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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Michael’s Flowers

“Hiya, handsome! Can I buy some flowers?”

“Ah! Sure! You’re just being nice though. Handsome… My aunt used to call me handsome. She said that I looked like that actor, what was his name? …Dennis Hopper. But I think she just said that to make me feel good.”

“Well, since I think you’re handsome, can I take a portrait of you?”

“Sure! Are you sure I won’t break the camera?!”

“No way! Thanks, Michael.”

“Hey, you have something on your nose!”

Michael was grinning as I reached up to touch my nose and felt my nose ring… Again. He got me with that one a couple months ago too and I’m dumb enough to fall for it a second time. Silly, Fresh…

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Elena Jasic

Sometimes people ask me, “Aren’t you and (insert other photographer’s name) competition?” and I usually answer with slight indignation, “NOPE! We all have different jams!” 

Now, don’t take that out of context… Girl’s gotta eat. We all do. But the fact of the matter is, we all have different focus points. (Dammit. Photography puns never get old to me.) Between fashion, boudoir, photojournalism, interiors, weddings, architecture, branding, music, cars, etc, we all have a favorite subject or things we’ve gotten pretty good at photographing. And there is a network of photographers in the Harrisburg area that are challenging each other in a healthy arena, sharing knowledge to help each other grow, and there is always someone to turn to for advice, a second set of eyes, or just plain help. No, I’m not talking about ego maniacal photogs looking to stroke their proverbial gear… I’m talking about genuine, warm hearts that are able to make images in tandem–growing, learning, and inspiring. Everything is way good.

Elena Jasic is one of the aforementioned photographers. Serbian born, self taught, buffalo sauce on everything, and loves cake. Emphasis on the cake. Elena is a friend, colleague, teacher, and inspiration all wrapped up in one sweet package… She’s the best of us, for sure.

Treat your eyeballs:
http://elenajasic.com/
http://jasicimagery.com/

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Harrisburg Dudes. Harrisburg, dudes.

So far, so good. I haven’t run out of excuses to photograph interesting people.

Back in March, Harrisburg Magazine asked me to photograph Harrisburg area dudes for their men’s issue that came out in April. Cool Harrisburg dudes.

Cool.

Some I hadn’t met before, some are good friends; all were pretty darn handsome fellas. All are active and community-conscious: they are the kind hearts that we want to keep in the Harrisburg area.

Here’s my unabashed introduction to “the dudes” in which I will repeatedly, purposefully, and a little obnoxiously, overuse the words “dude, man, and guys”:

-Bob Welsh, a heart of gold who was unapologetically wearing an “ANALOG” t-shirt. (Hell, yeah. Let’s keep this real life, guys.) Responsible for Jump Street. Do you know it? You should, dude.Bob
-Louie Marven from the Harrisburg LGBT Center, who continually inspires me and so many of our friends. Also, one of the most well spoken people I know–knowledgeable and articulate. Always a dude doing some kind of good thing.Louie
-Jordan Hill, a kind, patient, soft spoken, giant… no really, he’s tall, man. Pennlive recently spotlighted him training with the kids from Steel High in his off season after a very successful rookie year with the Seattle Seahawks. Roots, man. He has them.Jordan
-Mike Landis works for Dickinson College and is a loving family man–but I grew up listening to him play music in fire halls, youth centers, VFW basements. Man, those nights shaped who I became.Mike
-Graham Hetrick, the Dauphin County Coroner, the man with the bow tie, the first one to arrive. He’s been the coroner in Dauphin County since 1990 and I think it takes a special kind of man to be around death all the damn time and keep his wits. Good on him, man.Graham
-Jack Moore, the best dude. He asked me, “Say, you’re a photographer–so that’s your job, huh? What does that mean?” I told him that it just meant that I got to hang out with cool people and make portraits of them. He wants to hang out sometime. He has a lot of cool people for me to meet and make portraits of… perfect, man.Jack
-Eric Moon, the man behind my coif. HA! A talented stylist that laid his roots in Harrisburg but continues to travel and share his brilliant colour knowledge with other people. The best guy, the best of friends. He hasn’t just “taught me”–he has SHOWN ME that professionals in creative fields grow and change and continue to learn. Dudes, he’s one of the best guys.Eric
-Peter Allan, not a Harrisburg enthusiast, he is THE Harrisburg enthusiast. A Temple graduate, a boomerang, a mover and shaker, a friend, a musician, a kind and familiar face at Little Amps, and a damn good high-fiver (you know the kind). He’s the man with his finger on the pulse of Harrisburg. Thank goodness for that man, man.Peter

ALSO, did I mention that I got the cover? Friends, seeing one of my images on the cover of a magazine will never cease to bring great joy to my heart.

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Run Steady! Run Positive!

The Van Jura Family, Jersey’s friends, and other folks from the Harrisburg community were a motley running crew a couple weeks ago at the Jersey Mike Run!

It’s always nice to see so many people come together for a good cause and to remember our friend, Mike… Not once, but two years in a row and hopefully many years to come at the Jersey Mike 5K. And seriously, cheers to all of us for making something positive out of our loss.

Thank you to everyone for the exceptional amount of hugs, love, and “HEY DANI FRESH!” outbursts at the race. Everything is cool!

For those of you who asked me about purchasing prints or files, here’s a link to do that! http://danifresh.zenfolio.com/p156772199
If you asked me about purchasing file, just email me: dani@danifresh.com

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I’m not sorry, Harrisburg. I fell in love with Asbury Park. (A Local Magazine Story)

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I’m not sorry, Harrisburg. I fell in love with Asbury Park.

But I also have a feeling that I’m going to fall in love with most of the places that I go.

Local Magazine took me places last year, and not just physically. There was a visible growth in my work from Roanoke to Asbury Park and home. And while I think I still have a million other things to learn, this Local experience is… something. Helpful? Challenging, mostly. Rewarding, on occasion. Stay in a comfort zone? I don’t even know what that is anymore. And of course, Fresh images galore. (Heh. See what I did there?) More importantly, Local has been and continues to be my American storytelling conduit. This is what I want to do as long as I am able to do it. Yeah, you heard me right. I want this to be my career.

Just between us, I’m fairly confident that if I didn’t get this wonderful lift of feelings surging from my guts when I experience good things, I wouldn’t stand a chance at being a steady vehicle to continually capture people. I hope those feelings never cease. Now, if I took the time to make images but not share them, what’s the damn point, right?

I am sorry and pretty bummed that I’ve neglected keeping up with my blog.

So, friends, let me catch up. Here are some of my favorite people from the Asbury Park issue of Local Magazine. More specifically, here are some of my favorite women from Asbury Park. They are the strong, visible characters in this beach town that blew me out of the water. Hands down, they’re amazing.

As well as the leading ladies, I also found my favorite spot, Asbury Lanes. The best music venue I’ve ever been to and the best people to welcome you. I miss them, dearly. I hope you can dig them as much as I do.

(If you’d like to support Local and help Ole Fresh out (which would be super cool of you) you can buy the issues here: http://local-quarterly.myshopify.com/)

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THE HOLD STEADY!

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.)

Love and tons of affection,
Fresh

 

Cali Allie!

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!

Love,
Fresh

 

On the Matter of Marriage

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.

http://www.harrisburgmagazine.com/December-2013/On-the-Matter-of-Marriage/
http://www.centralpalgbtcenter.org

Fresh Travels!

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.

Love,

Dani Fresh

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