On February 7, 2014, The Hold Steady! and Tim Barry rocked the Abbey Bar. One might say, they threw a Killer Party. I thought the roof was going to blow off. It was all about celebrating 10 years of the band and celebrating the life of our friend, Jersey Mike. Cheers to all the wonderful things.
The Hold Steady! is what I think all bands should strive to be. A positive force. Kind people that give back. Totally down to earth rock’n'roll. I am blown away by how much they’ve done in support of Jersey Mike’s family and the K&L Foundation and the solace that they’ve given to every heart that mourns his loss. The Unified Scene lost-Harrisburg lost-his children lost-his family lost-dear hearts and friends lost our rabble rouser. But I think we can all agree, that man would have wanted us to strive on and party on. There’s work to be done, joy to be shared, songs to be sang, and beers to be drank.
SO WE DID.
(Thank you to The Hold Steady!–management/sound included–for being so kind to me. You’re all gems. I think it’s safe to say that Jersey Mike would have been tickled pink about all of this.)
Whelp, it’s a new year again. Harrisburg is going through some changes, the weather has been pretty brutal, but good things are still happening in our neck of the woods. In fact, I feel like I’m backlogged… No, I am backlogged. So, prepare your hearts, your newsfeed is going to be bombarded with photos and blogs that I’ve been saving up to share.
One of my favorite neighbors, squeeze hugger, always smiling, forever joyful barista, Allie Schuh left our winter wonderland last week for warmer weather and an awesome new job in LA. Cali Allie is going to be the new Associate Director of the Center for Student Missions and will be helping to bridge the gap between churches who want to come into the city to serve and volunteer and non-profit organizations that need volunteers. Center for Student Missions supports organizations such as the LA Food Bank, Midnight Mission, The Los Angeles Mission, and the Salvation Armies in South LA and Compton.
I think (and maybe some of you do too…) that Allie was always on a path to help others. I’m so glad she found a vehicle to do so (even if I’m feeling bittersweet about not keeping her around).
Allie, we’re going to freakin’ miss you in Harrisburg. Good luck, you gem!
Last month in Harrisburg Magazine, Jen Merrill wrote an article about marriage equality laws in Pennsylvania and I was asked to provide images. I love collaborating with Jen… She’s a smart lady, a kind heart, and I’ll even say that I think we’re kindred spirits.
Also, back in July, the ACLU asked me to shoot photos of their press conference for marriage equality in Pennsylvania. I am fortunate enough to have the freedom to choose for whom I will produce work. I believe in what the ACLU is doing to fight for the civil liberties of people in PA and I hope that my images are supportive of their endeavor. If I’m going to make photographs, I want to see them used for something I believe is positive.
Some of those images for the ACLU are also seen in Jen’s article, as well as a photo I took of Louie Marven, the executive director of the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania. I’ll keep it short and sweet about Louie: he’s well spoken, aware, knowledgeable, and he’s such a warm soul. I’m so glad that I was able to tag along when Jen spoke with him.
Cheers to all you wonderful people! I hope that I can continue to support what you do through images.
I’m so glad that a lot of Harrisburg people have been asking, “How was tour, Fresh?!” since I got home last Sunday… It was awesome. And it’s not unlike me to be excited about a photographing to the point that I’m crawling out of my skin—itching to tell anyone that will listen to me—but I really think this trip was great.
A few weeks ago, Brian Marquis asked if I would travel with him for a short tour on the east coast. It was four days, ranging from DC to Boston, of Brian opening sold out shows with Downtown Fiction for Never Shout Never. I basically knew diddlysquat about both bands. They seemed charming but very young and I cringed when I found out that they were only between the ages of 21 and 24. It’s hard to admit that I cringed—I felt like a jaded, old jerk in a room of vibrant young dudes. I knew needed to take a deep breath, stop acting like an old lady, drink a beer, open my heart a little more, and just be kind. Everything was way good.
Each crowd was generally 14-19 year olds and mostly girls. They were there early. Some sat outside the venue as early as 1:00 with blankets. Oh, they were so fucking excited! And by the time Brian was getting up on stage, they were cheering him on and then shushing each other to hear him play. They were so attentive. We heard them shout things like, “I LIKE YOUR SHIRT!” “I LIKE YOUR BEARD!” and “I LOVE YOUR SONGS!” and I think Brian felt like he had on a self-esteem jetpack. The energy only skyrocketed as the night progressed. Of course, they were so stoked to see Downtown Fiction and Never Shout Never. After all, that’s who they were here to see! Kids sang at the top of their lungs, smiling from ear to ear, and some even cried. Not a single show was a bummer, not one lacked energy, no crowd was small, and no enthusiasm was spared.
