#notmypresidentsday Protest

Today, at around 9:30am a few hundred people gathered in front of the steps of the Salt Lake City and County Building in Washington Square to protest the current administration. Armed with homemade signs and rigorous chants the crowd rallied around a message of unity pushing back against the President’s recent actions which include: Attempting to ban Muslims from entering the US, The announcement of a wall along the border of Mexico, and The reinstatement of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The March began at 9:00am sharp in front of the Wallace Bennett Federal Building, as protests walked from there to Washington Square to the chant of “This is what Democracy looks like”. While the initial crowd seemed small, dozens of protesters joined along the way to amass a sizable crowd.

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The top image is of one of the main protest organizers rallying the audience prior to the march. I selected the other two as an interesting feature hopefully to push the idea that the ability to march, while a protected right under the Constitution, is also a privilege not afforded to all of us. While some Utahan’s march through the streets to express their concerns and angst against what will likely be one of our worst President’s, there are others who struggle simply to get from one day to the next. Let us not forget them as we make our stand for equal treatments and progressive values.

Once the crowd had arrived at Washington square the group was greeted in an opening statement/prayer by local Native American, who asked for Trump to see the error of his ways:

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The crowd cheered off and on as the young man discussed the current situation at Standing Rock and called for everyone to consider lending them their support in any way they can. In addition to the opening speaker, the protesters heard talks by a handful of other Utahans’ which included a trans-gendered individual who spoke about the need to rally against oppression and fear-mongering.

Another speaker, a young black man, stood up in front of the audience and spoke of his extensive education and how little it matters to some people who see him only as a black man, or worse an ape.

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He was eloquent and vicious, and he spoke about not letting fear dictate our decisions or interactions with one another. He also had one of the best one-liners of the day when he told the crowd he was “An ape who could solve differential equations.” I had a good chuckle at both the line, and how uncomfortable his adjectives were making those who listened. There is most assuredly an issue or disconnect, especially here in Northern Utah where diversity is not what it could be to say the least. Having to see a well educated and well spoken man, discuss how his skin color has an effect on the way he is treated tends to make the exceptionally white people around here somewhat skittish. However, in his speech he called on the group to stand as one people, as brothers and sisters, not divided by any sort of contingent characteristics but as those who share a progressive value set. Of the handful or so speakers, I felt that his speech was by far the most impassioned and powerful.

In addition to the fiery speeches and cheering hoard, there was (as there always are with such public gatherings) some people whose method of speech stood out to me more than others:

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In addition, there were of course the rabble-rousers who slinked about the outer edges of the protest chanting pro trump slogans such as “Trump for a second term” or “Illegal immigrants are criminals”:

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I have to admit I was surprised there was only the two of them. I would have expected the basement dwelling trolls to be out in a stronger force. It’s as though these two were simply walking by on their way to do something else and decided to just hang out and yell stupid shit for a few minutes.

Last but not least, Capitalism at its finest! I mean, what good is a protest if you can’t find a way to turn a quick buck off it?

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All in all, it was good morning full of civic engagement with a couple of solid photo-ops. I do plan on making it out to more of these and hopefully even getting some more politically charged studio work in here in the near future. So stay tuned for that. As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!

P.S. In relation to my previous post, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts here’s the number to the helpline: 1-800-273-8255 or you can text “CONNECT” to 741741. This will likely be a common addition to my posts for the next little while. So keep sharing and keep the conversation open. Remember, you are loved.

Starting the Conversation: Suicide Awareness Shoot.

Like many of you out there, I’ve known more than one person who’s been down and out and felt helpless. Sadly, like some of you, I wasn’t there when they were at their lowest and looking for a hand to hold or an ear to listen to their troubles. It’s more likely than not that either you, or someone you know has had a close friend or family member take their own life. For me, it’s happened a little more often in the last few years than I’d care to think about. What hurts most when I think back on the lives of my friends who are no longer with us, it that suicide doesn’t care about what rung of the economic ladder you stand on, what color you are, your religious or even your political beliefs. Deep seated depression, the kind that makes you look at your liquor cabinet and full bottle of pain killers and say to yourself “Well, it can’t be any worse than it is now.” hits people of all walks of life.

