{Community} A Walk to Make a Difference: Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer Raises Money For the Maine Cancer Foundation

On a dreary day, people walked to help raise money for a cause. I went to support my brother, and stayed just for the photos of Thunder.

Spoiler: it’s my nephew in that mascot costume.

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Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer has been walking and fundraising or the last 7 years (or maybe 8? 10?). I’m trying to dig for the info, and may need to clarify later - but either way for what seems like roughly the last decade of our lives my brother has created and organized a team at his school to participate in and raise money for Mary’s Walk and the Maine Cancer Foundation. Starting last year they moved the walk to the school, while still donating all the money to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

I missed last year’s walk, but my cameras and I were able to get there this year.

How could I miss it? Besides being for a great cause, my nephew was the school mascot and that made my camera’s day. But also, it was great to see all these young people taking time after school to be part of this and make a difference.

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This makes me laugh every time.

This makes me laugh every time.

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Thunder (the Neph) and my brother (creator of Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer and two time cancer survivor).

Thunder (the Neph) and my brother (creator of Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer and two time cancer survivor).

Ray from Maine Cancer Foundation came to the walk, and made a great speech reminding everyone how they are making a difference.

Ray from Maine Cancer Foundation came to the walk, and made a great speech reminding everyone how they are making a difference.

The niece thanked everyone for supporting her dad and so that made some people cry. Maybe.

The niece thanked everyone for supporting her dad and so that made some people cry. Maybe.

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Waiting for everyone to finish the walk..

Waiting for everyone to finish the walk..

Here they come! The niece and Neph … I mean THUNDER are ready to greet all the walkers.

Here they come! The niece and Neph … I mean THUNDER are ready to greet all the walkers.

So, once again a community of people came together and proved that we can all make a difference. An idea can grow into an event and people will show support and donate their time and money in the name of helping each other /a cause / a neighbor/friend/teacher who needs a little extra boost or is trying to help others.

The odd positive spin of having cancer impact your own family so much. Which isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

xo ~ jb

{365} Photo Project: March

Here we are, month 3 of 2019. March is a funny time in the Northeast. There are sparks of hope for warmer days, coupled with snowstorm excitement.. Ice cream stands dare to start to open for the season and Mainers line up next to piles of dirty snow to get that taste of the Summer treat.

Frankly, it’s a bit confusing.

So, my camera and I spent time inside, but also tried to get out more, and chased light around my house, neighborhood, and community. Fun with the niece, and food with friends. Splashes of color and looking for something that would work well in black & white. My journey with the 365 project seems like a mixture of predictable and we’ll see what happens! That feels right.

Here is how March and I walked together. Ups and downs and laughs and aches and pains and challenges and rewards and ending feeling like a shift was happening. Seems like the right way to end the month and the winter season….

3/1 The niece {Button} and my mom {Jamma} being entertained by animojis.

3/1 The niece {Button} and my mom {Jamma} being entertained by animojis.

3/2 My Pal Karen and I like to get together every so often for what we are now calling “Pirate Brunch”. I am on a quest to photograph the people in my life, and I finally got her! :D

3/2 My Pal Karen and I like to get together every so often for what we are now calling “Pirate Brunch”. I am on a quest to photograph the people in my life, and I finally got her! :D

3/3 After the Neph’s one act play.

3/3 After the Neph’s one act play.

3/4 Snow!

3/4 Snow!

3/5 These. I have missed them.

3/5 These. I have missed them.

3/6 Office time.

3/6 Office time.

3/7

3/7

3/8 Button at the salon. My new favorite thing to photograph.

3/8 Button at the salon. My new favorite thing to photograph.

3/9 Brother in law broke his leg. Last time we saw him he was recovering in the hospital. Progress!

3/9 Brother in law broke his leg. Last time we saw him he was recovering in the hospital. Progress!

3/10

3/10

3/11

3/11

3/12

3/12

3/13

3/13

3/14 My kitchen shows me different light and colors and it’s pretty great.

3/14 My kitchen shows me different light and colors and it’s pretty great.

3/15 THAT JOJO BOW! More ladies hang time with Button and Jamma.

3/15 THAT JOJO BOW! More ladies hang time with Button and Jamma.

3/16 Selfies at roller derby where all my derby pals talk to her and make her feel awesome and I’m super grateful for that.

3/16 Selfies at roller derby where all my derby pals talk to her and make her feel awesome and I’m super grateful for that.

3/17 Projects for Spring.

3/17 Projects for Spring.

3/18 I didn’t go in, but I liked the light and the composition so I dropped my grocery bags and took a photo. or 5.

3/18 I didn’t go in, but I liked the light and the composition so I dropped my grocery bags and took a photo. or 5.

3/19 Home nook. Metal owl by the hubs.

3/19 Home nook. Metal owl by the hubs.

