I thought about doing one of those ‘best of’ lists for 2012, you know the sort. Then New Years passed by and I was still thinking about whether or not I liked this photo or that photo more than this one and I scrapped the whole idea.
Instead, what I did is pick some interesting photos from last year with stories behind them. They won’t necessarily be my best technically but they’re more interesting for me to talk about.
In October I was asked to stand in for another event photographer (@butterfly20sl) at an after show gala for Kleinhan’s. Now the last time I was at this place it was to watch my brother’s graduation and grumble along with the parents as the then new principal, instead of giving an inspiring speech, complained about her former students. Anyhow, the show was featuring a rising star pianist named Joyce Yang who discovered at the BPO and who was returning as part of a world tour. My job was to take a few posed shots in front of the M&T wall and then spend an hour or so getting candids down by the bar.
I noticed after wandering around for thirty minutes or so the performer finally relaxed enough to have a drink and start talking casually. I was working around the bar trying to get some shots with Ms. Yang and the members/sponsors and then I caught this one. Not exactly useful for say, brochures or Facebook but it looks like she’s describing some violence done to someone along with a demonstration. Don’t mess with the pianist.
The next one is really two photos but this guy kept popping up at the places Equinox was playing. Equinox is a jazz band that my friend Jamie Kubala, a middle school art teacher, is the drummer in. They’ve played at the Burchfield-Penney, Ashkers, Parkside Lodge and generally draw a crowd of dancers with them. One dancer who is always there is this man, whose name I can’t recall, and he dances all night and with every woman there young and old alike. He’s certainly up there in years but he didn’t sit out a single number at any event I’ve seen him dance at. So if you’re ever at one of these places when Jazz is playing keep an eye out for him.
This next photo is all sorts of annoying to me in terms of composition because we needed the very short winner near her work and we couldn’t even find a chair for her to stand on. We certainly weren’t allowed to change the order of the works either. Tut tut. This was at an awards show for student art works at the Albright Knox and this girl won at the middle school level for Hoover Middle School in Tonawanda. This photo is on here because this photo, cropped so you can’t see her winning piece, is my first photo published in the news. Two very small local papers, the Ken-Ton Bee and the Record Advertiser, published this photo. Unfortunately the doofus who submitted work (who was quitting at the end of that school year, so yeah) didn’t credit me and we didn’t get the info to the papers in time. Oh well.
The next few photos I’ll be brief on individually. The first one is another work of mine that saw publication in print this year as the cover photo for the Seneca Holdings quarterly newsletter. Seneca Holdings is the investment arm of the Seneca Nation of Indians and they send out this newsletter to each enrolled member as they are considered like shareholders in some sense. The one after is a shawl dancer from this year’s Allegany Pow-Wow (held every 3rd weekend in July except this time.) The last image is a pair of endearingly awkward teens from the Nya:Weh Village at the Erie County Fair who caught my attention while I was using them to test out a new lens.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading on and thinking about local native culture and with my fiancé now working for the Seneca nation a lot of the political issues are coming home. Both of her uncles ran in this year’s Seneca election (they didn’t win) and I had the opportunity to meet and talk with former President Rob Porter over the holidays who has some very interesting ideas about the future of their nation. He also introduced me to a very expensive whiskey that I’ll probably never have again but appreciated all the same.
Now this one has a disclaimer: the baby didn’t eat the light and her mother was right there to make sure of it. No children harmed in the making of, etc. My fiance’s friend had a baby last year and so, of course, holiday photos were in order. Since this had to be done in the home and as cheaply as possible we tacked up some wrapping paper and got out as many empty boxes and Christmas-y props we could find. Then we removed all the sharp, dangerous, dirty, and otherwise baby-dangerous items. Gabby, our subject, hadn’t napped but seemed to be in generally good spirits. She put everything she could in her mouth, including the wrapping paper, and planned on doing the same with the glowing Christmas lights. I was pretty happy with the photos we got and, more importantly, so was Gabby’s mother who now had her Christmas card pictures.
Finally, the last one is of my mother and grandmother on Thanksgiving day. My grandmother is a few weeks away from ninety-three years which is pretty damn old. She used to tell us stories about riding her horse to school in rural Missouri (it was just as bad back then as it is now socially and politically) in the 1920s and 30s and how she lost her ‘red-headed friend’ in the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s not just a bad movie for her! She fell and broke her hip early in 2012 and has finally recovered to the point where she can move around relatively freely. Getting her on that lumpy couch she won’t get rid of is a lot of progress.