But because we as a society are of the utmost level of cowardly when it comes to having difficult conversations or admitting when we need a hand; whether it’s in fear of being labeled weak, or the fear that comes from being rejected by someone we trust enough to spill out guts out too, when the time comes to have a conversation about how someone is really feeling or whether they (or even you, if you find yourself in this place) need some help, we clam up. We make an uncomfortable joke. We stop answering the phone when someone calls. We tell ourselves and our loved ones that everything is “fine” or it’s just a “case of the Monday’s”.

In all reality, suicide is not 100% preventable, but it damn sure shouldn’t be happening with any regularity. So when a buddy of mine posted some photos to Facebook a couple weeks back with the number to the suicide hotline hoping to start the conversation and get people to not shy away from the topic, it really hit me. Reading through the comments in which people were disgusted that he would post such a thing, to say the least, pissed me off. Was his photo shoot the absolute best way to show the ugly and dark side of how people feel right before going over the edge? Maybe, Maybe not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you saw it. You saw it and it forced you to say something about it. His post if nothing else, was successful on that front.

That being said, I reached out and asked if I could come in to the studio and take a crack at my own interpretation of what that feeling looks like and what I felt may get the conversation going. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to find someone who would model for, as once again it’s a touchy subject that no one really wants to have rammed in their face. Nonetheless, a most excellent human and good friend of mine stepped up to the plate and absolutely crushed it. Here’s the three shots I’m most happy with:

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Hopefully, my thoughts and intentions come across in the imagery. It’s definitely something I will be thinking about more and revisiting at least for the next little while. In the meantime, know that if you’re reading this (or hell, even if you aren’t), you are loved. If you are considering suicide as an option for you, know there is help. Reach out to someone. Don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t know someone who you think understands, call this number: 1-800-273-8255 or Text Connect to 741741 if you’d rather not speak on the phone. Whatever you do though, ask for help. You are not weak, you are not crazy. Helping and loving one another are what make us human and it’s the only thing that will ensure we continue as a species. Stay Safe, Stay Alive, Keep fighting. As always, Thanks for reading!
-D

Impromptu Wedding Shoot: A Friend in Need …

Well Looky thar! Lucky number 100 on the blog posts. It’s as though I’ve managed to keep up with something for an extended period of time. Even better, I’ve managed to do so and still have worthwhile things going on to post about. Case in point: A few weeks ago one of my friends reached out on Facebook asking for a hand with a wedding shoot as it was her sister getting married and she was going to have to be in some of the photos. Always looking for something else to shoot, I quickly jumped on the offer and volunteered my services. Lo’ and behold, it ended up being a total blast as both the bride and groom’s families were super easier to work with and move around based on the needs of the photo. I suppose that’s one of the perks of having the Bride’s sister be the actual photographer. I contemplated throwing up photos from both of us, but I wasn’t sure which ones the other photographer would like to use as a show of her work, so I’ll go with a single shot that I was a big fan of:

If you’re interested in seeing more of her work (I recommend checking the photos folder and scoping out the super adorable engagement shoot), you can check out her FB page at: K’lila Photography

Not only that, the lucky couple was more than willing to buy into whatever kooky schemes I drummed up to pose them in. Such as these from the post ceremony shoot:

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and these from the reception:

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Of course, You want to have a least a couple of “normal” photos so that your wedding album isn’t entirely filled with how goofy your photographer is, so I snapped these as well:

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The biggest challenge came from dealing with the sheer number of people who had to get into the group photos. Given that both parties had fairly large families, mashing them all together into a single shot became quickly unlikely. On the plus side, they were all nice enough to stand very still so I could snap two shots and could stitch them together like so:

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Once I arrived at the reception, I realized, what good is a wedding photographer if they don’t capture are the silly things your weird children do at the reception such as taking a nap in the middle of the floor?

