Harrisburg Chefs

I love all the people who make delicious things.

You know, just a bunch of cool chefs hangin’ out here… It was awesome to meet and hang with Joe, Sean, and Michael, but of course, I was absurdly sentimental about photographing Qui Qui, Christian, and Emi because they are dear to my heart!

Qui Qui has the wildest spirit. She’s one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met and an incredibly strong woman. I could listen to her tell stories for hours… but she would never be able to sit still for that long. Her food is always extraordinary, but more recently, I am blown away by her hospitality and kindness. And it always happens when I’ve truly needed a little nurturing for my soul. Thank you for that, Qui.

Christian is super talented and Troeg’s, I am sure, feels very lucky to have him. The dude just gets it. “It,” being food, of course. I always eat the best cured meats and cheese and the best conundrum of flavors in my mouth at Troeg’s. He’s a wealth of knowledge and good vibes. And, not to mention, he’s a fucking sweetheart. Best dude.

And Emi is one of my favorite human beings, ever. I’m not exaggerating. She is a genuine, beautiful, joyful soul. This lady is an awesome chef and one of the easiest people to work with in a restaurant… and if you’ve ever worked at a restaurant, that shit is important. I value her friendship to the max and when I hang out with her, I laugh with my whole body. I appreciate you, Emi.

NOW GO EAT SOME DELICIOUS FOOD, DARLINGS.

Love,
Fresh

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Eric Moon//Salon Edjii

We grow in tandem. 

Eric Moon is a constant in my life. He may also have been the first person in my adult life to show me that life in Harrisburg can be a truly wonderful one. We could talk for forever about putting ourselves out there in this big, crazy world, loving the work that we do, traveling to dope places, the mentors that impress us, inspirations, all things that are delicious, our goals, our many loves, etc… but the one thing I want YOU to know about him is this: Over the last ten years, I have never doubted him. Not once. I trust his friendship. I trust his work. I trust his heart. I couldn’t be prouder of him for all the things he’s accomplished. And I am especially proud of him this year for opening Salon Edjii. Check him out, darlings.

http://salonedjii.com/

Congratulations, dude. Life is way good.

Thank you to theBURG for highlighting Eric in print this month. I think the world of him and I’m so glad to see other people think he’s pretty cool too.

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Here’s the salon:

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KOJI: Feed the hungry, change the system

I’m really digging the idea of asking the people I photograph write the blog to go along with their images… I’m photographing them because I value their voice. And more than that, positive people who work together can serve as a conduit for change. I am hopeful.

“Hunger is an issue that effects people on both a global and local scale. Addressing hunger in the United States is not just about turkeys at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but rather, a consistent effort to meet the needs of the hungry in our communities and also change the system that created this inequity. It was so awesome to partner with artists, promoters, and show-goers on these food drives during my 2014 holiday shows. 

In Harrisburg, we were able to donate 199 lbs. of food to the Central PA Food Bank. Most of the first shows I put on in the central PA area included food drives and it felt very good to get people engaged with this issue once more. I’m looking forward to continuing this work on hunger in 2015.” (KOJI)

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Perserverance & Passion: Harrisburg Hip-Hop and R&B

Maybe a year or two ago, I was coaxed into going to karaoke. A few songs in, the DJ broke up the requests and announced Nova… A young, handsome dude in a bow tie. What an incredible voice, what an awesome presence. This dude is from Harrisburg? HELL YEAH! Harrisburg rules.

When Harrisburg Magazine asked me to photograph the Harrisburg hip-hop and R&B artists, I wasn’t surprised that Nova was one of them. We’re so lucky to have talented people like him, E.P.O.C., Alonda Rich, Saint, and Young Swerve hailing from our city. They were just the best people to photograph… they were excited and engaged. It made my process so easy and a ton of fucking fun.

