Baraboo for BuzzFeed News

Last Monday, March 25th, I drove from my home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Baraboo, a town of just over 12,000 in Eastern Wisconsin. I spent two days there on assignment for BuzzFeed News, capturing images for an article on the aftermath of the viral Seig Heil prom photo (above) that shook the town and made waves nationally last November.

The piece is a thoughtful reflection on the insidious ways racism and antisemitism manifest in the rural Midwest, and what can be learned when those undercurrents collide with overt bigotry rampant on the national stage.


In major cities throughout France, over 50,000 people came together on Saturday for L’Acte 8 (act 8), the eighth week of protests against Emmanuel Macron’s government and the country’s rising wealth gap. About 3,500 mobilized in Paris near the Champs-Elysées.

Protesters face off against riot police.

Yellow vest protesters treat a woman suffering from tear gas exposure near Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

Yellow vest protesters gather outside Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

A Parisian riot cop walks past graffiti on his way to confront protesters.

I joined the protests around 2pm outside Musee D’Orsay, where riot police were already clashing with demonstrators. I read that much of the morning had been relatively calm, but it certainly wasn’t when I arrived.

I’d never run so hard at a protest before this one. At times the riot police chased us on foot for blocks, sometimes through streets too narrow and crowded to escape. Between my heavy camera backpack and weak knees, I ran past my limit, trying not to breathe in tear gas, praying I wouldn’t trip.

A protesters navigate their way through a barrage of tear gas outside Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

Street medics administer eye drops  to help alleviate burning from the tear gas.

Demonstrators march from Musee d’Orsay through Rue du Bac in Paris, carrying flares.

Demonstrators march from Musee d’Orsay through Rue du Bac in Paris, carrying flares.

Demonstrators march from Musee d’Orsay through Rue du Bac in Paris, carrying flares.

A demonstrator carries a French flag through the streets of Paris.

Parisian firefighters put out a street fire set by protesters near Sainte-Clotilde Catholic Church.

What remains of a municipal waste bin and electric scooter lie along Quai d’Orsay during demonstrations in Paris.

Demonstrators wave to a tour bus while marching towards l’Arc de triomphe

A demonstrator pushes a shopping cart full of rocks through Jardin des Tuileries.

Demonstrators and passers-by dodge tear gas in Paris’s 7th arrondissement.

Gilets Jaunes, December 8

I spent most of Saturday afternoon running back and forth along Avenue Marceau near the Arc de Triomphe, dodging tear gas canisters and catching photos of the highlighter yellow-clad protesters demonstrating there.

This weekend marked the fourth in a series of “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vest” demonstrations, which sparked in opposition to a proposed fuel tax increase and have grown to encompass a wide-ranging list of demands including tax reductions, institutional reforms, and the creation of a citizens’ assembly.

One comment on Reddit provides a good summary of why the protests are ongoing despite the government canning the proposed tax. The comment reads:

Congratulations Ilhan!

Enjoy some shots from Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s victory party on election night! She just became the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, where she will be representing Minnesota’s 5th District.

Why Pinterest is a hidden gem for portrait photographers

My friend Willow is an intensely talented musician and a gem of a human, so I was excited when she asked me to take portraits for her new website and upcoming album release. We went to my favorite place to swim in the Twin Cities, Hidden Falls in St. Paul, to catch the evening light.

This shoot is a good example of why I love using Pinterest as a collaborative vision board. After talking through some ideas, Willow and I both added pictures to this Pinterest board in the weeks leading up to the shoot. Scrolling down takes you backwards chronologically to where we started: vibrant, textural nature imagery, then building from there.

Looking at the finished portraits of Willow alongside our vision board helps me see how much that process influenced the final result. I had all these intangibles swirling around in my head: the mood and lyrics of her music, feelings we wanted to convey, who Willow is as a person and an artist. Piece by piece we found imagery that resonated with flavors in that idea soup until it cohered into an aesthetic roadmap. 

SO THERE, people who make fun of Pinterest for being frivolous! Visual bookmarking is actually so handy! 

On that note, does anyone else feel like Pinterest’s feminine vibe is a big part of why people are so quick to make fun of it?  It’s a solid tool for creative professionals, especially because of the browser button that lets you quickly pin images from any website. I’m curious how much Pinterest intentionally maintains a feminine brand image and to the extent that it does, whether a more neutral visual bookmarking platform would be used differently. 

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