A Big Gay Dance Party to Welcome Vice President Pence to Columbus

When Vice President Mike Pence announced he was coming to Columbus on Pride weekend to speak to supporters about the Trump Administration's tax policies, the local LGBTQ community decided to welcome him with a dance party outside of the hotel where the speech was taking place. 

Wayne World

Deep in Ohio's Appalachian foothills lies a string of small communities seemingly forgotten by time. Villages like Shawnee, Haydenville, and New Straightsville, just a little over an hour outside of Columbus, feel like they are another world away.

The Wayne National Forest weaves its way through and around these towns - and with it comes a constant tension, to preserve its natural beauty or extract its natural resources. For isolated rural communities like these, the "promise" of jobs is hard to pass up, regardless of the public health and environmental implications, not to mention the likelihood of those jobs ever being created. 

This region is often torn between these two opposing desires. A few generations ago it was the timber industry. Shortly after it was oil, then it was coal. Several tragic accidents, labor disputes, a sabotaged mine that burns even today over 120 years later, and untold environmental degradation led the federal government to designate the Wayne as a National Forest in an effort to reclaim the land that had been so depleted it had become unusable. 

These days it's natural gas, extracted through fracking, that offers the latest promise of jobs and economic prosperity. Some folks welcome the industry, they're eager to see a jolt to the regional economy, which lags behind the national average by nearly two points. Others see fracking as the latest in a long line of snake oil salesmen who will destroy the land and leave its residents to clean up after the mess.  Of course, some folks are just doing their best to get by.

This project focuses on these communities and their residents, as they grapple with these difficult questions, emerge from the past, and decide their future.  

Venice Beach Portraits

Venice Beach Portraits

Taking portraits of strangers is one of the most rewarding aspects of photography for me. The process can be intimidating but that's part of its attraction. Getting outside of my comfort zone is the best way to grow, as a person, and as a photographer.

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A Celestial Adventure

A Celestial Adventure

Earlier this year, much of the continental United States was treated to a rare solar eclipse. I made the drive from Columbus, Ohio to Southern Illinois where totality was longer than anywhere else in the country. The six and a half hour drive and the adventure that followed was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Witnessing the surreal shift in light as the moon passed in front of the sun was unlike anything I've seen before. 

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George E. Smith, Vietnam Veteran and Prisoner of War: For 614 Magazine

George E. Smith, Vietnam Veteran and Prisoner of War: For 614 Magazine

I had the honor of photographing George E. Smith, a Vietnam Veteran and former Prisoner of War for 614 Magazine.

The Vietnam War has resurfaced in the American consciousness lately thanks in large part to the documentary by Ken Burns. 

The documentary tells the story of the Vietnam War through the experiences of everyday soldiers on both sides, eschewing pundits, talking heads, and politicians. In doing so, it offers viewers an opportunity to see something they thought they understood in a completely new way. 

I had a similar experience while talking to and photographing George.

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Photographing The Author Who Tried To Touch The Sun

Photographing The Author Who Tried To Touch The Sun

Vada Azeem is a modern day Renaissance Man - Author, Illustrator, Musician - the man wears many hats.

His first book, "The Boy Who Tried to Touch the Sun" which he wrote and illustrated was released in October. The launch included a reading at the Columbus Museum of Art as well as articles in several local publications. Read more about Vada, his non-traditional path to become a children's book author, and see some of my images for the story at 614 Magazine.

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My Go To Photography Apps 

My Go To Photography Apps 

While most of my professional jobs are shot on a DSLR, many of the images on my Instagram account are taken with my iPhone.

Why?

Because I always have it with me, and for most photos, its perfectly adequate. To elevate those images from adequate to exceptional, try one of these apps.

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The Circleville Pumpkin Show

The Circleville Pumpkin Show

Every year, people flood the small town of Circleville, Ohio to see some of the largest pumpkins in the world and eat some pumpkin flavored treats. This year I made the trip to Circleville, not to take photos of the pumpkins, but to document the people who work at and attend the show - and maybe eat a couple pumpkin flavored donuts...

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