Tag Archives: portraits

Mr. and Mrs. Dillon

You can’t have a 4th of July wedding without fireworks, sparklers or both! Kirstin and Tyler didn’t disappoint! It was a fun-filled holiday, celebrating with both of their families just before they jetted off to start their marriage in California! I know just how much their families miss them and so this post is mainly for them to reminisce the joy and family filled day!

Venue: Hidden Hollow Farm

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Sam, Cville’s very own bike man

One thing I’m sure of, photography has taught me to see. To look around. Even in the smallest of towns. Through seeing I found that there are so many interesting people to be photographed. So many people with stories to be told.

Many of you have seen him. He’s the guy riding around town on a bicycle with the impressive handle bars. Sometimes he’s in camo, sometimes simply a flannel and converse shoes, but always wearing a mustache. He’s actually twitter famous (@CvilleBikeMan), but that’s besides the point. I’ve been determined to photograph him for months and as fate would have it I got my chance this past weekend.  I rolled up to my studio downtown and he was walking out of one of the local eateries gearing up to take off on his famous bike. I introduced myself and thankfully he didn’t find it creepy when I told him to follow me to an alley to do these photos. We talked for a second. I told him to stop by the studio if he saw my door open and that I would give him some prints. Today, he did just that.

It turns out the Crawfordsville bike man has a name, Sam. He was knowledgeable, a bit of a rebel and not a person to conform to society and how it tells us to define ourselves. He said he has his driver’s license, but prefers to ride his bike for exercise. He talked politics, which I wasn’t all that surprised about. He has two bikes and is looking into a third, sometimes he uses the horn on them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want him to stop by again.

In the end, if you take anything from this post it should be this. Take a look around. See people. We actually are all very different from one another and there are so many stories to be told. Find the rebels in the crowd, those not afraid to be who they are or are deciding for themselves who they want to be. Be inspired by Sam.

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I do what I want, kind of.

As I mentioned in my last post I recently moved into a new studio downtown and it’s been an incredible experience so far. However, the thoughts of “where do I go from here” and “who am I” often consume me and the struggle to be who I am as an artist and to grow to be better at that is a bit much at times. One of my favorite photographers once said, “We break the rules because we aren’t interested in following anything or anyone but our own hearts.” This blew my mind. That. That is exactly what I want in this endeavor. A rebel of the craft, photographing people with stories to tell. Photographing the real. I’m interested in the chaos of families and embracing the mess of full framed emotion. I want to photograph love stories and push couples to openly express their raw emotions towards one another. The formal photo isn’t enough for me.

Meet Marcheta Dixon. She owns La Rose Antique Mall on Main st. in downtown Crawfordsville. I think it’s a rule that if you own an antique store you must be a good story teller. I went in there originally looking for a coffee table, but shortly left to go get my camera so I could come back and photograph her. I’m not sure what interested me initially about her, the ginormous photo of her talking with former President Bill Clinton or listening to her talk about the huge collection of sports memorabilia displayed all around the store. I know you’re wondering how I could go from the first paragraph of this post to Marcheta, but the thing is I see a lot of myself in her. She’s a bit of a rebel, a story teller and straight bad A. Did I mention that photo is her correcting Bill Clinton on which college Crawfordsville was home to? That she contemplated taking the photo down because it caused some negative feedback for her store, but decided not to because in the end the image was about the experience not the politics. And besides, it’s her store and she can display what she wishes!

Below are the photos I took while at the store. Stop in and see her if not only to buy things, but to look at her collection of letter jackets and high school sports memorabilia from around the county. It’s incredible and won’t disappoint. And don’t forget to ask her about her experience meeting the former president. Also, find a way to do what you want in life. To follow your own heart. To occasionally break the rules.

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Mr. and Mrs. Welcher

To say I’ve been able to photograph some amazing brides and grooms this year would be an understatement. Here we have Jess and Adam. Adam told people I made the Forbes 30 under 30 list this year. I mean it’s not true, but maybe someday ha! Jess wore a flower crown and I wanted to die right there on the floor in their getting ready room. The entire day was relaxed and special and hot. It’s possible they brought the heat with their good looks and love for one another. See for yourself and don’t act like you won’t say good heavens when you see them

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Mr. and Mrs. Sells

Do you remember the couple whose engagement photos we did with the planes? The couple that straight looked like they walked off of a runway or GQ magazine spread? Yeah, those two recently got married and I can’t even with their wedding. Literally at a loss of words to describe the love between the two of them. I knew photographing their wedding would be about waiting for those silent moments, the secret love filled looks they gave to only each other, but then jumping on the spontaneous candid moments. Their hearts and souls are literally filled with gold and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to share their day! Now then, laugh, cry  and enjoy the love with a peek of their day below!