I’m really trying to not be too hard on myself for not getting around to blogs until much later than I’d like… being busy is a blessing. I’m very lucky. But the thing that was truly weighing on me is that I didn’t get to thank them. So:

THANK YOU to all the artists. You guys are literally the best. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration and an asset to Harrisburg. I appreciate you so much.

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Black Lives Matter

One of the hundreds of articles that resonated with me over the last few months was written by a woman named Brittany Cooper, titled, “I am utterly undone: My struggle with black rage and fear after Ferguson.” She begins by saying, “If I have to begin by convincing you that Black Lives Matter, we have all already lost, haven’t we? So let’s not begin there. Let’s begin at the end. At the end there is only Michael Brown Jr.’s dead body, no justice, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Be still, my heart. Black America is speaking right now, and we should be listening…

So, this is Georgi.

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And this is what she has to say:

On Saturday I attended a Die-in for Mike Brown and other victims of police brutality. I was pleased that people of all ages, races and walks of life were willing to brave the cold in support of change. Though police brutality is an issue that has historically plagued the black community at higher rates than other ethnic groups, it is not a black issue. It is an American issue. We shout that Black Lives Matter not because any other life is less important, but because it is not something that is often said. The message that we are sent when we see images of black bodies laying dead and exposed is that black lives are expendable. We are here to correct that narrative. We, as Americans, must stand against the idea that any of us should be allowed to be treated this way. We must have the courage to have open, difficult discussions about our collective history. We must actively work to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We must learn to love, forgive and trust again. The conversations will be messy at first, sometimes we will disagree but if we cannot find the courage to begin the dialogue, nothing will ever change. The Harrisburg police department did an excellent job of offering us support as we peacefully protested and made our voices heard, and we would like to invite them to join the dialogue. Together we can build a brighter future, for Harrisburg and beyond. (Georgianna Hicks)

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Please, Be Well, Babes: A Four Diamonds Story

If I accomplish anything in my lifetime, may it be that my images help others. 

The Four Diamonds Fund has always held my heart. Well, I guess you could say that it’s the kids that have always held my heart. I am so flattered and grateful that Four Diamonds asked me to do work for them. As much as I would like to just hug those kids and love them and squeeze the cancer out of them, that’s not possible. So, I created images that will hopefully inspire people to help them…

Please, be well, babes. Dani Fresh wants to see you grow up to be big and strong.

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Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble: Blind Pig Creep Joint

I was perched in a corner of McGrath’s, maniacally processing photos of the Blind Pig Creep Joint cast when Caitlin was peering over my shoulder, watching me work. She laughed to herself and dramatically quipped, “Man, it’s such a shame we don’t have any friends doing cool stuff!”  She was, of course, dripping with sarcasm and beaming with pride. She’s right, friends. There are so many things going on in this city. There are so many absolutely awesome people here and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m proud to know them… I’m proud to know YOU. We’re doin’ alright here in Harrisburg. We’re doin’ alright.

The Blind Pig Creep Joint is an immersive 1920s theatre experience and musical revue taking place at McGrath’s Pub on Sunday, November 9th, 16th, and 23rd. It’s directed by Caitlin Graci Tran, Joseph Chubb, and Sally Bowman Keaveney of the Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble. It includes original poetry by Jeremy Ritch and a cast of dear friends…

Okay, how about I just say that everyone involved is awesome and you should go. Cool? Cool. See you there!

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Just Some Ladies Hangin’ Out: Jen Merrill & Audrey

There is always a special place in my heart for photographing friends at home. They are comfortable and beautiful; their souls are radiant and that space, home, makes it almost impossible not to capture their spirits. And while I’m on the topic of spirits, I’d say Jen Merrill and I are kindred spirits. Ever since I moved into Harrisburg, Jen has been a constant in so many different parts of my life, my work, my neighborhood, and my city… It’s almost as if the universe kept looping us back to each other to make sure we became friends. Thank goodness for that.

These images of Jen and Audrey are just to document their love… and let Audrey run around the house in a leotard. Yep, that’s it. I made these images to warm my little Freshy heart.

