Posted on February 17, 2015
Superbowl Central was a madhouse, organized to give those who didn’t want to head all the way out to Glendale an opportunity to participate in the Superbowl madness. I can still recall the first time the Super Bowl came to Arizona in 1996, I was 12 at the time, and I remember how calm it seemed now. Phoenix was such a smaller, calmer place then and puts into perspective how much Arizona has come to embrace the Super Bowl insanity 18 years later. Human chaos driven by beer and a single game, and thankfully for me I got to photograph the humanity downtown, which if you’ve worked in Arizona the humanity is always better downtown.
I got an assignment from Haute Photography to cover the Verizon Super Bowl central event for the San Francisco Hosting Committee. They wanted to ‘experience’ the Superbowl central event through photographs so I was given some basic times to cover and some general instructions of covering families, anything showing what people were enjoying. I forgot while serving in the Peace Corps in Africa the pure pandemonium that a single game of football can create. I’m glad I wasn’t trying to cover this freshly back, it would have been overwhelming to think of the millions of dollars, thousands of hours and volunteers working to put on this massive event. The photos are random, and specifically my favorite images from the week.
Posted on April 14, 2014
Realize this post is a bit overdue, but on Wednesday April 2rd I had my students meet at the Puente organized protest in front of ICE so they could have a chance to shoot the marchers as they started their 70 plus mile journey to Eloy, Ariz. The photo above is of three of my students photographing from a light post and palo verde to get a slightly higher vantage point of the press conference that preceded the march. You can see their photographs at the class flicker page here.
Randomly after a protest against deportation I met a group of refugees undergoing a training on how to use the valley metro system. So at one point all the Puente protesters were occupying the street corner, some who aren’t legal residents in the U.S. while at the same corner the newest immigrants, legally and through much hardship explored downtown Phoenix.
Posted on March 31, 2014
Saturday night I had a great chance to see some local music live at the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix. Usually when someone brings up Arizona and senators I brace myself for the worst intentions or just odd uses of time, so imagine what a truly wonderful surprise it was to hear the Senators play. They are an amazing local group and they played along with the American Longspurs whose photographs are featured first. Being home I constantly miss the music I listened to in Zambia. It was a completely different type of music, rooted with strong beats or religious sense and playing from early morning to late evenings with artists like Mampi or the religious Zambian gospel music. For good measure I lived in Lunda land and you could hear this music playing from the first Bamayo rising to the last person tumbling into bed.
The photographs below are of the Senators and you can see some of their music here. The Crescent Ballroom venue has beautiful lighting and it really showed how great the 5D MarkIII handles low lighting situations.
Fans listen to music below:
Posted on March 27, 2014
Today several organizers that worked with Cesar Chavez at the Santa Rita Center in downtown Phoenix spoke to children from Herrera Elementary School. They touched upon their memories with Chavez and the origin of the phrase “Si Se Puede” which has become a focal point of modern day Latino organizing. Chavez always supported Aztec dancers and the day began with two young women going by the names Tonatzin dancing. Later Jose Cortez and other organizers took the front to speak to sixth grade students about their history with Chavez. What struck me was by the emotion that still hung in their voices 42 years after Chavez’s 24-day fast and their urging for children to look up to this figure who in many non-Latino communities is not well known. Organizers spoke about their experience working in the fields, organizing communities to strike and demonstrate together. At one point organizers spoke of the terrible conditions farm workers faced and described weeding on their knees for hours on end. They asked the children to get down and attempt to pick up stones from the ground on their knees and of course the children laughed at the novelty of the experience, it was so outside the realm of their own experience. Some children later said they wanted to be like Cesar Chavez and when asked, responded that they were good leaders. There was such true happiness exuding from the organizers at hearing these words, they stressed that we can be good followers but leaders, strong leaders like Chavez, were hard to find. One speaker provided quotes from Chavez, prompting me to search his other quotes. This one stuck in my mind:
The Santa Rita Center is being considered in a federal proposal as a site to honor Cesar Chavez Phoenix Historical Property Register. Currently it holds a variety of murals, but there is no running water and electricity as shown in the silhouette photograph. It was a site of such importance for a generation, it will be interesting to see what it becomes for future generations.