Monday, January 8, 2018

Best of 2017

The New Year is always a time of reflection for me.  Things are typically pretty quiet in January, so I take some time to take stock of the previous year, recall the year’s experiences and stories, and pick out my 100 favorite images of the year.

For some reason, I ended 2017 not really feeling like I had taken as many photos that I thought were memorable as I found that I had in the end.  I actually put together a set rather easily, and then remembered that there were a whole bunch of jobs that I had entirely forgot to consider - it turns out that it wasn’t so much that I hadn’t taken  many decent photos, but that so much seemed to happen in 2017, that I thought that some of it happened in 2016!

2017 was full of some really interesting adventures, but here are some highlights:

* Getting to see the real impact of some of the CDFIs that I work with in the field at their clients throughout West Virginia and Washington, DC.  I got to literally follow some kale grown in a high tunnel in January from farm to market, meet a guy who has built up a beard oil company, see some really novel approaches to educating English Language Learners and their families, watch healthy food being prepared and distributed to those in need and who otherwise don’t have access to it, experience the beginnings of revitalizing the downtown of Fairmont, WV, and that’s just to name a few!

* Making a cover portrait of Dr. Bahija Jallal of Medimmune for Pharmaceutical Executive magazine to commemorate her being voted Healthcare Women of the Year.  She’s a remarkable women who really has one of those inspirational “pull yourself up from your bootstraps” kind of stories.

* Watching Thomas Dolby not getting blinded by science, but learning how to defy gravity on a giant wheel.

* Listening to Hasan Minhaj perform a hilarious comedy set, complete with statistics and graphs.

* Visiting Capitol Hill with various clients, which has certainly been an experience this year, and strangely comforting to learn that there are still some folks who want to do good work there.

• Listening to former Vice President Joe Biden speak for about half an hour over his allotted time.

* Spending two full days in a hotel with five thousand psychotherapists.

* Covering the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Economic Summit.  It was strange to get a call to head to Rapid City, South Dakota on somewhat short notice, and while it was a modest event, it was really one of the most content rich and inspiring conferences that I’ve ever photographed.

* And relatedly, I was asked to photograph the Native CDFI Network’s first annual conference - a true honor for me, and it was so great to see a fantastic group of dedicated Native Americans advocate for their communities on the Hill!

* We went on our first “just us” family vacation to Shenandoah National Park - we highly recommend it!

* Celebrating my father’s 70th by going hiking with him and my siblings in Joshua Tree National Park and nearby Indian Canyons.  It was a blast!

* King Kong on top of a groom’s cake made of Rice Krispies.  Yup, you read that right.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed making them.  As usual, I am ever so grateful for the trust that my clients and subjects have instilled in me to help tell their stories.  These folks let me into their lives, and while I do my best to be discrete and speedy in my efforts, having a camera around changes things, and I do so very much appreciate being allowed into everyone's world for a bit.

I also would be remiss if I did not mention the efforts of my colleagues, friends, and family.  I do believe that photography is a team effort, and I get to work with some great second photographers, assistants, art directors, and communications teams.  My wife and son shoulder a huge burden putting up with my crazy schedule, and I am indebted to them and their tireless support.  I also can't thank my father-in-law enough for traveling thousands of miles to spend weeks with us at a time during the busy seasons to help my wife out around the house while I'm out of town on shoots and she's buried under dozens of final exams and papers to grade.  He makes our busy lives tolerable, and our son really loves spending the extra time with his Pa.

I'll shut up now, and on to the photos.  Thanks again, and I'm excited for many more adventures in 2018!


P.S.  One more thing!  As always, I'd love to hear from you all!  Please feel free to send me a message or ping me at and I invite you to check out more of my work at  I'm looking forward to creating more photographic adventures in 2018 with you!