Wow! 2013 was an adventurous year. In spite of all the people I had the privilege of photographing this year, these first two photos really represent the absolute best moments of my 2013. My wife, Hannah, and I welcomed our first child, Silas, into the world on October 28th. We had a home birth in our living room with a midwife because, to quote comedian Jim Gaffigan, (whose wife also had home births) “we believe in witchcraft.” Calling Hannah a trooper doesn’t even come close to describing the feats she accomplished bringing Silas into the world. She labored for a grand total of 41 hours, the last five of those pushing, with no pain killers! Silas was born happy and healthy at 8 lbs. 14oz. Now we are enjoying the grand adventure that is parenthood and having a blast along the way. The photo at the top is one of my favorites photos of Silas so far, he is about 6 weeks old.
Here is Hannah, about 30 hours into labor, relaxing through her contractions in the kiddie pool we set up in our living room for our water birth. Her turtle friend was a thermometer one of the midwives brought to monitor the water temperature. In order to fill the pool, I had to use two large pots while running back and forth from the kitchen.
So, I hope everyone had a Happy New Year. Here’s to all the adventures to come in 2014. Please enjoy some highlights of my work from this past year.
“The moment we were under way I began to prowl about the great steamer and fill myself with joy. She was as clean and as dainty as a drawing-room; when I looked down her long, gilded saloon, it was like gazing through a splendid tunnel; she had an oil-picture, by some gifted sign-painter, on every stateroom door; she glittered with no end of prism-fringed chandeliers; the clerk’s office was elegant, the bar was marvelous, and the bar-keeper had been barbered and upholstered at incredible cost.”
– Mark Twain
On my way to cover a Palm Sunday prayer rally at Memphis City Hall, I found myself driving along the Mississippi with thick fog banks hanging over the water. I caught my first glimpse of the American Queen steamboat docked at Beale Street Landing. The Great American Steamboat Company made Memphis their headquarters about a year ago. I hoped my assignments would eventually bring me downtown during one of the few times in the year the American Queen was docked so I could get a look at this slice of our cultural past.
The fog surrounding the steamboat gave it a haunting quality. It appeared that the veil of time lifted briefly and I stared at a Memphis riverbank from over a century ago.
Children and volunteers from the urban art garden walk the streets of Binghampton installing heart shaped signs the children made on neighborhood lawns as a valentine to the residents of Binghampton. The mission of the urban art garden is to work with inner city children to transform a blighted, vacant lot into a place of beauty. Local artists and volunteers work each week with over 50 children doing various art projects.
As I returned to Memphis from an early assignment on car pooling in Mississippi, I noticed a large billowing cloud of smoke rising from a residential area near the state line. I had a plenty of time before my next assignment, so I cut off the interstate as fast as I could and tried to chase the cloud of smoke back to it’s source as best as possible only to arrive about a minute after the fire dept. This was my first time to cover a fire that was still going. The Memphis firefighters were okay with me being there, and didn’t try to kick me out, which was refreshing change of pace compared to dealing with covering police activity.I was unable to stick around to determine the cause of the fire before I had to leave for my next assignments.