My newspaper has this great section in every Sunday newspaper called “Viewfinder”. It’s a full page deticated to displaying photographs of whatever we photographers want. I look at it as a visual study of a random topic where we have free reign to explore and tell that story however we see fit. I use these opportunities to try to push myself into a new way of seeing. Last week it was my turn to have a go. I decided to check out the dress rehearsal of the Montana Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker that was going on at the Wilson Auditorium. Here are some photos that stood out to me from my time there. -M
Tis the season…to catch up on blog posts! I’ve been meaning to get some new work up here for a while now but I’ve been pretty busy as of late running around Bozeman and documenting all of the festivities of the season. Without further ado, here is some of the better images I’ve made in the last month. Thanks for looking, -M
About a week ago, I was charged by my editors with coming up with a way to illustrate a story about how Montana State University football fans should prepare for the cold weather playoff games. It’s been a while since I’ve done much photography in our Bozeman Daily Chronicle photo studio so I elected to break out some lights to make some photos that would pop off the page. It was a fun, little experiment that challenged me to think more about wardrobe of my subject (an enthusiastic co worker in the advertising department) and how best to convey the story within a limited number of images. Yes, the photos are a little corny but I think it turned out to be a fun, informative story. Best of luck to the Cats as they take on Sam Houston State University tonight under the lights of Bobcat Stadium. -M
I have always been jealous of my photographer buddies in Portland, Oregon who get to photograph the muddy, up-and-coming sport of cyclocross. It looks like such a wonderfully goofy social sport event and the photos they would bring back from it made it look like just a blast to photograph. Last weekend I finally got the chance to photograph it when my roommate clued me in on a race that was happening here in Bozeman. It was awesome. For some reason I decided to pack light and use just a 35mm lens to photograph the event. Using such a small lens can be very limiting on what I can do with it but it forced me to think more in layers and/or force me to use my feet to get closer to the action. It was a fun photo exercise on my day off. The rest of the images are some favorites that I made from this week at the newspaper. Thanks for looking, -M
Here are some images I made for the newspaper during the last two weeks. The first snow has arrived in Montana. Welcome winter. Thanks for looking, -M
A week or two ago, I had an opportunity to photograph some Montana State University football. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed any sports and I was looking forward to getting back into the saddle. The home game was against Eastern Washington University and according to all the buzz in the newsroom sports department, it would be a game that would likely determine the Big Sky Conference champs for the 2013 season. I always like photographing sporting events that matter. You can feel the added intensity from the players and crowd which ultimately make for a more exciting game to photograph. I decided to go early to the tailgates so I could document the tailgating scene here in Bozeman. It ended up being a long day (working 11 hours straight) but it was a fun one. I was pleased to wake up the following morning to see a big photo spread in the Sunday paper. I still geek out seeing all my images displayed big in newsprint. Love it! -M
Here are some of my more successful images from the last couple of weeks working at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The battle continues. Thanks for looking. -M
In my line of work as a photojournalist, I’m fortunate that I get to experience people and places I would not normally come across in my daily life. The challenge then for me is to document and capture the essence of the story I’m trying to tell through my images. Through these experiences and personal connections with the individuals I meet, I learn not just about their story but they help shape my own for the better. A couple weeks back, after many years of debating and being encouraged by close friends, I finally experienced my first Burning Man festival in Black Rock City in western Nevada and found a part of myself I never knew existed. The week long event has been happening in one form or another since the mid 80’s as counter culture, artistic, self expression annual celebration that accumulates as a city of 60,000+ individuals from around the world in the dried up alkali salt lake beds a couple hours northeast of Reno. It’s a surreal environment to live in for a week complete with white out dust storms and intense heat. It’s hard to put into words exactly what makes the event so special. To the outsider, the event could easily be written off as a bunch of hooligans partying out in the middle of the desert. On the Burning Man website, organizers state that “Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.” I really had no clue what I was getting into. But what I found was more special to me than anything I could ever have imaged. I danced, I laughed, I learned, I experienced, I dreamed, I loved. I would describe it as the most fantastic lucid dream where acceptance and a sense of community rein as king. For much of the week, I refrained from taking any images with the hopes of absorbing all I saw completely unfiltered. Obviously, that didn’t last long. For someone who was trying to take a vacation from creativity, I found myself at ground zero for creative expression and I soon gave myself completely to it gaining an intense gratification for all the wonderfully weird, creative, intelligent and inspiring group of people I encountered along the way. These photos are but a glimpse of the profound people I connected with for a week on the playa who showed me how to truly celebrate life to it’s fullest. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. -M
