Walmart Black Friday Protest in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Photographed a protest on Black Friday against Walmart by striking employees and different valley groups. Here are a few of the photographs of different protestors that demonstrated outside the Walmart on Thomas and 32nd Street in Phoenix, Arizona.

Protests against the failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Protesters gathered outside the Sandra Day Oconnor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix to voice their opposition to the grand jury’s decision to ‘not indict’ in Ferguson Monday evening. Protestors spoke about their experiences with racial profiling by police, their hopes for change in the future and the need to create dialogue about the realities of race.

Chris Rainier lectures at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

We had the privilege of having National Geographic Chris Rainier speak at the Cronkite School. He spoke about the democratization of story telling, of which he is an active teacher and participant. Rainier travels to far parts of the world and to remote cultures teaching them how to document their own stories, language and songs.

I think he spoke about very real trends in journalism. As different parts of the world become more connected they also begin to control the stories and narratives about their own cultures. In my two year Peace Corps service from 2011-2013 I saw my village go from zero connectivity to smart phones. I saw people in my village start to photograph and document videos of daily life and share them online. It was wonderful to see what they felt deserved documentation versus what I felt deserved documentation. I cannot wait to see Mwinilunga, one of the most remote and underfunded (by the government) districts develop their own narratives online and begin to share experiences through their own eyes.

Veterans Day Parade

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Sometimes it’s nice to head out and just shoot for myself and I remember shooting this parade seven years ago for the East Valley Tribune. Full of stress of getting names, taking newspaper appropriate photographs so it was enjoyable to just go out and shoot for myself. The image above was on my way out, a little girl scout was holding a flower she just picked with her friends. There was something so nice about the children, who don’t care about staying on the sidewalk or screaming and jumping while holding little flags. There isn’t as much reason in their actions as just enjoyment of a moment and it makes them wonderful to photograph.


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Maryvale YMCA Carshow

A friend of mine, Jose Cortez, invited me to come visit the Maryvale YMCA car show. The idea being to raise money to help at risk youth, a place for artists to exhibit work, danza Azteca and local rapper RDL. It was an impressive set up and I was glad Jose invited me to come see it, I’ve uploaded some of the photos here to share with those who were there.
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Our Walmart Protest

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I spent the afternoon covering the Our Walmart protest today organized into two parts. The first found the protesters and Walmart employees, from different states, organizing a protest for a higher living wage and consistent hours at the Walmart at 3712 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix, Ariz.

Some went inside to give “thank you” notes and tell Walmart employees that the were appreciated. I was surprised by how friendly employees were, even in the midst of their work. Two women were surrounded by three carts full of bras but took time to speak to a protestor. At the same time others stood outside gathering petition signatures that would eventually be delivered to the home of Walmart’s chairman of the board of directors: Robert Walton. It included a parade and demonstration outside Walton’s Paradise Valley home. A variety of faith based leaders, politicians and organizers spoke before protestors eventually delivered their signatures to the front gate.

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What did surprise me was the image I made of one former Walmart employee and veteran peeking into the gate and underneath it to “see” Walton’s home. The desire to “see” Walton’s home isn’t surprising but it says something to the fact of the difference between company owner and employees.

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Mementos Left Behind

On 9/11 I visited Tempe Town lake to see the flag memorial, one of the largest in the country, and I was struck by how many items were left behind at the base of many of the flags. According to one worker, only one flag belongs to a native Arizonan, but clearly there are many connections that I don’t understand. This morning at 6 a.m. the tear down of the memorial began and I decided to photograph the items that were left at the bases of the flags, or tied to them. These ranged from flowers, to photographs and in some cases ribbons showing who were first responders. One flag had a photograph and small stuffed tiger and it makes me wonder about these mementos and those who came and left them behind.

I also photographed the tear down of nearly three thousand flags, which couldn’t have been possible without the hundred plus volunteers that materialized seemingly out of nowhere before 6 a.m. and had every flag down and packed before 8 a.m.

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9/11 Memorial at Tempe Town Lake

I am trying to shoot a photograph every day and post them online so today I decided to visit the 9/11 memorial at Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Ariz. I shot using only available light, which meant a high ISO and slow shutter speeds. I think I’ll likely attend the takedown ceremony on Sunday at 6 a.m. as well.
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Playing in the Rain

Yesterday all of Phoenix, Ariz. was hit by record rain, more than the previous 1933 record. The state needs all the rain it can get, and it’s refreshing to see the valley come to life following the massive water deluge. The city received more than 3 inches of rain, which is more characteristic of the total rainfall for July, August and September. I found a variety of people trying to make their way out of Vista del Cerro Drive in Tempe, Ariz. where a car stalled and students played in the rain after their school was cancelled.

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Fight for $15 Protest

I shot some images of the Fight for $15 protest in Phoenix, Ariz. earlier this week. the movement focuses on securing $15 per hour for fast food employees across the nation, making it a living wage for employees. Four members of the group were arrested for protesting on 24th Street and as you can see in some photos, there were nearly equal numbers of officers to protesters which did create a feeling of over enforcement in what was a largely peaceful protest. It’s interesting to hear all the differing views as people in the neighborhood walked up to order their lunch from the McDonalds restaurant. Most everyone agreed $15 was a good living wage, though many were doubtful that the movement could achieve their goal.