A picture can speak volumes.
A black and white picture can remove distractions.
The face can invoke emotion.
The eyes can pierce your soul.
On Friday in middle schools, high schools and colleges around the U.S. students will be observing the annual Day of Silence. This year I was honored with the task of capturing images of Saint Martin's University faculty and staff who volunteered for a poster campaign. These photos are just a sample from the sessions last week.
Started in 1996 by students at the University of Virginia, The Day of Silence's goal among many is to bring awareness to LGBTA bullying and harassment in schools. Students take a vow of silence during the day (as long as they can, however they can manage) and explain what they are doing with posts to social media, wearing shirts and handing out cards to those who are curious.
While preparing for these sessions I contemplated having articles and other media concerning recent events for the participants to soak in before opening my shutter. As a method actor (yeah, I did a little acting in my younger years...) I thought it might help bring to the surface more authentic emotions. By the time we started I had decided against it and it proved to be the right call. Each participant had pure, honest looks that accurately portray the ambition of the project.
News articles appear on my Facebook feed daily regarding LGBTQA harassment, legal fights against Marriage Equality and struggles for love and understanding from friends, family and the society at large. It seems to me that a program aimed at bringing an end to bullying and the use of abhorrent, despicable speech is one that needs our attention.
I hope this endeavor sparks conversation, deep thoughts and powerful emotions. What emotions and thoughts do these images invoke in you? I would love to read about them in the comments section!
This weekend I attended the annual Saint Martin's University Luau for the first time. I wasn't hired for the event and only brought my camera on the request of my wife to take a group photo but I quickly learned that bringing my camera somewhere without capturing what I deem interesting is not an option. For the last 16 months I had heard about this event and how much fun was to be had. I was not disappointed. Not in the least.
First let me tell you about the music. So much fun! Two players, one on bass and a singer on guitar/ukulele, provided sounds that an angry honey badger would stop and sing along to. As a person who avoids dancing in public at all costs I was shaking my hips and humming to the music with everyone else in the crowd. These two gave the audience a great opening act that invited all to embrace a soothing atmosphere for the night. Well done sirs!
You can't talk about a Luau without talking about food. Yummy, yummy, oh so yummy food. My personal favorite was the pork but other palate satisfying options included macaroni, salad, rice and poi. Kudos to the fine people who prepared these dishes.
Next comes the majority of the entertainment, dancing. These lovely ladies are SMU staff and they started with a fine performance indeed. In all fairness, most of these dancers are personal friends of mine and one is my wife so I just might be a bit biased. :)
The staff were followed by many dances by SMU students. This invigorated the crowd and induced multiple rounds of hoots and hollers. At times the outbursts felt a little awkward to me but the previous weekend I was at a burlesque show so what do I know. On a technical level the choreography looked great and the execution seemed well rehearsed. A nice job by all who made the effort.
For this photographer though, it was the kids who stole the show. Lead to the stage with many others to shake and dance, these three kids were going for broke and brought the house down! I'll let the next few photos speak because words don't do them justice.
Things got a little intense during the final round. This photo is actually a bad timing shot but how hilarious does it look, right?!? All three were named winners and in all fairness received prizes. So many smiles emerged on the faces in the audience and on stage.
I feel safe in saying you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in attendance who didn't have a fantastic time. The night was filled with smiles, laughs and great performances. I will keep an eye out for next years Luau and save that date ASAP. You should too!
Over the weekend I scored a pass to shoot the Blackheart Burlesque show put on by Suicide Girls while stopped at the Showbox in Seattle, WA. They were on their way to Canada and decided to visit the Pacific Northwest.
WARNING: Some of the following, while not technically containing nudity, is certainly NSFW. Please use common sense and avoid clicking if you'd rather not see that sort of content.