There’s been a lot written about this year already, so i’ll stick to photos and captions. Links to stories of the talented writers I collaborated with are included when available. Keep learning and working hard, friends. Thanks for looking. 

Indigenous Peoples Day — Phoenix, Arizona

October 10th in Phoenix is now officially Indigenous Peoples Day instead of the federally recognized Columbus Day. