There are some assignments that make me love my job. This one, about Postpartum Depression for the New York Times, was one of those. It was a project that really stayed with me, mostly because of my subject. Jeanne Marie Johnson was so open with me and the writer about something so incredibly personal and difficult. And I clearly wasn't the only one that she moved with her bravery, BuzzFeed listed it as one of their top 9 stories of the week, and the NYT Opinion Page for the NYT was hopping. One of those days when I feel like I may have made a tiny bit of difference in this great big world.
Photographed an amazing story about early onset Schizophrenia that ended up on the cover of the Washington Post. Basically the Behavior Health Services at the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center are trying to figure out ways to help teens with signs of Schizophrenia way before they ever have a psychotic episode. The program involves a two-year course of socialization, family therapy, job and school assistance, and sometimes medication. Now some of this may sound super fancy, but what it actually, literally can turn out to be is taking a kid to the music store and talking to him about his day. Crazy, right? The counselor I photographed used his love of music and comic books to connect with his teenage male patients, and as a way to get them out of house and interacting with the world around them. As someone with a psychology degree, I was pretty blown away by the simplistic brilliance of this. It made me realize two things. One, that you can never underestimate the power of human connection, and two, that so many of us just aren't getting enough of it.
The Wall Street Journal asked me to photograph local business owner and motorcycle enthusiast Tom Daly for a series called Faces of the Affordable Care Act. Tom represents The 'Young Invincible,' who is interested in health insurance, but decided it was too expensive. However, his new motorcycle habit, impending marriage and recent status as homeowner have made him rethink this opinion. Adulthood will do that to you I guess.
Joan Rideout Ayala has a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction. Now an addiction counselor herself, has learned coping skills to help end her addiction and cope with her mental illness. We spent some time with Joan at home and at work for an editorial video and photo assignment for a USA Today for a project called The Cost of Not CarIng, a series that explores the human and financial costs the country pays for not caring more about the nearly 10 million Americans with serious mental illness. Powerful stuff.[vimeo 121165803 w=1920 h=500]
You can find just about anything you would want and nothing you would need on Mississippi Street in Portland. But New York Times writer Julie Lasky says it so much better than we ever could, "North Mississippi Avenue in Portland delivers a hipster experience as reliably as the rain. The street’s commercial district, which runs five blocks from North Fremont Street up to North Skidmore Street, has coffee-roasting equipment, saltwater aquariums, chandeliers made with recycled wine bottles, jewelry cast from animal sex organs and possibly the best corned beef hash ever fried."
Thanks to all the businesses that contributed their design sensibilities: Sunlan (who was ironic before it was cool), Mr. Green Beans, Land Gallery, Flutter, Gravy, Paxton Gate, Mississippi Avenue Lofts, Silver Moon Creperie, The Big Egg, Prost!, and The John Palmer House. One thing's for certain, it's not easy being hip, but you do it with aplomb. And a beard.
Spent the day with Todd Bedrick and the fam for a New York Times Story about Paternity Leave. Todd works at Ernst & Young LLP, so got to spend a little time in the 9 to 5 (though no suit and tie- this is Portland, after all). Then home for some adorable father and daughterness. Todd and his wife Sarah, who is a teacher, were a pretty picture perfect family; there was dinner, playtime, bath time, then a little purple-polka-dot-story-time and finally bed. After that he washed his wife's breast pump accouterment and showed me his engagement photo album. What a champ. In the article Todd mentions how much his time at home with his new baby really helped him bond with her. Which only makes sense. Sweden has figured it out. Close to 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave. Why does it take us so long?
Spent a fabulous day filled with gorgeous light at the Portland home of Hisham Mayet for Brownbook Magazine, which they call "An Urban Guide to the Middle East." Mayet is the co-founder of the cult record label, Sublime Frequencies, and is responsible for unleashing Iraqi Choubi, Palestinian psyche-rock and Omar Souleyman on the world. He spends several months of every year traveling the globe (when we met he had just gotten back from Burkina Faso and Niger) recording music, documenting, looking for bands. Not a bad gig. As a result his home is filled with treasures; books, art, records, you name it. I had a blast playing show-and-tell with Mayet, listening to music as we went through his book collection or he showed me paintings hidden in his basement before taking smoke breaks in the backyard. The print version is below, but the super photo charged online story is here.
Travelled to the wilds of Vancouver, Washington to photograph Recreational Marijuana Mecca New Vansterdam for a Wall Street Journal story about Pot Taxes. At at New Vansterdam, an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) of marijuana was going for $87 to $128, two or three times what it costs on the black market! Still, there was a steady stream of customers coming through the store, many who were tourists or who liked the convenience. Located in a strip mall alongside Safeway, RadioShack and Weight Watchers, the space used to be a check cashing spot and felt like it, though the art and the ipad displays helped. It will be interesting to see how taxes play out in Oregon now that weed has been legalized, with Oregon's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council estimating $637 million in taxes and fees for the first five years. That's a lot of overpriced joints.
Check out my story about kung fu live on Buzzfeed. Eight-year-old ChengWu ShuQin is among the youngest of the girls training at the Shaolin Exquisite Kung Fu School in the Central Eastern Chinese Province of Henan. Newly arrived, she’s fighting to find her place among the crowd and against homesickness.
Man I love my job. In what universe is it your job to hang out with a 15-year-old boy in his bedroom at night while he makes beats on his laptop? Mine. Thank you Owen Lanahan, for letting me invade your haven of teenage mystery. For whom else but teenagers could come up with the term #Vamping? And who else but the New York Times would cover it? Well them and TeenVogue. As Owen so eloquently put it, "“Sometimes I look up and it’s 3 a.m. and I'm watching a video of a giraffe eating a steak,” he said. “And I wonder, ‘How did I get here?’ This my friends, is Vamping. Teens up to all hours of the night on social media. I remember in college calling it, "Riding the Vampire Express," where you would stay up working or partying all night and sleep all day, never seeing the sun. But Vamping is just so much better. And just in case you're thinking this blog contains zero informational material, here is a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. Look, I just made you smarter. You are welcome.