A long overdue update. Thanks for looking. -M
Fall has arrived in Montana and I have been loving it. It is easily my favorite season. As you can see it is also very busy. I’ve been having fun. Here are some favorite photographs from assignments I did for my staff position at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle during the month of September. Thanks for looking. -M
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
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.
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
I’ve been in Montana for a little over a year now after moving here from California. While the normal routine in the past was for me was to always bring a camera out on my fly fishing missions, for 2012, I decided to take a break. I’ve stayed pretty busy at the newspaper throughout the year and my weekends became my place to get out and step away from it all. I wanted to be totally present and just study my new Montana surroundings. Also, I was too busy having fun fishing myself to set my rod down and make images. This past weekend I got after it, fishing two days in a row – one on the Madison River with my buddies Jimmy and Camille and the second floating the Yellowstone River with my buddies Sky and Ryan. The decision was made to bring along my camera. While I primarily fished throughout the weekend, I did manage to snap a couple pictures and even got the big brown trout I caught documented on camera (thanks Ryan for taking the picture). Look for more fly fishing photos throughout the year. The fly fishing photography hiatus is over. I’m ready to start documenting the Montana rivers again. Here we go. -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.
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