Archive for the ‘On Assignment’ Category

Flooding Red River

It looks like we’re headed for another record-breaking flood here in the Red River Valley. Today’s announcement from the National Weather Service only confirmed what just about everybody in town already knew – we have a lot of snow [with more on the way since it is only January] and the ground is super saturated. I thought it would be appropriate to include a few photographs from the 2010 spring flood as part of My [Partial] Year in Pictures entry. As an aside, I will be buying a new pair of boots in preparation for photographing flood fighters.

Now, back to 2010.

Last year marked my first year as a full-time freelancer [i.e. self-employed]. I got an office, a logo, business cards, this online journal and website, a second camera body, lights and lots of other stuff. More importantly, I found a sense of purpose and commitment to my creative self. The photographs included here represent just a few of the people and places I had the pleasure of photographing in 2010.

I have a great feeling about the coming year and am looking forward to all that is to come [except maybe for the flood]. Best, Ann

Red River Flood Preparations

Flooding Red River

Flower Girl At The Salon

Hard Times

Gymnastics Dynasty

Gymnastics + Clay County Fair

In The Heart Of America's Duck Factory

Hope For The Holidays

It’s that time of year when photographers everywhere are culling together their top picks of the 2010. Personal assessment certainly has value as does making time for reflection.

However, I’ve been just too busy these past several weeks to evaluate the bigger picture. My focus [pun intended] has been on completing editorial assignments – which have been in abundance of late – and tending to several client projects. Perhaps, I’ll carve out time for a photographic retrospective before year’s end. [Probably not, but you never know!]

In the meantime, I’ll share a few images from a recent assignment with The Village Family Magazine. This story of hope, which appears in the magazine’s December/January 2011 issue, features a 9-year-old girl from Moorhead, Minn. It truly was a pleasure to meet and photograph Signe Harris, a leukemia survivor, and her family.

Enjoy! Ann

Hope For The Holidays

Hope For The Holidays

Hope For The Holidays

Hope For The Holidays

Hope For The Holidays

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Editorial assignments with Minnesota Public Radio [yes, public radio!] remain among my favorites in 2010. Yet, the assignments are also often uniquely challenging. Here’s why:

Sometimes I’m asked to accompany a reporter – so we literally go together on an assignment. Photographers and reporters working in tandem or collaboration is a good thing in my book.

However, the trick with radio reporters is they are always, always, always collecting sound. The only sounds they don’t want – as far as I know – are my camera shutter and me chattering away. So, when I work with a radio reporter I try to be thoughtful about when I’m photographing, how often I’m making pictures and what I’m doing with my body, voice and gear. I photograph less aggressively and if there is a situation I know I should photograph I let the reporter know that in advance, if possible. I feel it’s a matter of respect.

So, everything I just wrote wasn’t true for my most recent MPR assignment. It was more like a traditional news assignment. I was on my own with a limited amount of time in Rothsay, Minn., a town of 510 people located 40 miles southeast of Moorhead. The story was about how the town takes on an energy conservation challenge. The assignment seemed easy enough.

Turns out that many of the improvements, audits, inspections and so forth were already complete. No photos there. Local students had previously gone door-to-door to ask residents to sign a pledge to use less energy. No photos there. A Tuesday evening class aimed at teaching residents to better understand utility bills might generate a couple of photos. [People and computers don’t typically make great photos, but sometimes you’ve got to work with the less than ideal.] So, with that activity in place I found myself roaming Rothsay in the dark. [Not really, but it kind of felt that way. It’s really dark in Rothsay after the sun goes down.]

What I decided to do was to try to come up with a couple of photographs at the class as well as some from the gym or school – where many improvements have already been made. I also made arrangements to visit resident Jeanette Geer who won a home makeover as part of the energy challenge project. I knew her granddaughter would be home and that family had received some new appliances. Whenever I have an opportunity to photograph in someone’s home I know there are photographs to be made. When I said good-bye to Jeanette it was great to hear that I was easy to be around and the experience had been a good one.

To learn more about the project or to see how much energy the community saves check out: http://www.energychallengeison.com/rothsay/.

Best, Ann

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Community Energy Challenge in Rothsay, Minn.

Signs on 25th Street South

A recent editorial assignment for the Associated Press has lingered in my mind.

A little background. At the end of September AP reporter Patrick Condon and I headed to the farm of Walter and Donna Grotte. The couple lives a few miles outside of Hope, N.D, which is 70 or so miles northwest of Fargo. The purpose of our visit was two-fold: Mr. Condon intended to finish his interview with Mr. Grotte for an upcoming political story and I was to create images to accompany it.

The article’s premise was to examine why North Dakota’s lone congressman [Earl Pomeroy, a Democrat] and other incumbent politicians across the nation appear to be in such a tough reelection bids. The situation in North Dakota is of particular interest given the state’s booming oil boom, abundance of cash in state government coffers and the economic realities that have left residents here better off than many places. Mr. Grotte voted for Mr. Pomeroy in 2008 – and multiple elections before that – but says he’s angry with Mr. Pomeroy over the federal debt and will vote to support his challenger Rick Berg in November.

I photographed the Grottes at their farm. Mr. Grotte has a fabulous face for photographs and was naturally expressive. However, there was nothing visual that directly related to the political component of the story. I was secretly hoping to find an old Pomeroy sign on one of the outbuildings, but no such luck. Mr. Condon and I drove around Hope in hopes of locating political signs or other indicators that related to the story. The best I came up with there were American flags framing the town’s lone water tower [photograph included below].

When I returned to Fargo that afternoon I looked for political signs in residential areas. I was hoping to find a situation where one neighbor would have a Berg sign and the next house would have a Pomeroy sign. The best I came up with after an hour of driving around was Berg/Berg/Hoeven/Pomeroy [pictured below]. So, that’s the photograph I made. I sent that photograph and several others to the picture desk and called it a day.

Here’s the thing. I’m still keeping an eye out for a pairing of political signs that would do a better job for this story than my original effort. I know it’s too late. That’s the reality of the news business. It’s also the reality of being me. The best I’ve done – so far – is the photograph above. In all fairness to Mr. Pomeroy, it would be better if he had a bigger sign or if his supporters had posted multiples of the little sign. Ah well, maybe next time.

Best, Ann

P.S. The story was published earlier this month under headlines like “On America’s Plains, times are good – but voters are still angry and incumbents are in danger” and “Despite prosperous times, a discontented mood in the Dakotas“. It’s an interesting read. All of the photographs below are Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.

Yard signs in North Fargo

North Dakota farmer Walter Grott

Hope, N.D., and North Dakota farmer Walter Grott

North Dakota farmer Walter Grotte

North Dakota farmer Walter Grotte

North Dakota farmer Walter Grotte

North Dakota farmer Walter Grotte

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

The weather was hot and the sky clear. The crowd – estimated around 8,000 – was energetic and patient. The cameras – both still and video – were abundant.

Most importantly, the Grommesh family – Bill, Adair, Peighton and Garrett – came home Sunday afternoon to a beautiful home. Welcome home.

ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition surely has quite the show to put together. It is expected to air sometime between mid-November and mid-December. For more details about the big reveal visit writer Sarah McCurdy’s blog or the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition [Fargo-Moorhead] facebook page.

Enjoy! Ann

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition