Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

The flooding situation in and around Minot, N.D., made national headlines a couple weeks ago. Dramatic aerial photographs showed homes surrounded by and then inundated with flood water. The Souris River [known locally as the Mouse] reached levels never witnessed in the area. Mandatory evacuations forced roughly a quarter of Minot’s 40,000-some residents to leave their homes.

The river’s crest came and went in late June. However, the flood’s impact continues. Areas of the community and hundreds of basements are still covered with water. People remain displaced. Minot officials recently announced the cancellation of this year’s North Dakota State Fair. [Minot has hosted the fair annually since 1965.]

Late last week I accepted an assignment with The Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] to document life at an emergency pet shelter on the south side of Minot. The shelter is currently home to 450 or so dogs, cats and birds as well as one rabbit and one iguana. A group of HSUS volunteers – and many others – are caring for the animals.

For reference, Minot sits 300-some miles northwest of Fargo. I spent the better part of Thursday as well as a portion of Friday morning at the pet shelter. Nearly all of the animals there have owners who brought them to the shelter.

Before returning home [I would have stayed longer if family and other assignments weren’t in the mix], I spent one hour photographing in just a few accessible areas in Minot. Travel in town remains a bit difficult due to road closures. I’m sharing a few photographs here.

The citizens of Minot – especially those directly impacted by the flood – have a long road ahead of them. They need a lot of resources, a lot of support and a lot of money. That much was obvious from my brief time in Magic City.

Here’s to picking up the pieces. – Ann

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

Flood 2011 Minot, North Dakota

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

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