Tuesday, September 27, 2011

along the coach roads i did ride.

a couple street scenes from ogallala, where our crew stopped for high school football on our way to college football in wyoming. i can't figure out this sign at the motel, is manchester united coming? wayne rooney and vidic? not likely.

also, i guess "planking" is passé. "owling" is where it's at.

Friday, September 16, 2011

i was caught in the middle of a railroad track.

i get why the omaha royals changed their name. i mean, why would a person buy an omaha royals hat when they can get a kc royals one? but i don't get why they decided to use this "typography" on their numbers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

everything is everything.

as expected, it seems stories from 9/11 are just pouring out of every media outlet, and most of it is just washing over me. (although some of it, like time's amazing project, is worth spending some time with. even though i haven't read, listened to, or watched that much, i can't help but reflect a little.

i was woken up by a phone call from my girlfriend, and she tried to explain what was happening. my initial concern was, "am i still going to be going up to the northwoods of minnesota to photograph police honor guard training for a few days?" i turned on the radio to npr (didn't have a tv or internet then) and tried to understand what was going on. after calling into the paper, i found out i would no be going anywhere. i tried calling my sister, who lived in nyc and sometimes jogged around the trade center, but didn't get an answer, which wasn't surprising.

the planes hitting the towers and the towers collapsing just played on a loop on the tvs in the newsroom. to keep busy, i think i drove around most of the day... i think the paper's editors wanted me to go to the legion hall to photograph vets. to me that seemed like an epic waste of time... i wanted to find something that would resonate with me and with the people in our community. it didn't seem like a shot of old men watching tv in a bar captured the emotion of the day. (plus, i figured i could go there after dark and get the same shot... years later, i recognize patterns in my work that were evident on that day.) as the sun set, i saw this boy giving a silent tribute of his own on a highway overpass.

(my old photo editor sent me this photo, which i thought was flipped, so my memory of ten years ago may not be crystal at times.)
this photo is nothing in comparison to the images we have all seen from new york that day, but i think it was important, nonetheless.

as i was walking to my apartment building that evening, my sister called to say she was ok. she said she volunteered with the red cross throughout the day in midtown manhattan.

 two weeks later, i was in nyc for the first time to hang out for a few days before a photo workshop. it was unbelievable to see new york for the first time, looking out over the city from the empire state building at dusk. watching the lights of manhattan turn on while drinking beer on a rooftop in brooklyn. a yankees game. people upon people and amazing tall buildings. but it my memory there is a strange confluence of excitement with fear and sadness. walls with photos and names taped to them of the missing. flowers laid on the ground. people everywhere downtown hugging. crying. standing teary-eyed and staring. i remember police seemed to be on every corner downtown. and then the grey ash. there were stores that were far enough away that didn't get the windows blown out, but when you looked inside, everything was monotone grey. there is a eugene richards photo which matches the feelings of my memory. it's a snow globe of new york, but the globe is covered in ash.

i didn't take many photos during my time in new york. i think i was a bit scared of carrying my camera around the big city. and i don't think i could have photographed a lot of what i had seen, anyway. i've gone many times since and taken lots of images, but that first trip and that period of my life helped change me quite a bit. i grew up in a reasonably small town in south dakota in the pre-internet days and the size of the world seemed beyond my comprehension, but those few months in 2001 helped me grasp how events, places and people are connected.

most of the time, big changes happen and you don't notice until later. this is one of those times when i think most people changed.