3/20 Feeling uninspired on this day, so I went to Smaha’s to get some yummy eats and saw this as I was headed to my car. So, again, I dropped my groceries and took out the camera, framed it a few different ways, put the camera away and picked up groceries and continued on my merry way like one does when photographing in alleys or on other people’s property.

3/20 Feeling uninspired on this day, so I went to Smaha’s to get some yummy eats and saw this as I was headed to my car. So, again, I dropped my groceries and took out the camera, framed it a few different ways, put the camera away and picked up groceries and continued on my merry way like one does when photographing in alleys or on other people’s property.

3/21 Hung out with this kid after she got off the bus. I think this was the second outfit of the afternoon.

3/21 Hung out with this kid after she got off the bus. I think this was the second outfit of the afternoon.

3/22 My Friends are fun.

3/22 My Friends are fun.

3/23 Sopo.

3/23 Sopo.

3/24 Hangman and personal space invasion with these two xo.

3/24 Hangman and personal space invasion with these two xo.

3/25 More kitchen colors, etc.

3/25 More kitchen colors, etc.

3/26 Pasta steam. This is something I keep wanting to get better at shooting. So, just in case you see a similar photo again during this project…

3/26 Pasta steam. This is something I keep wanting to get better at shooting. So, just in case you see a similar photo again during this project…

3/27 I decided I might like Yin Yoga.

3/27 I decided I might like Yin Yoga.

3/28 This day’s cycle class kicked my butt. I have been working on not letting that happen in the future. Or at least not as badly as it did this day. Anyway, this little space on the wall spoke to me.

3/28 This day’s cycle class kicked my butt. I have been working on not letting that happen in the future. Or at least not as badly as it did this day. Anyway, this little space on the wall spoke to me.

3/29 I surrendered to a sick day.

3/29 I surrendered to a sick day.

3/30 A roller derby baby shower.

3/30 A roller derby baby shower.

3/31 in the final days of 15 he sat in a chair, chatting with me, and played with his sister’s homemade ‘fortune teller.’

3/31 in the final days of 15 he sat in a chair, chatting with me, and played with his sister’s homemade ‘fortune teller.’

So, that was my March! I am sure I am not alone in being ready for Spring to show up and for more time outside. And with that, I am off to get caught up on April images….

{365} Photo Project: February

As I type this February is now behind us. I have been adding photos here all month so I would be ready to share and blog about another month of living the 365 photo project life. When I look at the images again I can see those days where we (or really I) was in the thick of it being February. So many indoor photos of homebody life, or occasionally getting outside only to meet up with people back inside. The days when I photographed a detail like my car or my kitchen counter or my floor, with only a few photos of anything happening outside. Maybe that will change now that March is here! (she types this as she looks out her window at the snow falling and another coating of white starting to cover the dirt and the pavement…)

But, here we are and here is how my February unfolded in front of my camera….

2/1 Olivia | Scarborough, Maine | waiting her turn to be photographed after her mom.

2/1 Olivia | Scarborough, Maine | waiting her turn to be photographed after her mom.

2/2 A hit to the face at roller derby | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/2 A hit to the face at roller derby | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/3 Brothers on Super Bowl Sunday.

2/3 Brothers on Super Bowl Sunday.

2/4 Trader Joe’s Parking lot | Portland, Maine.

2/4 Trader Joe’s Parking lot | Portland, Maine.

2/5 at trivia | Gorham, Maine. ps we won!

2/5 at trivia | Gorham, Maine. ps we won!

2/6 On my floor.

2/6 On my floor.

2/7 Another slice of my life.

2/7 Another slice of my life.

2/8 Another afternoon with Jamma and Button.

2/8 Another afternoon with Jamma and Button.

2/9 VW.

2/9 VW.

2/10 Hanging with the niece and neph, and creating animojis until my battery wears down.

2/10 Hanging with the niece and neph, and creating animojis until my battery wears down.

2/11 Crafty.

2/11 Crafty.

2/12 Snow Storm happy hour with Amy.

2/12 Snow Storm happy hour with Amy.

2/13 Snow storm day, so here’s more finding light and home decor.

2/13 Snow storm day, so here’s more finding light and home decor.

2/14 Valentine’s and afternoon distraction.

2/14 Valentine’s and afternoon distraction.

2/15 Leaving the Hospital | Portland, Maine.

2/15 Leaving the Hospital | Portland, Maine.

So, confession time: I have a policy with myself to not change my mind once an image is picked, but on the 15th I posted a different photo and I now feel I made the wrong choice. So the photo above is the better photo, in my opinion, than the one I posted on FB. The one I chose originally was a little more dramatic and had more colors and light happening, but there are technical issues with it that bother me. SO, I went back to the one I felt I should pick. Yet I still question if choosing this one is the easy choice. The bottom line though is this image is better technically, and I like the different pockets of color. AND the human in the corner. I was intentional on my part to keep him in the frame.