Flowers: Julie’s Flowers 

Hair: Arica Graham and Hilary Blatherwick

Makeup: The Makeup Studio by Danielle Wilson

 

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A mustache, polka-dot sort of session.

You know a couple is going to be great when they not only go with the flow of resorting to plan b,c and d because plan A was immediately out the window due to a few minor unfortunate events (random rain shower and a few closed venues), but also when the guy walks up with an amazing mustache and the bride to be is wearing a polka-dotted dress with vibrant red flowers in her hair. It was the first time I met Cary, groom to be, and I’m pretty sure my first sentence to him went as such, “if I was a guy and didn’t have a mustache like yours, I would be thoroughly disappointed.” I patted myself on the back for that little unnecessary ice breaker. Unnecessary, no doubt because they were one of the most down to earth, fun and silly couples I have ever met. I’m not convinced they didn’t watch a few seasons of Americas Next Top Model the few weeks prior to our session, because they were so easy in front of the camera. No, like seriously. Facial expressions, laughing on cue came naturally. Tyra and her smize had nothing on Tiffany’s on point eye contact and serious face.

Below is a preview of the awesomeness this couple exudes. Take a look!

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India stole my heart

So I went to India and it stole my heart. The people, my surroundings, Holi Fest, not so much the food (the exception being the cookies we ate that were made by a man on the street), the beach and rooftop sunsets. I couldn’t have asked for a better first go at international travel.

The Beginning:

Traveling to Chicago to fly out of O’Hare, I rode in a taxi from one of my friends apartments to the airport with a driver that just so happened to be an Indian man. I literally thought to myself, “how perfect this is to start a journey to India with a taxi ride with Dillip, the driver.” His eyes literally lit up when I told him where I was going, almost like he was having flashbacks of memories of the time he lived there. They lit up even more when I told him I was flying Air India and he then informed me that “if I want a drink, they’ll give me a drink, no problem.”

Dillip dropped me off and I checked in. The only anxiety that came was the thought of making sure I got to the right gate and on time. I did, and then I sat. For a really long time. Until finally we were able to board the HUGE plane. Did I mention I got a direct flight from Chicago to Delhi? 16 hours of flight time. I watched three movies, almost read an entire book and wrote in my journal all the reasons I dislike long plane rides. I then slept and tried to prepare myself for the dramatic time difference.

I arrived in Delhi about 30 minutes early so I sat and waited for Katie and Zach, my travel buddies for the next ten days aka the A team, which we were later called. While waiting on a bench just outside the airport lobby, I met a woman around the same age as me. She kept me company while I waited by giving me a brief history of India. She was incredible. When I saw red hair through the crowd that was unmistakably Katie’s,  I said my goodbyes to the lady as she wished me farewell and safe travels. Katie, Zach and I hopped into a small van and India began. No like literally, the adventure began because that is exactly what it is when you travel by car, rick shaw, bike, motorcycle or scooter on any road in India. One big scary adventure. The rules of the road are slim to none and amazing. Horns scream through the air, but you never see any road rage. Three lane highway, they’ll fit eight across. One motorcycle, five passengers including a woman riding side saddle holding a baby, no problem. It was unbelievable. More unbelievable was the road leading up to our hotel. People were everywhere. Sitting, standing, riding and selling things. Lots of things. Accompanied by circuits of alleyways, one which included the entrance to our home away from home for the next five days. It had running hot showers and wifi so we were stoked.

The reason we came to Delhi was to photograph Holi Festival. What we didn’t realize was that aside from Holi fest being messy because of the colorful powder being thrown on people it is also very wet. When we started to come up with a game plan for the day, we quickly realized you can’t plan for Holi.  What we did discover quickly, was that in order to photograph some really great stuff we would have to travel through the wet dirty alleys. Which meant risking getting five gallon buckets of water thrown on us from the tops of buildings, sprayed with aerosol cans filled with colorful foam 2 inches from our faces and being ambushed by kids with water balloons and really great aim. It. Was. Awesome. When it all was said and done we fully experienced Holi and had the pink stained hair and skin to prove it.

The next morning following Holi, Katie and I woke up at 6 am. We headed to the Taj Mahal. Road a carriage pulled by a camel up to the entrance, and declined the offer to ride the camel instead of sit in the carriage.  We also declined to buy a keychain from another young boy that followed us up to the entrance.  We did, however, buy a ticket to go inside the Taj. I can now literally say I stood in the Taj Mahal and sat on the back steps that overlooked the water. While many of the locals wanted their photos taken with us (apparently that’s a common thing) we took the typical photo of each of us leaning on the Taj and holding it up, in which we have no regrets about no matter how cheesy and how ridiculous we looked doing it. We left with photos, memories and a keychain. The kid was persistent.

