Fargo Children's Photographer

It’s been a super busy couple of months. Who am I kidding? The past year has been wonderfully full, challenging and rewarding.

Whose ready for a much needed vacation? Me!

Have a great week. – Ann


The Flood Boots

I’ve spent much of the past 10 days photographing flooding and flood-related activities in and around the Red River Valley. It’s been a busy, busy time. My new yellow wellies [pictured above] were an important addition to my flood kit.

River levels in Fargo-Moorhead are steadily dropping now and life is returning to normal around the river. Many of my photographs have been – and are still being – published online with Minnesota Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio News. When life permits, I’ll share a sample of flood-related photographs and some of the stories behind them.

In the meantime, feel free to check out this selection of aerials, which were photographed a couple of days ago.

Best, Ann

The Bottom Line

Today marks two years since the big L. That’s “L” as in layoff.

That’s right. Here’s some paperwork and the door. You are done. Effective immediately.

Never mind the wedding at the courthouse in 30 minutes. It’s the one I’d waited more than a year to photograph for my weekly photo column in the paper.

Never mind the awards and accolades I won for the company over the past five plus years.

Never mind how hard I worked. I still remember the night I finished an eight-hour plus shift only to come home and receive a call from an editor about a possible train-pedestrian fatality. I was back on the street within minutes and filed photographs on deadline for the next day’s front page.

None of it matters. In fact, nothing matters except the bottom line – as in the company’s bottom line.

For the past few years we’ve all heard about this glorious place called Fargo, North Dakota. It’s a city where a couple of special bubbles exist. First, we heard about the housing bubble. More recently, talk and media reports have focused on the unemployment bubble. Boy, you sure are lucky to live and work in Fargo. I’ve heard that comment – or something like it – from a lot of folks who don’t reside in the upper Midwest.

You betcha I’m lucky to live here, but I’m not immune from unemployment. I’m not exempt from layoffs just because I live in a place where the economy isn’t as bad as another place. I too collected unemployment, filed weekly eligibility reviews and navigated a bureaucratic process that is both humiliating and humbling.

I am not alone. The numbers assure me there are lots of folks dealing with layoffs, cuts, reduced hours, reduced wages, furloughs and other economic-based unpleasantness. Yes, even in this ice box of an on-the-verge-of-another-record-breaking-flood place unemployment and underemployment exist.

That’s what this – not just my this – but lots of folks’ this is all about. Someone else’s bottom line.

How many people in our community received The Letter and The Talk. Perhaps, your letter said as mine did, “Due to economic reasons, we are doing a reduction in workforce. Effective today, you are being laid off from … .” Perhaps, not.

I know it isn’t personal or about my performance as a worker. It’s about money. It’s about being profitable. However, it is also about my life, my livelihood and – as I’ve come to learn during the past 24 months – my identity.

Effective today, my colleague Sarah McCurdy, who also experienced the reality of her employer’s bottom line in 2009, and I announce The Bottom Line.

This bottom line is a documentary project. It seeks to tell the stories of 29 individuals whose employment in Fargo has been or is being impacted, reduced or eliminated due to economic reasons. Our intent is to give a face and voice to people in our community who know all too well about the bottom line. We believe a community conversation about the recession, recovery and economic realities is valuable and worthwhile. We believe stories about real people are important.

We invite anyone interested in submitting their story for consideration to complete an informational questionnaire and submit it by May 10. Copies of the questionnaire are also available in the lobby of 417 Main Ave. in downtown Fargo.

We encourage everyone to join us on facebook and spread the word about The Bottom Line.

If you have questions or comments, post them on The Bottom Line facebook page or email us at thebottomlinefargo [at] gmail [dot] com.

We believe these stories matter and deserve sharing.

Thanks for reading. – Ann

I’m very excited to announce my first annual holiday print sale. Four photographs – each created in 2010 – are available for purchase.

Uneditioned 8×12 prints are $34 each. Add $6 for shipping. Pick up is available in downtown Fargo.

Interested?! I sure hope so. To purchase your selected photographs, send an email to annarbormiller [at] gmail [dot] com with “holiday print order” in the subject line. Buy one for yourself and three for your best friends.

I am a fan of giving art – specifically photographs – for gifts. Two other great sources for original creations are Fargo photographer Robb Siverson‘s Holiday Bargain Bin and the 50-some fine photographers included in the Third Annual Fraction Magazine Holiday Print Sale. Wow.

Happy Shopping! Ann

P.S. North Dakota sales tax is included in print prices.

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sk

A blanket of snow descended on the Red River Valley yesterday. Fargo-Moorhead was smack in the middle of the storm, which produced 12 inches of white fluffy stuff. The flakes were large and plentiful, but the skies dull and flat.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that the morning after a good snowfall is usually delightful for photographs. This is particularly true if the skies are clear.

In an ideal world, I would head out early – before the sun has risen – and walk the streets of my neighborhood. I would be properly bundled to keep the chill at bay. I would have an open schedule with no place to be at any particular time. This morning served as yet another reminder that the ideal – while nice in theory – is not real.

From my kitchen window, I caught a glimpse of a brilliant orange sky in the distance. A fabulous sunrise over fresh snow was in the makings. A quick facebook check revealed not only an amazing sunrise, but reports of sundogs – which are caused by sunlight refracting through airborne ice crystals when it is really, really cold.

I wanted to be outside making pictures, but that wasn’t possible at the moment. Our 5-year-old son needed another round of breakfast and we were nowhere near ready to leave the house for the day.

So, I kept an eye on the sky and decided we would take the long way to preschool today. It wasn’t ideal by any means, but I did figure out a way to make a few pictures and be a mom at the same time. Little M. was late for school, but I figured his teachers wouldn’t mind. It’s not everyday you get to chase sundogs.

Enjoy! Ann

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sky

Sundog in the Fargo-Moorhead sky