On a personal level this was also a week where more than one family member was in a hospital for varying (hopefully temporary) life setback kind of things. It’s possible my head was not in the best place during this week, so my decision making was a little clouded. It’s also possible I wanted to somehow capture what was going on that week, but didn’t want to share other people’s personal happenings on my FB page because that’s not really my place.

This is one of those 365 photo things I still haven’t mastered. At times I am definitely protective of other people’s privacy, which seems like a contradiction when photographing and sharing your life everyday. But I know it’s not always my story to share, whether that’s a family member having medical things or even clients needing photos but not wanting them shared until they are ready, since it’s their story and their message…

Privacy in an era of oversharing. Ha! A whole different topic, so let’s get back to February and photos, shall we?

2/16 Roller Derby spectating with my heartshadesquad pals | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/16 Roller Derby spectating with my heartshadesquad pals | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/17 Sunday lunch and shopping with GG and Ablock | Sebago Brewing | South Portland, Maine.

2/17 Sunday lunch and shopping with GG and Ablock | Sebago Brewing | South Portland, Maine.

2/18 Kitchen | Playing with my old 50 and shallow DOF.

2/18 Kitchen | Playing with my old 50 and shallow DOF.

2/19 Kitchen Copper.

2/19 Kitchen Copper.

2/20 Broth time.

2/20 Broth time.

2/21 Basement Sweat Station.

2/21 Basement Sweat Station.

2/22 the day we celebrated National Margarita Day.

2/22 the day we celebrated National Margarita Day.

2/23 at Crisp | Scarborough, Maine.

2/23 at Crisp | Scarborough, Maine.

2/24 OMG it’s my kitchen. AGAIN.

2/24 OMG it’s my kitchen. AGAIN.

2/25 Art in a coffee shop | CIA coffee shop | South Portland, Maine.

2/25 Art in a coffee shop | CIA coffee shop | South Portland, Maine.

2/26 Family.

2/26 Family.

2/27 Oh, there’s a snowflake in one of our windows I forgot was there!

2/27 Oh, there’s a snowflake in one of our windows I forgot was there!

2/28 Brunch with Chem | shooting with the nifty 50 and my coffee comes to me in this mug | Sinful Kitchen | Portland, Maine.

2/28 Brunch with Chem | shooting with the nifty 50 and my coffee comes to me in this mug | Sinful Kitchen | Portland, Maine.

And that’s a wrap for February! I always want to end it like a film set with a big “THAT’S A WRAP EVERYONE” and we all clap, but also that’s more attention than I really like. So for now, just a quieter mini high five to myself and other photog pals for completing another month in the world of documenting your every day life, every day of this year.

* (Insert Judd Nelson fist to the sky final image at the end of The Breakfast Club here and every month of 2019)*

Stories Behind Photos: How much do you want to know?

How much do you want to know about a photo? The whole story? Enough information to understand the image on a small level, but leaving some curiosity? Nothing at all so you can enjoy it for yourself?

This is something I think about. I am not necessarily in one mindset over the other, because I see the benefit of sharing information but also understand the need to let people form their own opinions. I do know I often won’t read super long posts and over the top descriptions of images. Yet, it seems lately people respond to my images more if there is at least some context included. Some story. Some information. Some way to connect us and make us feel something.

So how much do you want to know? Do you want to know more about the people who trust me to be in their space with my camera(s)? Does a little story or background help make the image stronger? Does it help you/any of us connect more?

Maybe it doesn’t really matter. I know sometimes we want images to speak for themselves, but I personally love to know the stories about a photo subject, even if it’s just a little snippet of information. Photos do connect us, and stories can make that connection even stronger.

Spry.

Spry.

Here’s an image I like because I know the subject and it shows me things about her that I know or have observed in the roughly 7 years we have known each other. But if you don’t know her, you may or may not like the image, and it may be for different reasons. If you know her, you may react as some of my pals have liking the photo of this person you know and enjoy.

I photograph Spry sitting on the bench between roller derby jams often. I gravitate to her during game time when I am there with my camera. It may be because we are friends, but it may also be because sometimes she is sitting in just the right spot, or because her face is expressive/animated when she is sitting with her team mates. Maybe it’s the Maine tattoo on her shoulder, or the way the MRD logo stands out when not covered by a ponytail or long hair. Maybe it’s because I know one of these will work out and will give me an image I like.

And when I look at this one I also see that hand gesture and head tilt - a very human moment. How much more do you want to know? Because I also want to point out when I see that hand gesture I chuckle a little because of that crooked pinky from that time she broke it all these years ago, I believe from a mechanical bull riding accident. But maybe that’s her story to share and not mine.

