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.
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!
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.
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.