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And as always, who doesn’t want to remember those decorations you invested countless hours and stress and innumerable fights on, only to be thrown away fifteen minutes after the happy couple leaves the room to start their honeymoon? Here’s a few of those as well:

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All in all, it was a fun day and I am super appreciative of K’lila for letting me tag along and shoot such a fun couple!

Until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Playing Catch-up: A Christmas Jazz Extravaganza!

So I haven’t posted in a little while and that’s mostly due to having largely spaced it. I’ve been focusing more on actually shooting photos and bettering myself as a person than simply writing about those things while doing nothing. However, in order to maintain some level of balance, I feel I should probably post about some of my excursions over the last few weeks before rolling into my New Year’s endeavors.

In early December, I was asked to come snap a few pictures of another “Jazz at the Station” event in which a good friend of mine was playing the drums. Given our various conversations on music, I was excited to get the chance to hear him play, and much as I expected, the show was phenomenal. Unlike other jazz shows I’ve been to, this one was Christmas themed and I had no idea how I was going to feel about it, given my strong distaste for most Christmas music. To be fair, I think it stems from spending so many years working in retail, where the music starts in early November and plays for ten hours a day until after New Year’s. By the middle of December I’m usually ready to violently stab anyone who even mentions reindeer.

Oddly enough though, I was surprised to find that I quite enjoy the jazz variations of classic Christmas songs. I also managed to snap a couple of photos I’m reasonably proud of and look forward to this month’s concert which will feature the Weber State University Jazz Band.

As for the concert though, the song list was pretty traditional, but the gentlemen playing seemed to be loose and having a good time. So by the end of the second song, they’d opted to start adding their own flair and solos to the melodies, and towards the end, it was almost as if they just started winging it. For those unfamiliar with Jazz, you might think of that as a disparaging criticism, but realistically, that’s just how jazz is. It’s also why I enjoy going to shows in that genre, as no two bands are ever alike. If you gave fifty jazz groups the same five songs to play, you’d end up with a hundred variations of that set.

That all being said, I know you aren’t here for my brilliant and insightful commentary, but rather some pictures. So here you are:

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On a final note, WordPress has changed the way you post to it recently, which I abhor. If you’d do me a solid, leave me a comment and let me know if this page is taking forever to load for you, or if it’s giving you any issues. If the actual posts are as buggy as the editor seems, I may leave this site in favor of another.

That’s all for this one. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!

-D

The Right Place at the Right Time: The Peery Apartments

As part of my mission to get out and shoot more, I took another walk today, this time opting to head eastbound up 24th. Originally, I had wanted to check out one of the churches on the corner, but it was unfortunately all closed up and I was forced to find something else. Luckily, as I mosey’d down the street, I came across a boarded up apartment complex that has been built in 1910. While wandering around the outside looking to see if there was a way in, I happened upon the woman who manages the place! Turns out, they are working to remodel the inside of the building to update it and start renting out the apartments again. In our small talk I mentioned that I was just out shooting photos and was interested in old buildings and architecture. Since she was waiting on a plumber to come by and take a look at a few things, she asked if I’d like to see the inside, to which I jumped at the chance. And boy howdy am I happy I did!

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Not only did I get a full tour of the building, it turns out her mom had lived in the building for 28 years before it got closed down and she was well versed in every nook and cranny of the place. This gave me the opportunity to snap some cool photos from a series of apartments. Mostly, because my awesome tour guide knew which apartments had all the best accouterments like this ornament over one of the fireplaces:

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Or these awesome heaters in the various bedrooms:

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Seeing these types of things always forces me to wonder why we don’t put this kind of effort into anything anymore. It’s also primarily the reason that both my wife and I agree that when we get to the point where we are going to buy a home, we want something old. I want the ornate woodwork on the stairwells, and the embellishments in all the finer details. I mean, just look at the interior stairwells for crying out loud:

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And on top of all of that, one of the cooler parts about these apartments, is that they’re trying to keep as much of the old stuff as they can during the renovation. So things, like these awesome mailboxes:

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Or this sweet vintage call-box system in which you can buzz an apartment from the front door all Seinfeld status:

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Of course, what good is a trip into an old, dirty, run-down building without a few pictures of some grimey stuff or some crunchy textures? Don’t worry dear reader, I’ve got you covered on that front as well:

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All in all, it was an awesome little excursion and the lady who manages the apartments was super sweet. I look forward to them being finished in all their old meets new glory (i.e., they plan to keep the apartments mostly the same and simply add new appliances and some cool modern features). I also hope you’re enjoying these posts as much as I do because with any luck, they won’t be ending anytime soon!

