Author: kerice01

The Dogs of War- Adam Ferguson

There are so many incredible, heart-wrenching photographs and photo essays done on war zones and amidst conflict these days. We are so bombarded with images of devastation and loss that it can be difficult to make work done in conflict zones stand out. This collection of photos by Australian photographer Adam Ferguson stands out because it’s a totally new perspective. It shows the relationship between man and man’s best friend and its strength despite the devastation and loss of war. Ferguson shows the loyalty and bonds these “dogs of war ” and soldiers share. It’s a really heartwarming and emotional package of images and I think Ferguson did an amazing job capturing the connections and love.

Link to the full photo essay published by National Geographic here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/war-dogs/ferguson-photography#/01-cchaz-belgian-malinois-670.jpg

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(Photographs by Adam Ferguson) Sergeant Bourgeois clips Oopey’s toenails before a mission in Afghanistan. Handlers care for their dogs’ every need, learning canine CPR as well as how to spot canine post-traumatic stress disorder, which afflicts some 5 percent of deployed dogs.

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(left) Marine Cpl. John Dolezal poses with Cchaz, a Belgian Malinois, at Twentynine Palms in California. Dogs bred at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the military’s primary canine facility, are given names that begin with a double letter.

(right) A black Lab named Eli comforts Kathy Rusk at the Texas gravesite of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk, killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Colton and Eli worked together in IED detection. Kathy and her husband later adopted Eli and put a small statue of a Lab on the grave.

Photographer Eduard Korniyenko – “Russian Cadet Training”

The Big Picture blog (Boston Globe) recently featured a photo essay by photographer Eduard Korniyenko. Korniyenko documented the training of cadets at General Yermolov Cadet School in the southern Russian city of Stavropol. The images are fascinating and the photo essay is as well done as it is timely. 

Link to photo essay: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2014/04/russian_cadet_training.html 

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Photo Essay: Jason Houge’s “Family Photos of Feral Cats”

Anyone who knows me  personally knows that I’m a cat lady. We won’t go to into that…but I do love them. A lot. So naturally, when I was looking through photo essays on the Lens blog today, one that caught my eye was about a large family of cats. This one strays a bit from the typical “cute cat pictures” theme however- which was the photographer’s intent.

Photographer Jason Houge “never intended to live with 30 feral cats. Granted, these wild creatures had always scurried to and from the front porch of his farmhouse in Green Bay, Wis. His sprawling two-acre front yard provided the ideal environment for the roaming felines. Mr. Houge and his girlfriend, enjoying the cats’ visits, often put out cat food and a bit of fresh water for those that came by. As winter approached, Mr. Houge built an outdoor shelter as a temporary home for his new companions. Each month brought new visitors — some that lingered for the entire winter, others that came by once or twice, never to be seen again.” (NY Times)

It’s an interesting photo essay and Houge is actually helping the “feral cat issue” (I’ll let you read the essay yourself to see that) personally, and potentially through his photo work as well. Spay and neuter your cats, people!

Photo Essay on Lens Blog: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/02/family-photos-of-feral-felines/

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A Day Full of Portraits

Today was a busy day with a lot of rushing from assignment to assignment all over Windham County. Most of these assignments happened to be portraits of people with interesting stories. (Also, after a very long time of saving my pennies, I bought a new camera body – the Nikon D4S – since my last blog post. Isn’t the quality phenomenal? I’m in love with it.)

The first portrait I made was of high school sweethearts Virginia and Hurel Hale. The Hales have worked together at Soundview Paper in Putney since graduating from high school 50 years ago.  The couple has not only worked at the same company, but for the last five years, on the same machine, the “sheeter” to boot. The couple will retire together this week. I thought it would be fitting to take their picture with their machine, which luckily was right by a large window with lots of great light.

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The second portrait I made was of Daniel Fooks. Daniel is currently teaching a class entitled “Maximize Your Electronic Phones and Tablets” with the Windham Regional Career Center’s Adult Education program in Brattleboro, and what is most remarkable about this is that Dan is still in high school. He is a senior at Brattleboro Union High School and is also quite involved with the Career Center. He has received incredibly positive feedback on his class from his students and the Career Center has said that they are very pleased with their decision to hire him. I chose to take his photo in the classroom that he teaches, but sat him at a desk to contrast his status as both a student and a teacher at the same school.

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The last portrait I made was of the Vernon police chief Mary Beth Hebert, who has recently announced her resignation. Hebert has been chief since 2009, but her department is in jeopardy after voters decided to drastically cut funding for the police dept. for 2015. I was told that an updated headshot was needed, and was unaware that she was resigning until after the portrait was made, (http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_25659371/vernon-police-chief-resigns) so the portrait I made does not tell the story of her resignation as much as I would have liked it to but it will work. She’s very photogenic, don’t you think?

Kayla Rice/Reformer Vernon police chief Mary Beth Hebert.

