Last week I photographed some of the activities around town that were giving appreciation for Native American Heritage Day. It was a chance to recognized all of the diverse tribal nations both here in Montana and throughout the country and that unified idea to uphold their native cultures was shown in the multi tribal dancing outfits and teachings to the public. You couldn’t ask for a better weather day. I hung around Montana State University watching fancy dancers, listening to speakers, listening to native music and then ventured over to Chief Joseph Middle School to watch kids learn to put up teepees. Ingredients that made for a fun day in Bozeman and for a festive Sunday Viewfinder photo page in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. -M
For weeks now, word has been spreading quickly throughout town that members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a outspoken anti-gay religious group, would be picketing at both the Montana State University campus and the Bozeman High School this past Monday. Bozeman is a small mountain community but their response to such a group was a monstrous, united message that intolerance has no place here. This was shown in spades as the racist family of three from Topeka, Kansas got out of their white SUV and were immediately drowned out by a sound wall of hundreds of marriage equality supporters. As a member of the media, these are tricky subjects to document. While my job is to document and tell the story as accurately and as un bias as I can, the reality is I strongly disagree with the message these people were trying to push. So my challenge was look past my own opinions and try to make images that would tell the story while minimizing my spread of their message by showing their hate signs. It was an exercise in observation, patience and careful composition. Being able to remain calm during such chaotic situations (where many things at once are happening), helped me see beyond what was on the surface and perhaps show something unexpected. The first image in this slide show I think really spoke to that notion. As both sides screamed at eachother, I stopped and watched as the couple’s 11-year-old son. He stood there alongside is parents hiding being his sign with the world screaming all around at him. You could tell by his face that he was incredibly uncomfortable. I wondered what was going through his mind and whether he ever doubts his parents intentions? Who knows? Seeing his reaction so different from his outspoken parents struck me that maybe there was some hope for him. There are lots of things in this world that I don’t agree with and many people who can say things that can make my skin boil. But despite my disagreements, I appreciate that we live in a country where an individual can speak their mind for better or for worse. I was proud to see my community take a stand. -M
A sampling of some favorite images from the past month working at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Last week I was assigned to come up with a series of photos for publication on our occasional Viewfinder photo page. It’s always a fun assignment because it offers us staff photographers a chance to go off and explore. Summer time usually translates to me being busy with photographing weddings and therefore the opportunities for me to get out into the wilderness are few. With this Viewfinder assignment, opportunity knocked. I decided to head up to Hyalite Canyon just outside of Bozeman, Montana. It is a beautiful place right in our backyard and I’ve had little time to check it out. So I spent a day watching, talking to and photographing locals and tourists alike who were enjoying this local resource. I was another reminder of why I love living in Montana. Thanks for looking. -M
For the past two months my world has been wedding photography. Things have been going great but the combination of my full time job at the newspaper in addition to the full time workload of the weddings has been very successful in keeping me busy these past summer months. Hence my slowness in updating my photo blog. Here is some work I made throughout the month of July at the newspaper. Thanks for looking. -M
Another fun month has come and gone. Here is some recent work from my staff photographer position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Happy 4th of July everyone!
This was a cool assignment. Last week I got to watch the release of a golden eagle back into the wild. The raptor was rescued by Montana Raptor Conservation Center director Becky Keanon January 25th after it was injured by a cable snare trap and Wednesday marked it’s successful nurture back to health. After a four month road to recovery, Montana Raptor Conservation Center volunteer Jocelyn Barker is shown releasing it back into the wild outside of Bozeman near Middle Cottonwood canyon Wednesday afternoon. Before the birds can be released, they must be banded and have a sample of their feathers saved on record. So you can imagine my humor watching the raptor center volunteers trying to recapture the bird in its pen with a blanket. It’s harder to catch a wild eagle than one would think. These volunteers were pros and were able to safely capture and release the eagle without any harm to it. It was a pretty cool thing to witness this healed bird soaring on the mountain winds once again. What a feeling it must have felt to finally fly again after 4 months cooped up. How great for the Bozeman community that they have such dedicated raptor enthusiasts that provide such a service.
Well, this was fun news to find out about. It has been brought to my attention that I recently received some awards for my 2012 editorial photography work at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The Society of Professional Journalists has a annual end-of-the-year contest that newspapers from across the country send their best work of the year in to compete against other news organizations. For the Pacific Northwest region (which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska) I was awarded First Place in the Portrait Photography section and Third Place overall in the Photography Portfolio section. Pretty cool. It’s always great to get a nod from your professional peers every once in a while. You can view the full list of winners here. Congrats to the staff of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for crushing it this past year! And thanks to all of you for the continued support of my photography! -M
And here is the winning portrait and a link to my winning portfolio.
Things have been trucking along here at the newspaper over the month of May. As of late, I’ve found that I’ve been up close and personel with a lot of animals on assignments lately. I adorned a bee keeper suit as I photographed a guy and his bee colonies, I’ve had my head chewed on and nuzzled by a friendly farm horse and later huddled close to a fallen tree as hundreds of wild bison trotted feet from me as federal authorities hazed them back into Yellowstone National Park. It’s never a dull moment in my line of work. I’ve been enjoying myself. More photos to come. Thanks for looking.