Chennai:

After our time in Delhi we hopped on a plane to Chennai. It was  the complete opposite of Delhi in that where we stayed was a short walk away from the beach and the horns from the road were drowned out by wide open spaces and fresh air. It was beautiful and the hottest.

Our goal throughout our time there was to work alongside Hands On Houses (www.handsonhouses.com). An organization that builds homes for mostly widows and disabled men and women. Our job as the A team was to interview and capture the stories of these men and women who have received houses. I loved every part of this. The people were incredible along with their stories. I can’t thank Karla and Andy, as well as Margie and Don enough for letting me tag along for this experience and to learn about India directly from the people who live there and experience it daily. I also can’t thank Suneera, our translator, enough for the many words she taught me and being so kind even when I pronounced them completely wrong or forgot them day in and day out.

My memories from Chennai, the sunset from the roof, helping men pull a ginormous fishing net in on the beach, talking with the widows and families who have received the homes, working with the team and even eating at the burger joint on my last night will always have a special place in my heart. Along with India as a whole.

Coming home: 

At first, I was unsure if I was just tired from jet lag or if India had made me a more humble person. I knew it would help shape a part of me and I was completely open to take in the experience as a whole.  I missed India, though and I was bored at home. I was gone for two weeks and missed home, but I missed the relaxed day-to-day living that accompanied being in India. I went back to my day job and soon fell back into my day-to-day routine. I relived my experience through editing my photographs and telling my stories to anyone that would listen. The truth is India stole a small piece of my heart. The experience both humbled me and taught me so much about who I want to be and how to be better. It taught me patience and simplicity (except in an Indian airport, there’s nothing simple about the way those work) and how to be happy. It taught me more than I could ever write down in a blog post. I got to India, experienced it and survived to tell about it.

Photographs:

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Faces of MUFFY

I first became aware of MUFFY a few months back when I was given the opportunity to photograph a slow pitch softball game between the Montgomery County Fire Fighters vs. the Crawfordsville Police Department. The game had one idea at heart and that was to raise funds for The Montgomery United Fund For You, MUFFY.

Now, I had heard of MUFFY before, but never quite understood the magnitude of the generosity it contributed to my community. It wasn’t until I was assigned to cover the slow pitch game that I really started to understand the affect MUFFY had on people all around the county.

So then, after being inspired by what they do, the ideas and planning for a personal project involving MUFFY and HUGE photographs was born. Inspired by the Inside Out Project I wanted to stay true to their concept of pasting large-scale photographs to the outside of a building, putting on full display the things we care about in our community. We got permission to use a building in the heart of downtown Crawfordsville and MUFFY was on board and willing to get the word out about the project in order to find volunteers that didn’t mind getting their photo taken. We set out a goal of eight photographs, we got 24. It was amazing. We asked anyone to volunteer that was a part of or affected by the organization. My idea was to create huge ginormous images that gave MUFFY an identity, that displayed the people behind the scene in every aspect. Board members, people who ran partner agencies or volunteered for the agencies, people affected by the kindness of those agencies, as well as, people who donate their time to make MUFFY happen were all photographed.

24 photographs meant that we could do two sides of the building we were donated and could go up two stories high. Wabash College was kind enough to let us borrow a lift and my family put in some serious work to get the photos up and stuck. We had a month to pull this off. We hoped the installation would be ready for Downtown Party Night, which meant our downtown streets would be flooded with people shopping locally and people wanting to catch a glimpse of the lighting of the Christmas tree. It would be our best chance of getting a huge crowd to view the photographs and to get people asking questions about who these people are, which led to answers, which led to awareness of who MUFFY is as a whole. We pulled it off.

Through the kindness of Scott Bachrach who printed the large-scale photographs and flyers, the MUFFY volunteers and workers, Wabash College, the people who inspired the project, those photographed and my family, we succeeded in spreading awareness of MUFFY. Thank you to all who participated and made this personal project come to life.

Now view the awesomeness for yourself below!

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The 24 participants.

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The stack of 36″x53″ photos. They were HUGE!

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One of the flyers we passed out all around the county.

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Making things happen! Risty, my brother, up in the lift Wabash College let us borrow.

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It took us 2 days to get all 24 photos up and stuck, not bad at all.

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The progress of the bottom of one side of the Elston Building.

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The front of the Elston Buidling. The photos stayed up during rain, snow, freezing temperatures and it was amazing.

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We made the paper! The Paper of Montgomery County put us on the front page!

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