burial that was to happen later in the day. Alex, who has only been involved in this line of work for about three months, is confident about what the site will bring people.

“We’re putting something up to remember,” Alex said. “It is just like when you put a poster up on the walls of your house. It is to remember something nice.”

By 12 p.m. the people attending the service will gather around the mausoleum crypt. Marcos and Alex will stay in the background, unnoticeable to those present. Towards the end of the service they will make their way to the front, push the coffin inside the site and close the doors of the mausoleum crypt. It is a quiet, tense moment.

“We can’t show sadness,” Marcos said. “We have to be strong because we are doing the work and they are the ones who are suffering.”

Marcos wants everything to be perfect for the people that come to Palm Royale to say goodbye to someone they know.

“I want them to leave and say ‘them guys took care of us’,” Marcos said.








Wednesday, September 4, 2013

She wanted to dance






Nesta Eberle turned 105 today. She had a big birthday party at her nursing home and danced because that's what she wanted.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's more than a restaurant


The rubble behind Teonta and Dallas used to be a neighborhood staple called Nana's Diner. Nobody knows exactly why it burned, but arson is on everyone's mind.

Memories were formed inside the restaurant and Dallas, in the blue, practically grew up there. She was trying to get her grades up in school so by the time she turned 16 her mom would let her join the staff at Nana's.

Losing a piece of the past opens space for something new to fill the void.

"We'll make new memories," the owner Teonta said as she calmed Dallas's tears with a hug.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

All in the family

Sharing an "Our World" piece that printed Saturday,


The smell of fresh basil was seeping past the apartment doors and into the elevator shaft. It was 6 p.m. on a Thursday, and the Bergen family was cooking dinner.
Audrey, 6, the youngest of the Bergens, set the table with her oldest sister, Ally, and broke apart herbs for the tomato sauce. By 6:30 p.m., she was basking in the newly assigned title of chef.
Fewer than two years have passed since Audrey came to the United States, and one would never guess that she was not always part of the family. Audrey, like her two older sisters, was adopted from an orphanage in China.
“I could not have babies the normal way,” their mother, Amy, said. “Fifteen years ago, fertility treatment was not that effective, and competition for a healthy, white baby was high. We didn’t mind having a kid who didn’t look like us.”
After adopting her first baby, Ally, now 15, from China, Amy wanted to adopt the other two from China as well. That way, all of her children could bond over their birth country. Although Amy felt very confident about her decision, she was nervous each time she traveled to China to adopt because she was given so little information about each child.
Amy is now the mother of three girls. She said she feels no regrets about her decision: “It’s a leap of faith, but one worth taking.”
Ally stood nearby her younger sisters as they took control of the pasta sauce. She flipped through her iPhone for a video about her mom in the early stages of the adoption that aired on television. Annie leaned over her sister to watch the findings.
Ally said she is interested in going back to China. She wants to see where she came from and visit the orphanage where she spent the first 12 months of her life. But to her, Amy is her mom.
“These are my daughters,” Amy said. “There is no difference between biological and adopted.”
As a child, Amy used a stepstool to help her Italian grandmother prepare meals. Amy loves that her children naturally carry on the tradition.
“Annie stands on a stool just like me,” she said.
By 7 p.m., Amy and her three kids were around a table eating the dinner they made. It was a night like many others for the Bergens. These are the nights that make them family.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Live like a kid


I always want to be reminded of what it's like to live like a kid. They're so free. Like a river. They flow forward without holding back. One minute you're picking flowers, under the sun and by yourself. The next minute, you're whisked up by your grandma and fully accepting of her loving embrace.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Along the sea shore


It was beautiful as long as it lasted.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Things fall apart


"Things-places-moments-they can die slowly. They can fall apart. Crumble like boulders under the sky. But not us. We wink away like the flame of a candle. We pass like whispered breath. We are either alive or dead. Either beings or bodies. There is nothing in-between. 

"No matter how shattered or ravaged, if your mind isn't dead-if your soul still recognizes itself-you are alive. Complete, utter and whole. I know this, now. I don't need to ask for anyone's trust. It is true. 

"Abandon the sorrows that you think are slowly killing you. Disempower them, for no sorrow can unmake what has no seems to unsew. No griping and moaning in the night or yearning for a half understood finale will give it to you. It will come on its own, and only then after you have lived. However broken, however beaten, however bruised." 


-Evan Bingham Scofield, a man whose life was robbed from him two days ago.