View of Newman Outdoor Field

On a warm summer night in late August, writer Sarah McCurdy and I spent an evening at Newman Outdoor Field in north Fargo. Our assignment was to create a human interest feature for the “On the Town” section of Fine Living Review, a magazine published six times a year by the Bismarck Tribune. We’d pitched the idea of a photo essay and story from the perspective of the second floor, which is home to 12 suites – each named after a major league stadium.

Sarah and I spent the bulk of the game in “Wrigley Field” with Gail McMartin, her family and various guests. It really was a glorious night for a ballgame. It didn’t hurt that the RedHawks shutout the visiting Lake County Fielders of Illinois 6-0.

Anyway, I submitted 17 images to the magazine for consideration. Obviously, the editor wouldn’t have space for that many images. However, I have a hard time editing my work. Give me another photographer’s images and I can whittle them down pretty quick. My own work is a different story.

The current issue of Fine Living Review was published earlier this month. My copy just arrived in the mail a few days ago. I thought it would be fun to share some of the unpublished images here.

Enjoy! Ann

View of Newman Outdoor Field

Inside a suite at Newman Outdoor Field

In the stands at Newman Outdoor Field

Catching up at Newman Outdoor Field

Take Me Out To The Ballgame at Newman Outdoor Field

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

'You Make My Heart Sink'

Good causes appear to be in abundance around Fargo-Moorhead lately.

Count me among the 80 or so creative types who have contributed work to the fifth annual Bras on Broadway, which raises money to support those fighting breast cancer. This year’s event is set for Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the fabulous Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo. Tickets are $65 per person and last I checked there were just 40 spots left [here’s where you go online to get a ticket].

My contribution is a black and white photographed titled “You Make My Heart Sink” [pictured above]. I’ve been intending to contribute to Bras on Broadway in the past, but never seemed to get around to it. You see artists can’t just donate any piece of art. What makes this event special is that everything [and I mean EVERYTHING] has a bra or breast theme.

I had a concept for a photograph that I wanted to create. Kind of an illustration that used old thermostat dial plates. The problem was I couldn’t find the parts I needed. It didn’t help that I put off working on the project until just a few days before it was due. Anyway, I had a plan B, but that photograph – which involved a uniquely-shaped carrot and a pink breast cancer awareness pin – didn’t really work out either.

When I was running around town looking for old, used and/or cheap thermostat dials I stopped by the Habitat ReStore store in Moorhead. They often have fabulous finds and I was hoping to locate what I needed. Anyway, I noticed the old double sink in the parking lot at ReStore. Someone had probably dropped it off as a donation. I looked at it on my way in and then again on my way out. I kept staring at the sinks and wondered if they might do the trick. Figuring it couldn’t hurt I photographed the sink and moved on with my errands.

I’m reasonably happy with the photograph and am grateful to a friend for coming up with an appropriate title. But, if anyone has a couple of old thermostat dials sitting around I’d be happy to take them off your hands. I have a feeling that next year’s Bras on Broadway event will be here before we know it.

Happy Friday. Ann

P.S. Bras on Broadway raised more than $40,000 last year. Here’s hoping people are feeling even more generous this year.

Fargo portrait photographer

In honor of Labor Day, I thought it would be fun to share a few photographs of future American workers. These images and others like them were shot earlier this summer for The Village Family Magazine‘s August/September 2010 issue. The magazine’s cover story – “Hot Jobs” written by Meredith S. Holt – offered a look at the top 10 fasted-growing careers through the next decade based on reports by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, U.S. News & World Report and other sources.

My job was to create a series of photographs that featured local children dressed up in attire appropriate for a variety of occupations. A Fargo, N.D., daycare owner agreed to let me use her garage as a temporary studio. A number of folks were involved in sharing props and attire for the shoot. And, the kids did a fabulous job. Several of them just may have a future in theater!

Happy Labor Day!

Fargo Portrait Photographer

Fargo Portrait Photographer


Airstream trailers are beautiful creations. The exterior shell appears to be a union of graceful line and simple form.

My admiration of the mighty Airstream was realized 15 or so years ago in Whitefish, Mont. A dear friend had the privilege of calling an Airstream home for a summer on Whitefish Lake. The location was lovely. The accommodations were free and part of her compensation package for serving as the campground host. I remember feeling a little envious of the temporary abode – at least until the propane line began to leak and daytime temperatures climbed into the 80s in August.

On a recent photo walk around downtown Fargo, N.D., a colleague and I happened upon the Airstream of all Airstreams. The trailer looks like a regular Airstream on the outside, but the inside is outfitted with a recording studio. This Airstream is the StoryCorps MobileBooth and it is parked outside the Fargo Public Library.

StoryCorps – if you didn’t already know – seeks to provide Americans with an opportunity to record, share and preserve stories. It’s a fabulous oral history project. Participants interview a family member, friend, mentor or other individual and receive a CD of the recording. Participation is free and conversations are also preserved at the Library of Congress. Select conversations are also broadcast on National Public Radio each week.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization and since 2003 has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants, according to the group’s website. I appreciate the following comment from StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, “By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.”

The StoryCorps’ MobileBooth is scheduled to remain in Fargo until Sept. 4. To make a reservation, call [800] 850-4406.

P.S. My friend Mo says it makes a delightful date night event.