Rehearsal with choral conductor Maria Guinand

According to most marketing pundits, the very best choice an independent photojournalist [i.e. self-employed/full-time freelancer/small business owner and often former newspaper staffer] can make is to specialize. And, they say, the more specialized the better.

In this market, there isn’t supposed to be room for the well-rounded, experienced photojournalist. More than four years into my journey of self-employment/full-time freelancing/business ownership I continue to struggle with industry definitions, implementing standard marketing practices [like regular blogging!] and crafting a concise two-minute elevator speech. Yet, I’m fortunate to work with a growing number of organizations that place value on documentary photographs that capture real people in real time.

Here are a few more items of news to share.

> In early May, I spent three days photographing the Choral Music of the Americas, an international symposium, for North Dakota State University’s Division of Fine Arts at the main campus in Fargo, N.D. The photograph above was made during a Sunday morning rehearsal and features the delightful and expressive choral conductor Maria Guinand. It was a treat to soak in the music as well as the presentations of choral professionals who are clearly passionate about their work.

> A few weeks later, Fargo Public Schools invited me to photograph at one of its elementary schools and also during a city-wide middle school track meet. I worked with FPS’ communications team several years ago to create an updated image archive and enjoyed continuing the project. Several of my photographs are featured in the district’s strategic plan, which was recently published, and one of my images will appear in an upcoming advertisement.

> The most recent issue of “Concordia Magazine,” a semi-annual publication produced by Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., features 10 of my photographs taken at the newly renovated Grant Center. The center is home to the Offutt School of Business, which opened in early 2013. My assignment was to document daily life inside the building and the sense of community that exists there.

As an aside, it wasn’t until I was pulling this entry together that I realized all three of these assignments were for educational organizations. Maybe I should specialize in educational photography?!

Anyway, if you didn’t get a chance to read Part A of the ongoing update efforts, feel free to check it out here. Thanks for looking. – Ann

Former Classroom, Sandstone School

Hello friends. It’s a fine summer day here in the Red River Valley.

Posts and updates have been absent for far too long. I’m going to largely skip over the many reasons why my online journaling efforts have dwindled. That said, I don’t think I’m built for blogging. All too often it just feels like one more thing to do. Truth be told, I’d rather be making new images, playing with Young M., reading a book [as in a traditional/physical book], drinking press pot coffee, thrift store shopping or working on our 90-year-old house. You get the picture [pun intended, sort of].

Here are a few items of news to mention.

> Inside three weeks last month, I visited 11 Minnesota communities on assignment for Ground Level, a Minnesota Public Radio News project that produces in-depth, issue-based reporting on various topics. The series “Reviving Minnesota Relics” is now online. It’s a comprehensive collection of stories [written and audio], information and photographs. The image above was created in a third-floor classroom of the vacant Sandstone School in Sandstone, Minn.

> A color photograph I made in 2011 in Fargo, N.D., titled “Eleven Past Thirteen” appears in the most recent issue of the Whitefish Review, a twice yearly journal published and produced in Montana. I’m on Page 68. Many moons ago I worked as a photographer/reporter for the Whitefish Pilot, a weekly community newspaper. It’s pretty cool to have a small connection to Whitefish again after all these years.

> Last, I joined the world of Twitter a month or so ago. You can find me at @annarbormiller. This happened for two reasons: A dear friend who is super social media savvy has been insisting on it for longer than I care to admit AND an editor whom I admire and wanted to connect with is active on Twitter. If tweeting is something you enjoy, feel free to connect.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Look for another installment of updates in a few days. – Ann

Accident on Fargo's Main Avenue

Life on both the home and work fronts has been generally super busy. Entries here have been far and few between for many months. I’ve lost count. Sometimes I get in the habit of just going. You know the kind of going that takes a person from one task to the next without pause.

Well, this afternoon a big old pause popped up right in front of my new office and studio space in Fargo’s SoMA District [South of Main Avenue]. A silver SUV flipped over in the east bound lane of Main Avenue not far from my door. The driver’s vehicle went up on the curb, hit a tree and flipped, according to bystanders. He was conscious at the scene and taken to a local hospital. After hearing a bit of a commotion, I’d grabbed both my cell phone and 5D classic on my way to find out what was going on. Photographing as firefighters freed the man seemed like the natural thing to do – although I’m not sure what purpose the resulting pictures serve. The experience reminded me how quickly life can change and how everything can come to an abrupt stop. I’m off to collect my son from school, planning to drive carefully and intent on taking pause.

Thanks for looking and I’ll be back soon. – Ann

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

During the past 13 months I’ve accepted a number of assignments with Minnesota Public Radio News to photograph what’s become an ongoing labor dispute between American Crystal Sugar and 1,300 union workers. The company has five processing plants in the Red River Valley. The one-year anniversary of the lockout is today and my guess is no one is celebrating. Photographs from past demonstrations and the morning of the lockout were shared previously on my journal. More recently I photographed the exterior of the processing plant in Moorhead, Minn., and also briefly passed through Hillsboro, N.D., which is home to another plant. Some of those photographs are featured here, while others were created several months ago. A story by MPR reporter Dan Gunderson aired a few days ago and is available online here.

Thanks for looking, Ann

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Hillsboro North Dakota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Hillsboro North Dakota

American Crystal Sugar Labor Dispute Moorhead Minnesota

 

Scene along the Red River in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Posts have been few and far between over the past few months. Let’s chalk it up to an ongoing flurry of editorial and commercial assignments as well as the general busyness of wedding season. Yesterday, I found myself in East Grand Forks, Minn., on assignment for Minnesota Public Radio News. I made some pictures to illustrate an upcoming story as well as the photograph above. I like it and am sharing it before I forget. Thanks for looking. – Ann