Did I tell you too much?

Or do you still want to know more?

Personal: My {2018} 365 Photo Project

In 2018 I decided to take part in a 365 photo project with a few other photographers in my area. The challenge is to make a photo EVERY DAY for the entire year. In 2017 I had done a photo a week project, and loved how the project made me bring my camera out more often. It’s easy as photographers to silp into only bringing the gear out for paid shoots, and maybe the occasional family gathering. I needed a reminder of how much I love to photograph every day life.

So a photo a week turned into a photo a day. And now that the year is done and the images are edited and the slideshow has been made, I can see that this was no small task. A year stretching out on the horizon seems like an exciting oportunity and a daunting task at the same time. 365 chances to make a photo! But also holy cow 365 days of making photos!! I had to break it down for myself, so it would not feel overwhelming.

First, I had to develop the habit. I did a 21 day habit building exercise, where i wrote every day about this habit and then put the lesson to work. The mindset here is the belief that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.

Second, I decided to take things one month at a time, but also one DAY at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was hitting the end of my first month, and then struggled with feeling like I ended the month with an image I wasn’t happy with. This happened a few times if I’m being honest — I would feel great about another month under my belt, but then finish with an image that wasn’t that strong.

{reality check: THAT’S OK}

SO, Third, I reminded myself that YES there are 365 opportunities but some days will be better than others. Some days we are just better at some things, some days we are making sure we get to the end of the day. Learning to be forgiving and let some days feel maybe mediocre, and remind myself that part of this project was about honesty and a splash of perseverance. And the less exciting/inspiring/focused days are like resting spots between the days where there is fun, food, conversation, love, and adventure. So, take them all.

At first I had a small struggle realizing the other photographers doing this had children and adorable fur babies. A constant plethora of photographic subjects. I work from home a lot, have no kids, no pets, and a better half who doesn’t like the attention of a camera. I loved the work I was seeing from others, partly because there was so much energy and honesty. They were capturing these amazing chunks of their everyday life, and the messier the better. I buckled in for a long winter of figuring out how to work around the lack of subject matter in my living space.

But I also knew my option was to work with what I had or go looking for something. As a winter hibernator, I was actually glad for this project and the times it made me bundle up and head out the door. Drive until you find something, head to the beach until your fingers hurt from holding the camera, go visit your family or meet your friends for nachos, even if you already ate. Chase light and life and see what happens. And on the days where that doesn’t happen, slow down and look at things around you and figure out how to photograph it.

I had many moments throughout the year where I was so glad I was doing this project. Glad to the point of feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful for the push, the support, the drive, and for the people in my life and the things we share. I brought my camera to a rally against gun violence. I saw friends and strangers stand together to have their voices heard. I watched people feel the emotion of this time and felt the weight of the moment as I witnessed some of it unfold through my viewfinder. When I loaded the images something looked strange in some of the frames, and I grew concerned I had done something to my gear. But I was in the middle of photographing life every day, so let’s keep going. The something became more of a problem and when I brought me camera to get cleaned I was told there was a hair sharing space in my camera. I looked back through my photo a day project and realized I brought my camera to the hair salon the day before the march. The price of bringing your camera everywhere!

Some days I took over 200 photos, some days 2. One day I looked at my phone will watching Saturday Night Live and saw a post from my photo pals, which made me jolt up in panic that it was 11:42 pm and I had yet to take a photo! I scrambled to get my camera and figure out what to photograph in my dark house. Behold, the refrigerator door! Because when you open it, there is light. Anddddd then I was wide awake for awhile.

I photographed my friends having as much Summer fun as we could in the short time we get it here in Maine. The laughter, the food, the floats, the drinks, the singing. I listened to my friends talk about their struggles with life and family and such, and had moments of wishing the relatives who criticize these friends could see what I see. Photos unfolding in front of me telling the stories of friendship. There are times when this project was humbling that way.

And, of course, the multiple times I got to be with my niece and nephew with the camera. I really like them (super obvious, I know) and actually want to hang out with them often, but we all have lives. This project had me making more efforts to visit and do things with them. Summer evenings in the unicorn castle, excuses to get ice cream, or just show up and play. I would get my photo (and sometimes end up with too many to edit) and would get to hang with them. Works for everyone! Plus, the amount of photos I had at the end of the year to give my family members… it was actually somewhat overwhelming. I printed off close to 300 prints to give to my family both to thank them for supporting my through this, but so they could see how a year in our lives looked. PLUS, the importance of printing your photos! That’s another topic for another blog post. Or several posts.

So, 2018 is a wrap. I’m so glad I got to capture as much of it as I did. Since I didn’t feel like stopping on 12/31/2018, I have continued on with a repeat project for 2019!

Thank you for following along!

Here’s to more real moments for all of us in 2019! xo ~ jb