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Harrisburg Women

There are literally five different posts that are sitting in my poor, neglected blog’s dashboard just waiting for me to muster up some time to write something to accompany the images. I’ve been running around shooting a million photographs and unfortunately, I don’t always have the immediate time to write and showcase the people that I want to here. But life is happening and it is full and satisfying and I love all of it… All in due time, right? Now, time for some ladies!

I understand that Harrisburg Magazine uses the the word “Harrisburg” loosely, but “Women” is spot on and strong women are my jam! Sure, not all of these ladies live in Harrisburg, but they are all certainly the like of steady, kind, inspiring people that I admire. I’d hang with them, for sure.

I felt like I was going to photograph the Women Entrepreneurs (Linda Green//Reinventing Spaces by Linda//Harrisburg, Jai Delp//Esaan Thai Restaurant//York, and Nicole Vasquez//That Shuu Girl Boutique//Lancaster) just to become a woman entrepreneurial sponge. My photography business is young. I admittedly have a lot to learn and I wanted to soak up as much of their bright existence as possible. They’re so sharp.

I watched Linda work with clients that were staging their home for sale in Hershey. She communicated so objectively but not without compassion for how difficult it must be for a couple to sell a home that was so dear to them for decades. Linda was kind, but firm with which colors were going to help buyers see the potential of the beautiful historic home and frankly, which furniture was just not going to work. When she stood out front of the house for me to take her portrait, she guffawed and I loved her heart.

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Jai Delp proudly invited me into her restaurant that is blazon with red walls and beautiful wood furniture that she and her husband built together. I shot her photo and it seemed like no time or effort for either of us. She was comfortable, confident, and joyful in her business. When I was finished, she sent me off with pink guava gelato. It was absurdly delicious. Methinks she knows the way to my heart.

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Nicole Vasquez was just about finished getting her hair and makeup done when I arrived early to her boutique in Lancaster. She was incredibly prepared (a trait I feel we all should mimic)–having every detail taken care of to ensure that she was ready: the shop was meticulously neat, her outfit had been steamed, jewelry and shoes picked out, etc. I’m pretty sure that opening this store was her dream and you can see how much work she put into it. It just seems to me like her soul radiates outward from that bright blue wall.

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“Cultivating Individuality” resonates with me a lot more than just “Women’s Style.” For each woman, this is her taste. It is, quite literally, for herself. This is how she is confident, comfortable, and outwardly unique. Respect that for them. Respect that for all women.

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My Heart Still Beats Steady in Harrisburg: a Local Magazine Story

Our hearts are beating steady in America.

We want to be the people to share this American tale, one at a time… each town or city where cultures are incubated and incinerated. Where people are creative and lovely with what they can make of their own community. You know, the destinations that aren’t NYC or Boston or DC or Philly. Where there is so much left to be uncovered by medias that neglected the good and in turn, demonized every “other side of the tracks” and consequently, the people that live there. There are gems of history that lest we talk about it, we will forget. And some topics are less heavy but so unique to each region and nurture a great source of pride and local affection. Look with us at the big picture and the grains, the pixels, all at the same time. Follow the dart we’ve thrown at the map. Dart #4 is Harrisburg and for most of us, we were home.

My heart still beats steady in Harrisburg… but you probably already knew that.

I’m so proud of Local: Harrisburg. I’m proud to work with such incredible people. They are infectious. I’m proud that I was a part of chronicling our fair city. Harrisburg rules. I really mean that. I’ve lived in this area for the majority of my life but I stayed here because I found myself surrounded by so much love, inspiration, and friendship. So maybe I am a bit of a sentimental wimp, but doing work like this brings back memories of every genuine exchange I’ve had within the city limits. This is a good city. And this issue of Local is my testimony to how much it means to me. I hope you can pick it up and let it foster your Harrisburg love too.

http://www.localmag.us

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