Aftermath of a Landslide

About two weeks ago, I was in Rhode Island for the National Press Photographer’s Association’s Northern Short Course in Photojournalism where I attended a class led by Marcus Yam, an extremely talented photojournalist who is currently working for the Seattle Times. Yam spoke about finding hope and passion in the field of photojournalism (most specifically while working at a newspaper) and how important it is to continue to be passionate about the stories we are telling. Hearing him speak, you could tell that he loves what he does. Just about a week after hearing him speak, I read the news about the deadly landslide in Washington and when scrolling through images of the disaster I noticed Yam’s name under many of the most powerful images. Yam does an amazing job of showing both the tragedy and devastation of the disaster as well as the hopeful, human side of things. Having documented the Sandy Hook shooting aftermath (along with other tragic events I’m sure), Yam has experience with the way a community comes together in the wake of these events and is able to document that love despite the tragedy. I think that the most powerful images and the most memorable from tragedy are almost always these images of love and humanity.

You can see The Seattle Times’ full photo coverage of the landslide here.

Below are some of my favorite images by Marcus Yam and his colleague, photojournalist Bettina Hansen from the Darrington, Wash. landslide:

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(Marcus Yam/ The Seattle Times) Elaine Young holds on to a bible that she pulled out of the debris field caused by massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River onto Highway 530, as recovery efforts are underway, near Oso, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

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(Marcus Yam/ The Seattle Times) Dayn Brunner, left, talks about his sister, Summer Raffo, who is still missing in the Highway 530 mudslide, and possibly trapped in a vehicle. Andrea Holm, second from left, and Josie Fanning, far right, console Brittney Smith, who is a younger sister to Brunner and Raffo, outside the Darrington Community Center on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Brunner was out searching for his sister.

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(Marcus Yam/ The Seattle Times) Area residents attend an afternoon community meeting in Darrington to discuss the mudslide along Highway 530, near Oso, which has impacted the town in many ways, on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

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(Marcus Yam/ The Seattle Times) A damaged home sits in the debris field caused by massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River onto Highway 530, as recovery efforts are underway, near Oso, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

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(Bettina Hansen/ The Seattle Times) Jimmy Maines of Arlington gets a hug from his friend Alexis Wold of Marysville before a candlelight vigil for victims of the deadly 530 mudslide at Legion Memorial Park in Arlington Tuesday March 25, 2014. Maines wears mud up to his waist from volunteering at the slide area today to look for his friend’s father, Bill Welsh, who is missing in the debris. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone going up there,” he said, shaken, with tears in his eyes. “They just threw us on a bus and took us up there.” He described seeing toddler beds and evidence of children in the debris.

An Unexpected Visit to Sherwin Art Glass

My visit to Sherwin Art Glass in Bellows Falls was a complete accident. I had driven up to BF to get some photos for a story about WOOL Radio. When I got to the building, the radio station was locked and nobody was around. I noticed signs all around the building for a glass studio that was open to the public, so I figured since I was there, I might as well get some photos. I walked in and introduced myself to artist and glassblower Chris Sherwin who was very welcoming and open to me being there while he worked. I ended up with a nice little photo package from the glassblowing studio and learned a lot about an art form that I was previously not all that familiar with. Sometimes exploring and being curious can lead me to the most interesting stories and photos. (A volunteer DJ showed up right as my time at Sherwin Art Glass ended, so I ended up getting the WOOL Radio photos as well!)031714_glassblowing_KR057

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Ethics and the Role of the Photojournalist

Before I dive into this next post, it is important for me to make clear that Sara Naomi Lewkowicz (the award winning photojournalist from my last blog post on documenting domestic abuse) did in fact react first as a human and only after making sure that the police were on there way did she pick up her camera to document the situation. You can read about the photographs she took and her thought process throughout that time in this interview with Time Magazine here. Lewkowicz’ work has raised a lot of ethical questions, but before berating her I feel that it’s important to look at the full story.

Now, on to an ethical situation that I believe was handled fantastically by photojournalist Al Diaz.

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“Years of experience prepared me for that day: Respond as a human being first, a photojournalist second.” -Al Diaz

Thanks to Seth Gitner, one  of my multimedia professors at Syracuse, for bringing this article to my attention. As you have likely seen on the news, a couple of weeks ago this powerful photograph was taken during a rescue attempt on the side of an expressway in Miami to save a baby who had stopped breathing. Miami Herald photojournalist Al Diaz happened to be in the traffic right behind this woman and her infant nephew and had to make a series of quick ethical decisions. In this blog post that Diaz wrote a week after the incident, he explains how his immediate reaction was to react as a caring human being first, doing his best to help in the situation. Diaz was inexperienced with CPR, so he flagged down other cars to help. It was not until the baby began breathing again that Diaz stepped back and picked up his camera.

In his blog post he says, “A still photograph can change the course of history, affect policy, raise awareness and cause leaders to act. And, in this case, maybe it can inspire others to become trained in CPR techniques — and to swiftly offer their assistance to those in dire need. So, I grabbed my camera from my car and began recording what I saw. Little Sebastian de la Cruz stopped breathing for a second time, and his aunt Pamela Rauseo again performed CPR. I captured the Breath of Life in a still photograph. The image has been seen around the world. In response, broadcasters and others discussed the need for people to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — and how it can save a life. My photograph has raised that awareness.”

Diaz’ full blog post can be found here: http://aldiazphoto.blogspot.com/2014/03/photojournalist-confronts-ethical.html