A quiet month of photos but fun to make all the same.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid I loved seeing the illusions of magicians. I was given a simple paper folding magic trick once and I eagerly would volunteer to make a dollar bill disappear then reappear for anyone willing to appease me. I loved the misdirection and the reactions I got from people. For years, like so many, I’ve seen big time magicians wow audiences on television and on tour and I always was interested in the idea that these individuals were still carving out a living in illusion in a time where people are being bombarded with new technology and entertainment of the 21st century. When I moved to Bozeman last year, it became known to me that Jay Owenhouse, a national name on the magic circuit, lived in Bozeman and that he used tigers for his performances. I had to meet this guy. Over weeks and weeks of trying to line up our schedules, I finally was able to hang out with Jay for a week leading up to his tour kick off performance at the Montana State University Brick Breeden Fieldhouse last Saturday. I was interested in his unique occupation and the fact that someone in this small little Montana town had two tigers as pets. I wanted to document his relationship with his big cats and try to show our readers what it was like to prepare for a magic show. Time was against me, as always. Between daily assignments and not enough hours in a day, these images are what I was able to come away with. It was really cool to watch the relationship/passion this guy has for his craft and with these beautiful animals. If you ever get a chance, it would be worth checking out his show. You always want more time or more access to work on stories but overall I was pleased with many of the images I made of him. Thanks for looking, -M
I had some fun making these photos. This past weekend, as part of my newspaper‘s monthly photo page called the “Viewfinder” I decided to pack up the photo studio and bring it over to the Gallatin County fair grounds this past Saturday and make portraits of Bozeman locals and their new old bicycles. The Viewfinder can be anything. It really gives us photographers a chance to get creative and do photo studies. It’s an opportunity and challenge I look forward to. But sometimes it can sneak up on us due to the busyness of the daily newspaper. Combing the events calendars looking for ideas, I stumbled across an add for the bike swap being hosted by the Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club. Bingo! I remembered how excited I was as a kid to receive my first bike. It was a feeling of freedom and independence. A simple machine that would serve as a reliable companion accompanying me on countless adventures throughout my youth. Waking up early on Saturday morning, I set out to try to capture that feeling in a well lit portrait series. These are the results. Thanks for looking, -M
Hey all, What a month. I’ve been busy working on a long term documentary project all this month in addition to all of the normal daily assignments and I’ve just now had a chance to post my recent work. Whew! My project “For the Family” debuts tomorrow! Stay tuned. For now, a look at some of the more successful images I’ve made this past month. Thanks for looking. -M
Some recent work from the last week or so. Thanks for looking. -M
“Primeiro você deve comer com os olhos”
Years ago, I was out to dinner with my Brazilian friend, starving, fork in hand and about to dive into my just-delivered, fancy restaurant dish. Before I could take a bite, she interrupted me with a smile, put a hand on my forearm and repeated a Portuguese phrase. It’s translation… “First you must eat with your eyes.”
The concept of giving your body food was something, up until that point, that I had taken for granted and had given little thought to why my brain was attracted to whatever meal I was about to eat. Things looked and tasted good; simple as that. Now a more mature cook in my thirties, I’ve started to think about the psychology of food. Of the chefs I’ve met over the years and the books I’ve read about cooking, the consensus is that the better looking a dish, the better you expect it to taste. For the past week, I have been ruminating on this concept and her phrase as I’ve watched the morning sunshine creep through my kitchen windows and illuminate my countertops. Not being a seasoned food photographer, I was interested in the idea of what makes our food look so appealing and realized it’s not so different as to what makes a successful photograph. Color, light, mixing up textures, shapes and the arrangement. Highlighting a natural focal point that draws in your attention to the dish. As a working photographer, I’m constantly observing and studying how light illuminates everything around us. I decided to do a visual study. With my limited window of good sunlight, I started documenting my go-to breakfast scramble I routinely prepare with the goal of slowing down and seeing why my taste buds salivate with anticipation of this dish again and again. Bon Appétit! -M
Happy New Year everyone! I ended my 2012 on a high note and have been working hard to keep the momentum going into the new year. As always, I’m looking for ways I can develop and grow in my photography and I hope to improve on some things for the new year. So far so good. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve made so far in 2013. Thanks for looking, -M
Montana has been in need of some snow. It’s been a while since we had much and the local ski mountain crew have been holding their breath for a boost. Yesterday they got their wish. I woke up to reports of over 23 inches of snow and it seemed like the whole town called in sick with “powder fever” to go ski it. I was lucky enough to be assigned to document it . Love my job at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Epic ski day!
What a year! Looking over the photos I made from this past year, I found it difficult to pick favorites. How do you narrow down the very best photos after such an interesting year? For me 2012 was a new beginning. I started my year in a new place after having been hired at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and spent most of my time in a state of creative reconnaissance, exploring all the beauty southwest Montana has to offer.
In the end, I chose photos that made a personal connection. I wanted to show you all photos that make you feel something. So much of what photojournalists do everyday is bring readers into the lives of their subjects through captivating, storytelling images, to quote SI Photo Editor Jim Colton, “that reach down your throat and give your heart a tug”. Whether they succeed is in the eye of the beholder.
As I was editing down this year’s take of images and trying to pick out ten for the printed newspaper, I realized that trying to capture the essence of the Gallatin Valley in a handful of photos was a fool’s pursuit. Thankfully, the people in this community that make it such a great place are too vast and rich in culture to show in its entirety within a select few favorites within my “Best of Photography” slideshow. I have much more exploring to do.
I look forward to what the new year will bring. Thanks so much for all of your support and I hope all of you have a bold, adventurous new year! -M
I recently finished up a portrait marathon for an assignment for our weekly business journal. In three days I made twenty portraits of individuals in the Bozeman community that have made an impact on the community through their personel drive, local job creating endeavors and their overall contribution to the betterment of the community they live in. It was a fun project for me. I don’t get to work in the studio that often, so I decided to challenge myself by trying to make different portraits all with keeping the same lighting set up in the studio here at the newspaper. I wanted the photos to be about the subject and not their clothing. With this in mind, I chose to have this series be in black and white. I liked how it turned out. To read more about each individual’s story you can check out our interactive story on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s website. Thanks for looking.