The second night I was really warming up to the tour and I felt decent enough to start shooting. In any case, I hate shooting the first day… It’s so nerve-racking to have someone you don’t know running around with a damn camera in your face. After all, I didn’t go on tour with Brian to be a nuisance to everyone else, I went because I wanted to spend time with him, enjoy some music, and make good images on the road. I shot live and that was cool, but the images backstage are always my favorite. And the green room at The Note in West Chester is roughly the size of a fucking postage stamp. It’s… tiny. But I think the images I got look pretty intimate and warm. This is probably a direct result of being practically on top of each other. Well, I’ll take it. Hopefully, you can gather from the photos that night and every other night, they were very much themselves.
Cheers! To Chris, Taylor, and Hayden from Never Shout Never, Cameron and David from Downtown Fiction, and of course, Brian Marquis for an awesome Harrisburg hiatus and allowing me photograph. You guys are pretty alright.
Have you met Justin Arawjo and Joëlle Workman of Fennec Design?! Maybe they’ve caught your eye selling screen prints, custom clothing, jewelry, etc. at the Home Grown Market or other local craft markets? Perhaps you’ve sorted through or bought their clothes and jewelry from Stash Collective? Or you’ve seen their designs scattered all over this town and just not known the mastermind, power couple behind them… Yeah, I said it. They’re a Harrisburg Power Couple. Work-a-holics. Design geniuses. They’re what the fuck is up.
At the end of the summer Justin and Joëlle commandeered me to photograph their Fall/Winter Lookbook. Like most new and unfamiliar projects, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Now, don’t you think for one moment that I’m implying that this is a bad thing. It’s a very good thing– this job was challenging, educating, exhausting, but most of all, rewarding. I could bore you with details, but I perceive it’s more valuable for everyone to know that we worked our asses off and we loved it. I’m so proud of what we did together.
Thank you. To Justin and Joëlle, might I remind you that I admire the two of you and your work. To our models: Elena, Eric, Hanniel, Erin, Georgianna, Amanda, and Nora. You’re all so lovely. To Megan Heisey for always making things work and making people look great.
Have you seen all the gnarly lookin’ dudes with beards running around Harrisburg? Well, some of them might be rebels, but they aren’t without a cause! The mangy men from McGrath’s Pub recently decided to wrangle other bearded studs to join them in donating their face-manes to raise money for young adults with cancer who are pursuing higher education. Their faces might be prickly but their hearts are warm!
So, here we have it!
McGrath’s Pub + Lords & Ladies Salon + Dudes With Beards + Jeremy Ritch as MC = Chins Up For Charity!
However, it’s hard for some guys too look quite as tough without that gnarly beard…
Did you see this month’s The Burg?! So excited to see my portrait of Harrisburg Receiver, Bill Lynch on the cover!
The General was definitely the most personable political figurehead I’ve ever met. He’s a pretty fascinating person. Good images and great chats. Or, let’s put it this way, I haven’t been lacking interesting subjects!
The Burg also revisited one of my photos of Frank McManus this month. But of course, I love seeing Frank get local support! I’m biased! He’s my friend! But he’s also an incredible artist. If you haven’t seen his work, you should probably check it out.
As most of you well know, I don’t blog about weddings. I have to make an exception for these guys though.
About a year ago, Katie emailed, Facebook messaged, tweeted, and ultimately tracked me down. Her messages were pretty blunt: through Hell or high water, I was going to be her wedding photographer. Honestly, I was super flattered when she told me that she was “borderline obsessed” with my photography and of course, I agreed to shoot her wedding.
This past Saturday, Katie and Ryan tied the knot on an island in the Susquehanna River with Three Mile Island a stone’s throw away in the background. Goes without saying, they’re a lovely and unique pair…
Do you know what I like to see in Harrisburg? Some damn art…
Maybe you’ve seen the mural that Stephen Michael Haas recently finished behind the Little Amps in Olde Uptown or if you haven’t witnessed it in person, maybe you caught a glimpse of it on the cover of this month’s The Burg. Stephen is an active young man with a hand in city happenings. He’s painted murals, walls and canvases, displayed art at a number of the area galleries including Studio A, the MakeSpace, and Little Amps. Played music and encouraged people to dance the night away at HMAC, Second City Church, Fraiche, and other local venues. And he’s part of a music co-operative called Tree Cover Records. Frankly, I can barely keep up with the guy…
Stephen is one of the numerous people in Harrisburg that I had dubbed “unapologetically” himself. Of course, my previous sentiments were confirmed when I shot portraits of him. Sometimes it’s really hard to get people to forget that there’s a camera between us… Stephen is just Stephen. He reacts to me, not the camera. Perhaps you might think that someone doesn’t just walk on their hands, fit into window sills, or scale walls every day… You would be mistaken though. The only thing I failed to capture here was how much he loves to climb trees.