Category Archives: Asbury Park

Farewell, Harrisburg

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Six years ago, when I moved into this apartment at the Simon Cameron School, I was working long days—shooting photos during the day and bartending at Speakeasy at night… One night, after closing the bar, I dragged ass down the hallway of my place, dumped my bags right in the middle of the floor and thought, “I am so fucking glad to be home.”

I felt this very sweet, exhausted joy as I realized that this was the first time I felt like I was “home” since I was in high school. It was so profound. I leaned up against the wall and wept… and then laughed. And crawled in to bed.

I loved this apartment in this place with all of you people.

With the help of a small army, I moved out last month. I said goodbye to my apartment in a fit of tears and red wine. I’m sure I could have found another apartment in Harrisburg, but I’ve been restless for months. It felt like time to go.

I’m thankful that I didn’t leave Harrisburg because I dislike it or I’m running from something… I thrive when I’m traveling and I’m stoked to put myself in a state of agitation to push forward and grow.

I am filled with gratitude for everyone who helped me… whether you came over and kept me company, helped me sort and pack, fed me hot dogs and grilled veggies, or did the heavy lifting. Moving sucks. Y’all are true friends. I appreciate you.

I made my way to Asbury Park for the summer to live with my friend, Jill, and to do a residency at Parlor Gallery. Months ago, I approached Juicy Jenn, my friend and one of the owners of the gallery, and told her that I wanted to photograph women at home. I adore environmental portraiture and I’m so excited to make images of women in their residence—in their space.

At the time, it was so silly that I didn’t realize the significance of losing my own home and wanting to make these images. Everything has slowly shifted into focus though. What wasn’t a thought at the time now seems so obvious.

Dearest Harrisburg, you are the biggest part of my heart. Thank you for being so tender. Thank you for being my home.

Love always,

Fresh

Viewpoint in Asbury Park: Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Last summer I was invited to be a photography advisor for a workshop called “Viewpoint” in Asbury Park at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County. The program, organized by Jill Bartlett, was designed to empower young people to express themselves through democratic image creation–using Fuji Instax and disposable cameras! Over the course of five weeks, they were able to explore Asbury Park’s downtown and boardwalk, the Stephen Crane House, and places they chose to represent Asbury Park. I had the opportunity to talk to them about content, color, intention, and create images with them. More importantly though, I listened and learned from them.

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This is Nyasia. We were walking down Cookman Avenue during the workshop, photographing structures and elements that caught our attention while discussing the constantly evolving landscape of Asbury Park’s downtown area. I love the beautiful architecture; historical structures that I believe will always represent this place. She loves how it’s constantly changing; there’s always something new to see. Then, in stride, she said, “I think we need to go take photos on the west side… People talk bad about it because they’re scared of it and they don’t know anything about it, but it’s really cool over there. Everybody knows everybody and people really help each other out.” In that moment, I think my heart looked up at her from my chest. What a poignant statement.

FEAR and the negative action or inaction from it is the substance that fills up and expands the divide in our local and global communities. Because it has festered, it is no longer acceptable to ignore it or to put a proverbial band-aid on it. I challenge you to combat the fear in your own heart and love in a manner that encourages others to do the same.

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I loved this and I can’t wait to do it again.

THANK YOU to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County, Jill, Jan, Larry, and everyone else who had a hand in making this happen. I think the world of you!

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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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