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!
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.
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
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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