As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Jumping the Gun on a New Me: Mid-day Photowalk

For the regular readers, you’ve likely noticed a sharp decline in the posts I’ve been making. After switching roles at work I got into a bit of a funk where I felt wholly unsatisfied with my job and my current state in the world. In turn, it led to me not getting and out and shooting as much and seriously lacking inspiration. Earlier this week, I decided that wasn’t good enough anymore and I needed to shake things up some. I promised myself I would simply “be happier”, I’d work harder, and I’d also push to focus on the things I care about more. One of those obviously being photography. I figured that if nothing else, I could burn up my hour lunch break at work by instead of sitting around on my phone, going out for a walk and snapping some photos of random things. It would of course be mostly downtown Ogden near my office, but for now it would force me to shoot something. Anything really.

Yesterday was day one of the new method and it went exceptionally well as while I was wondering the street behind my work, I caught a few construction workers who were working on the old Keisel Building, which I’ve wanted to explore the inside of for a while, and I asked if I could poke around. They said it was fine but just look out for stray nails and such as it was a construction zone after all.

As it currently stands, the building is mostly done with the demolition side of the long term renovation plans and the interior has been pretty much gutted. However, there are still a number of the more interesting embellishments from the original building which made for some neat photos. Since the Kiesel building was primarily office spaces and home to a number of businesses, one of the cooler features was the mail chute that ran alongside the elevators from the top floor to the bottom:

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Aside from those, the elevator control mechanism on the top floor was open to dig through as well as a huge vault on the first floor:

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Outside of the fun, little things, I got a cool shot of the stairwell, and a fun picture of a busted up window on one of the top floors:

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Finally, I got up to the roof where I got a panorama shot of the clouds rolling in over the mountains now that our first good snow is completed:

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All in all it was a great day. I got some good work done, I got some sweet photos, and my mood was much better than it had been in a while. Even a nasty puddle was looking pretty good:

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So hopefully I will be posting here a little more often, as I get out and shoot more and who knows, maybe I’ll find the inspiration I’ve been wanting (even though I’m not sure what it would even look like at this point).

As always, until next time –thanks for reading!
-D

Utah Forgotten: Thistle, Utah

So it’s been a little over a month since my last post. Which I apologize for, but sometimes life has a way of getting between us and our passions. Between mine and my wife’s work, weekends have been pretty scarce. This weekend however, I got to make a short trip to snap some photos and I opted to check out the ghost town of Thistle, UT.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the area Google maps said I should be in, is that there were quite a few new homes in the area. By new of course, I mean within the last few years. If your interested in the History of why this ghost town came to be, you can check out the wiki here. The tl;dr version of it is a large scale landslide in 1983 caused the town to have to be evacuated before it was completely flooded out. If you drive out there nowadays you’ll see some fairly nice ranch homes and new structures juxtaposed to the rubble of a town that once was. Luckily for me, that rubble is a thing and I got some cool things to take photos of! Here’s a few shots I managed:

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There were a couple other buildings in the area I wanted to explore, but we had left late in the afternoon, and so we were running out of daylight. I’ll hopefully get to make another trip out before too long. On the bright side, on the way back home, I was in a good position to catch some serious cloud action during sunset and got this one:

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It was nice to get out and explore again. It’s something I need to make sure I do for myself, as I have a lot of high hopes and a laundry list of photo projects I want to do, but those all require I actually get out and shoot some. Next week should be promising as we’re making another long drive down to New Mexico, so I may have to force myself to pull the car over and snap some pictures if an opportunity presents itself. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As always, until next time – Thanks for reading!
-D