Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This year is dedicated to my friends Colleen Dugan Losh, Bob Gilbert, Andy Carruthers, Arianne Teeple, Mark Odell, and all of the other talented photojournalists to be fired this last year. 2009 was my tenth year of working as a newspaper photojournalist, and at the beginning of the year I was sure it was going to be my last. The photography layoffs fell everywhere, each one increasingly, pathetically counterproductive to the goal of keeping the public invested in newspapers.
But there was still work to be done, stories to be told, and histories large and small to record. I tried my best to knuckle down and get on with it, the only calling I've ever had or wanted.
So lets start with joy. A guitarist from a high school rock band leaps through the air at the county wide battle of the bands. My fourth year of shooting this concert.

A pole vaulter snags the bar at the state track championship. I believe he did place, this was just the one attempt too far. I like the square eyes of the far wall, a fun composition.

Gathered in a prayer circle hand in hand with clergy, the Governor and Lt. Governor prepare for a march to protest the state's death penalty.

The contestants for the county spelling bee await the start of competition. I like the variety of expressions on their faces.

Snow on the golf course, then downtown.

Watermen dump oyster shells back into the Severn after dredging them up to make new oyster bars. It was very very cold out.

A student rises after testifying in a hearing to change the state song from its current pro Confederate version (sad but true). I notice that this year I tended to put a lot of people dead center of the frame, to make the shots more about portraits of the subject and less of the subject interacting with their world. As if I've become less interested in the story then the people at the heart of the story.

The door stands open between the construction zone and the rest of the Naval Academy chapel, undergoing renovation. Walls and doors, opening and closing, either side flooded with light.

An otherwise homeless woman sits on the couch of a home run by a small nonprofit.

The airport, returning home after his second tour, his mother on the left and father over his shoulder.

Footwear flies into the flaming pile at the annual Sock Burning to celebrate the equinox and the beginning of spring. Managed not to set the camera on fire.

Putting on a tie for an interview with the newspaper on his 103rd birthday.

Playwright D.L. Coburn on the set of "The Gin Game", his Pulitzer Prize winning play, before a local performance.

Bulldog J-Roc, a new arrival at the SPCA, waits for someone to adopt him.

A Police Officer patrols among students at the dismissal of a local middle school.

An example of maybe pushing it too far. I've covered this "May Day" flower basket contest every year, and I really wanted to get a different angle on the shot. So I ended up hanging over a balcony, waiting for the decisive moment, only to have deadlines force me back to the office before I nailed it. If I'd had another half hour....

A high school pep rally before upcoming AP tests. Again, more portraits, more faces.

Pallbearers carry the casket as uniformed fire personal salute at the funeral of a former Fire Division Chief.

An alderman speaks at a press conference addressing a charge of 4th degree sexual assault. After the press conference, a photographer from another paper showed up late and so they re staged the entire thing, plus modeling the alderman by a window for a better portrait. Sad.

This year's Blue Angel's flight show, my best take yet.

Midshipmen break into smiles after marching out of their last Color Parade, shortly before throwing each other into fountains in celebration. Somebody there should give me a job...

President Barack Obama speak to graduates at the at the USNA Class of 2009 graduation.

Senator John McCain, right, places a hat on the head of his son John McCain IV after his commissioning at the USNA Class of 2009 graduation.

The scene of a fatal motorcycle crash. The riders in the background really bring this one home for me.

High school graduations. Less straining for unique angles and lighting this year, more faces and emotion. And it pays off. Got a nice letter from the guardian of the kid in the second shot, said he'd had trouble making it through school, a lot of issues, and seeing him in the paper graduating was special for them all.

A lone kayaker paddles down the Patuxent River. Our paper started running long horizontal shots under the Sunday masthead, a great idea and one really fun to shoot for.

Approaching storm clouds, and then driving rain. Driving, because I was shooting the traffic through the windshield as I was driving.

Swinging a weighted bat in the on deck circle while waiting for an up. Shot thought the chain link fence, I like how the faint diagonal lines frame the player.

After police stopped and searched a man in front of his girlfriend , he proposes to her with the engagement ring they found in a pre-arrainged proposal. My presence was also pre-arrainged, in case you are wondering. The blue cast is from the squad car light.

Inductees stand in line awaiting processing during Induction Day at the United States Naval Academy. One of my favorite shots of the year, I believe the mural behind them is of the Battle of Hue City.

Dogs in the 4th of July parade. I learned it ten years ago from my first photo editor Matt Button, "kids and dogs, thats what the paper needs, kids and dogs!".

The fireworks shot of the year.

In the newsroom chaos of this year, I took every opportunity I could to get out on the water and shoot sailing photos. I had a pretty good year in that regard.

Collision with the Committee boat at the gun.

The fall sports season, and I really made up for my lackluster winter and spring work. In football especially, something just seemed to click for me in a way it hadn't before.