About a month ago, I headed over to Missoula, Montana to spend the day documenting the locally famous “Empanada Lady” for Montana Quarterly Magazine. These are the kind of assignments that I really love to do. Shooting for the magazine is a way to continue the long form journalism that we don’t get to do that often at the daily newspaper. For these I get to spend more time with my subjects and try to show more of what they are all about. The story was about Kimberly Olson who with her young daughter Lucia, has created a buzz around the local Missoula farmers markets as the “Empanada Lady” and has turned the small South American snack into a popular foodie favorite around town. What is unique about her business is that she uses all organic, local ingredients and operates her empanadas business all from the back of her bicycle. It was my goal to try to show her process of running her small business and give the readers slice of her life through images. When I was traveling down in southern Chile, my brother and I lived off of empanadas so this was a bit of a trip down taste bud lane for me. This woman is a talented chef and a hard working single mother. Her empanadas are delicious. If you are ever in Missoula during a weekend, be sure to swing by her food stand and try them out. Cheers! -M
When I was covering the recent Battle Under the Big Sky state roller derby tournament, I took the time to setup a portrait studio to capture all of the colorful character that participate in this up and coming sport. While roller derby is a team sport, it’s also a venue for the individual to shine through both in their game play and their decorations of their outfits. These are some of my favorite portraits I made that day. Thanks for looking. -M
About a month ago, I was assigned to document the rise of Women’s Roller Derby throughout the state for Montana Quarterly Magazine. The sport is growing both in participation of ladies who dig contact sports and with their fan base who like watching girls beat the crap out of eachother throughout many Montana towns. This year, the Battle Under the Big Sky state tournament was held in Billings, Montana and I spent the weekend hanging out with many of the teams with the goal of shedding some light onto this quickly growing sport and the artistic culture/comradery around it. These girls don’t mess around nor are they afraid to give or take a hit. These are some of my favorite images from covering the event. While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the rules of the sport, it is apparent that this high energy contact sport isn’t going anywhere but up. Thanks for looking. -M
I’m a little late with getting this good news posted but I was thrilled to learn that a couple of big projects I worked on while at my last newspaper, The Daily Republic, was recently recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest. Reporter Barry Eberling and I won first place for our year-long documentary series on the Suisun Marsh which looked at the culture, people and environmental impacts that were going on around the popular outdoor recreation area. In addition, I was stoked to see that I won first place for a multimedia project I did on Bob Waller, a finish carpenter who when the economy tanked took it upon himself to go another direction and tap into his life long love of surfing and skateboarding by blending the two and making his own custom longboard skateboards. I was also recognized in the Art/Nature Photo category for my coverage of a local duck hunting club and our photo department as a whole was honored for our Lifestyles coverage. I did a lot of growth while working at the “DR” and I’m proud to get a non for all the hard work we put into those stories. You can read the article about it on the Daily Republic website here.
Here are some recent images I’ve made for the newspaper in the last week or so. So much of the assignments I’ve been doing lately are for upcoming magazine articles. I can’t show them yet but more photos are on the horizon. Thanks for looking. -M
Blink an eye and you realize summer is almost over. Crazy. I’ve been keeping pretty busy these days traveling nearly every weekend out of town for magazine assignments for upcoming Montana Quarterly articles and traveling to California for my wedding business. The combination of the two, has left me little time for much else. Though exhausting at times, luckily, I’ve been enjoying the journey. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve made at the newspaper during the last month. Thanks for looking. -M
Here’s a collection of images I made for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle over the past couple of weeks. Thanks for looking! -M
One of my favorite things about my new position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is the fact that in addition to providing daily photos, we also publish numerous high quality, in depth magazines that allow us photographers an opportunity to produce long form documentary photo stories. With the state of the newspaper industry these days, it’s rare that a news organization can support this type of investigative journalism. In many ways it feels like I’m working for a bigger metro paper because usually only the bigger news organizations have the budget to produce this type of content. For a photojournalist and storyteller like myself, it is an incredible opportunity and one I relish.
