Taking the Plunge into Off-Camera Light

I used to be one of those photographers who prides herself on only shooting in natural light. Why is this a point of pride? you might ask. I have no idea. But I’ve met plenty of photographers who talk like it is.

I realized after some soul-searching that my insistence on natural light was mostly a crutch to avoid learning off-camera lighting. I figured I should make a serious attempt at building my artificial lighting skills before deciding it’s “not my style.”

That’s why I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and bought a hot pink AlienBee and an umbrella, which I used for the first time on this portrait shoot for the Daily Planet. I’ve used AlienBees several times before but I’ve never taken one outside the studio.

Robert was gracious while I took my time setting up. This shot is one of the first 10 I took.

I have a lot to learn about manipulating light, but I feel good about my first artificially lit assignment shoot and will be hauling that pink eyesore around with me for more in the near future.

Scenes from Nothern Spark

I covered Northern Spark, Minneapolis’ annual all-night art festival, for The Southwest Journal. You can see the images on their site or check ’em out below.

Images of melting glaciers and icebergs are projected onto the Gold Medal Silos as part of a project called “Ice Fall – Feel The Change.”

People write on white flags as part of the piece “Surrender: What are We Willing to Lose?” According to the Northern Spark website, the piece “challenges visitors to examine their choices, literally and symbolically raising the white flag of surrender to climate change.”

A Northern Spark attendee touches plants inside Afterglow Garden’s greenhouse marked “Preserved June 11, 2016.” As the Northern Spark website explains, “The box is a greenhouse time capsule that houses herbs, moss, succulents, and flowers from a bygone era which visitors may smell, touch, eat and admire.”

People write intentions for their community on quilt squares as part of the project, “Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars.”

The Great Tamareda, a Real Housewives Tarot Card Reader, reads someone’s tarot from inside “The Change Booth.”

People watch as 12,000 pounds of Lake Calhoun ice slowly melts. The ice is part of “Phase Change, a project that represents climate change.”

Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia

The Twin Cities Daily Planet just published an article on Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, “a tenants’ organizing group fighting back against neglectful, retaliatory landlords.” The piece is important because it speaks not only to the problem, but also to peoples’ powerful organizing against it.

I’ve paraphrased or directly quoted the author’s writing in the image captions below.

Flora Dominguez (left) and Alejandro Quintero (right) are part of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia. They’ve dealt with numerous serious problems in their units that their landlord has been unwilling to fix, including mold, cockroaches, and winter temperatures below the state-mandated minimum.

The paint chipping in Flora Dominguez’s apartment recently tested positive for lead.

Alejandro Quintero

Jesús and Eduardo are members of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, and have faced similar problems with their apartment.

When Jesús and Eduardo requested repairs, they saw all kinds of fees added to their rent. They had to pay late fees, even though they had sent the rent check on time. They had to pay fees for people who supposedly lived in the apartment who weren’t on the lease, even though Jesús and Eduardo were both on the lease and were the only two who lived there. They now regularly receive letters from the Apartment Shop with threats of eviction handwritten on every fee notice.

After standing up for themselves and taking their landlord to court, the tenants who make up Inquilinxs Unidxs have finally seen improvements in their homes, including pest exterminations.

Jesús and Eduardo have found power in Inquilinxs Unidxs’ collective organizing. “We see a lot of people in worse situations than us. When we show up [to meetings] and learn, we eliminate our ignorance. We don’t feel as alone,” Eduardo said.

Catholic Workers Disrupt Twins Opener

Catholic Worker activists, led by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Black Liberation Project, link arms to block traffic outside the Twins Stadium before the season opener game.

Transit police confront the protesters.

A Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizer leads chants in the middle of the intersection.

An elderly Twins fan shouts at the protesters.

After ordering them to stop blocking traffic, police arrest about two dozen protesters and take them to Hennepin County Jail.

A protester kneels to pray before being arrested.

Arrested protesters share a moment on the bus to jail. I love this photo because it’s so completely Erica (the woman pictured). How many people can brighten a bus ride to jail with this much joy?

The protesters are released less than an hour after being detained.

Mike Freeman’s Decision

I encourage you to read [this article] on Mike Freeman’s decision not to charge the officers who killed Jamar Clark. It says everything I would want to say in this post.

Bicycle cops wait at a nearby playground before the march.

People give impassioned speeches at the Fourth Precinct.

Memorial to Jamar Clark near the spot on Plymouth Ave where he was killed. The sign reads, “Telling me I’m obsessed with racism in America is like telling me I’m obsessed with swimming while I’m drowning.” –Hari Kondabolu

Alex Clark, Jamar Clark’s cousin, speaks to people at the Fourth Precinct

Protesters march away from the Fourth Precinct towards downtown to meet up with a group led Black Lives Matter that started at Elliot Park

Marchers rally outside the Hennepin County Government Center.

Taye Clinton with the Black Liberation Project talks about racism he’s experienced in the school system.

People bring balloons spelling “JAMAR” to his memorial

A car parked near Jamar Clark’s memorial displays a handmade sign reading “We <3 you Jamar".

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