Fight for $15 Protests on ASU campus

20150415arizonaprotest43Attended the Fight for $15 protests which took a different approach this year, compared to the last. The groups focused on highlighting lack of adjunct pay as well as continuing to advocate for a higher minimum wage. I was curious what bystanders thought, so I used yikyak to read some posts:

“what are these people even protesting like stop yelling gibberish” (that would be the Spanish that was used)

“Fast food part time jobs are not meant for people to make a living from . . . $15 an hour is highly unlikely”

Replies to the above: “Those jobs aren’t mean to be careers” . . . “Just the fact that they’re demanding to make more per year than a soldier defending his country makes is enough to show how ridiculous they’re being” . . . “Fast food workers should not be making more than teachers and soldiers. If you want to make more money either work more hours or get an education” . . . “There all just a bunch of bums with a false sense of entitlement who are to lazy to get a real job”

“$15 an hour? Good luck with that . . .”

Replies to the above: “that’s ridiculous, they don’t deserve 15 and hour” . . .

“Fuck the angry mob on Rural. Someone should fuck them up.”

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It’s always interesting to read people’s reaction to protests and yikyak is a great way to hear people’s unpolished opinions on the subject. It was an interesting protest, attended by adjuncts, students and various activist groups that marched throughout the city starting at Walmart and McDonalds in the early morning, downtown ASU campus to protest conditions at the construction site of the new Arizona Center for Law and Society and finishing at Hayden Lawn in a protest meant to highlight poor wages for adjunct faculty.

Battle of Picacho Pass

Photo by Deanna Dent

On Sunday I decided to visit a civil war re-enactment of the battle of Picacho Pass which in reality was a small skirmish regardless it was the westernmost battle fought during the civil war. Since before Picacho Peak became an Arizona State Park in 1967 reenactors have been coming out to recreate the skirmish. Officially the park has helped organize the event for 48 years with coordination between rangers and Union and Confederate commanders who help organize their re-enactors but the battle was happening annually long before that. I have heard about this since I was young but never actually seen it myself, like so many Arizonans. A ranger mentioned that these reenactors were today’s Harry Potter reenactors, just people wanting to have a good time.

Civil War reenactors from Mesa, Tucson, Prescott and even from California, New Mexico, Virginia and many other states came to recreate the skirmish. They also recreate other civil war battles and bring canons that are fired during two prior battles during the day. The final battle of Sunday was the true skirmish where three Confederate soldiers were surprised by Union cavalry (they traveled up from Sierra Vista) and proceeded to surprise and drive off the Union soldiers. According to the park nearly 6,000 people attend throughout Saturday and Sundays’ battles and visitors can wander through the camps learning about life during the civil war. I wish I had been able to spend the entire weekend with them. I shot a few portraits below of some of the interesting people I met, I have to say I was drawn to the Confederate camp because most had no uniform, one reenactor explained that Confederates didn’t have government issued uniforms so they wore whatever they could manage. The Union camp was outfitted in full uniforms, but children roamed everywhere in 18th century dresses and period pants.

The scene was interesting too, with spectators climbing up onto the side of the mountain for better views and exclaiming or covering their ears with each canon shot. Even in the nearly 90 degree weather people gathered to watch the action, I didn’t really include many of the battle, you’re set back out of the way and the most interesting part where those who came to perform and those who came to watch.

Photo by Deanna Dent

Holi Celebration in Phoenix!

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When I was a student at Arizona State University I attended my first Holi celebration but it is nothing compared to what I experience at South Mountain Park at an event hosted by the Indian Association of Phoenix. It was madness, but a slow madness and I’m lucky I only got caught by two people. If you want to know more about the festival I would recommend clicking the link above as wikipedia will do a better job than I will.

What I loved about the celebration was the pure joy of it, when I teach my photojournalism students about capturing moments we talk about how difficult that can be. People are so aware in everyday life it’s hard to capture honest moments of emotion. A festival like this is beautiful because it reminds people how much fun can be had in just a few hours of their Sunday afternoon. I saw grown men chasing each other with water guns and dousing each other with buckets of colored water. It is rare to see adults, myself included, reduced to the pure joy of childhood and it makes those ‘moments’ so much easier to capture. My only lament was that I couldn’t properly participate (I had a formal event I was shooting later in the day and the dyes do stick to your skin . . . ).

pARTying Backstage

pARTy at the Phoenix Art MuseumI know I say this all the time, but I adore Darrylee Cohen at Haute Photography and she gave me the opportunity to shoot backstage as models prepared for the Neiman Marcus fashion show before the start of the pARTy at the Phoenix Art Museum. These are just a few of the images I really loved.

Love in the Hills

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An excerpt below from an Atlantic article by Emily Esfahani Smith covering the new book by Barbara Fredrickson and the changing idea of love.

“Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.'”

I read this article and found that it resonated with me, I mean what is photography but trying to create those micro-moments with the people you are covering? When I chose to visit the Love in the Hills put on by Sami’s Fine Jewelers I didn’t know what to expect aside from a marketing event for the company but I was hoping to see something of love on Valentines Day and hopefully see so many “micro-moments.”

It surprised me to find something that resembled a pilgrimage for married couples who wanted to share their love with strangers, which after reading this article, made so much more sense. They struck me as apostles for love, sharing their stories and personal secrets of maintaining love to those who might listen and were receptive to their sermon. Toni Minndeci dressed in red with a cream colored veil, going 63 years strong with her husband, told me “Honey, I pinch his ass every night before bed,” and her husband Sam just smiled while her family exclaimed. They are pictured below.

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I met another couple, Sarah and Shawn Eversole (picture center above), who had been together just a few years but watched them stare into each others eyes the entire time the officiator spoke during the ceremony and connect on a deep level that even now I’m not sure I have ever experienced. Others brought their wedding veils, wedding day photographs and shared it with those who asked. I met the Erdos, together for 46 years, and they said it was the adversity of immigrating to the states and raising their children, that helped them move through life together.

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It was at a basic level a confirmation of love, along with an opportunity win a free round of golf, but it also struck me as people who wanted to make positive connections with strangers, who in turn were attracted to the event because of the possible connection they could make others. It was probably one of the most surprisingly positive events I’ve had to shoot in the past few weeks and reminded me of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez quote, “There is always something left to love.”

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Humphrey Scholars visit the U.S.-Mexico border

We started our trip at 6am with a visit to Chairman Austin G. Nunez of the Tohono O’Odham nation in the San Xavier district. The beautiful San Xavier mission is a favorite for scholars, even though we literally had 15 minutes to visit the historical Southern Ariz. church.

Our second stop was visiting Pierson High School in Nogales, Ariz. where we first heard from principal Joel Kramer and then from Sheriff Tony Estrada who interestingly enough has won as many elections as Sheriff Arpaio though running on a completely different platform on immigration and enforcement which would be expected with his position on the border.

Photo by Deanna Dent

After hearing from the Sheriff we were spoken to by DHS officers Jesus Lozania and Brian McNulty before being given a tour of the Nogales port of entry by officer Badillo. We returned to the high school for a final visit with US consul general of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico Christopher Teal. At the end of the day we had dinner at Wisdom’s cafe in Tubac, Ariz. and bought some girl scout cookies.

Photo by Deanna Dent

Photo by Deanna Dent