About a month ago, I traveled east to the border of Eastern Montana and North Dakota on assignment for the Montana Quarterly magazine, to spend a couple days documenting the happenings of the oil boom that is sweeping the edge of the Great Plains. While national debate argues over the best direction for future energy consumption, be that green technology or our country’s dependence on foreign oil, the rush to mine the Bakken’s huge, expansive domestic oil deposits through a controversial method of hydraulic fracturing drilling are in full swing and are severely impacting the way of life, both good and bad, for these small Montana and North Dakota towns. In all aspects, it is becoming the new industrialization of the Great Plains. As a result, these towns struggle to maintain their small town culture while trying to support the wave of workers that are flooding in from all across the country looking for work. Their basic services and infrastructure (trash clean up, housing, road systems, sewage and water treatment, etc.) can barely keep up to support this boom. For the locals who own land or property, they are getting rich but for many other non-oil related businesses, the boom is crippling or eliminating their small businesses due to their inability to compete for employees with the high wages given from the oil companies. Many small businesses are collapsing as a result.
My assignment was to document how these drastic changes are effecting the local culture while giving insight to what the conditions are like for the traveling journeymen and oil rough necks (often living out of their cars or run down “Man Camps”) seeking to cash in on the oil boom out on the Bakken. Work there is abundant if you possess the right labor skills but more often than not, the lure of big oil brings a mixture of violent and sexual offenders mixed with honest folks trying to support their own loved ones elsewhere. For many of them, the Bakken is a chance for them to run away from poverty. Having only a couple days to get the story, I was limited in how deep I could immerse myself into the scene. These images are what I was able to take away from the experience. The story recently published in the Summer issue of the Montana Quarterly magazine and is on newsstands now. Reporting on the developments of the Bakken Oil fields are just beginning and it will be interesting to see how the ongoing debates develop over our country’s thirst for domestic energy and to see what the future holds for the Bakken and the people in it. You can read the entire story via pdf by following this link Money from the Earth. Cheers, -M
I spent last week chasing down old veterans for our Memorial Day coverage here at the newspaper. In my line of work, I meet a lot of veterans and I’m always impressed with the stories I here from them. Having not been raised in a military household, I have always struggled in separating my views as a 2012 citizen regarding the military and understanding the role and sacrifice these brave men and women have given to serve to protect this country in the past. Now, as a much older and wiser journalist, I’ve come to really appreciate them. Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes and I spent hours with these interesting men and walked away with a better understanding of what they had to go through during a different time in this country. Fascinating guys. I had a lot of fun making these images. -M
Well, life has improved ten fold now that my second photographer Adrian has begun to settle into his new digs. It’s allowed me to make more time to hangout on my recent assignments and hopefully make better images. I must say I am still adjusting to being back in a mountain climate with it’s sporatic weather patterns. One day it will be 80 degrees and sunny the next day it will snow. Alas, I’ve rediscovered that spring comes slowly to Montana. The good weather will be here soon enough. I’m looking forward to it. Here are some favorite photos from the past couple weeks. Cheers, -M
Well I just got through a two week bender being the sole photographer here at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Needless to say I am in need of a proper weekend of relaxation. But our new hired gun/photographer my friend Adrian Sanchez Gonzalez has arrived in the Big Sky and I’m looking forward to working towards making our photo department the best in the state. Confidence is high. Here are some of my better images from the last couple weeks of working solo. Thanks for looking. -M
A couple weeks ago, I decided to spend the afternoon documenting the traditional end of the ski season pond skimming event at Big Sky Ski Resort. You’ll find events like these all over the Rocky Mountain West of skiers and snowboarders going big off a jump into an awaiting pool of water. It’s quite the spectator sport. Here are some of my favorite images from the day.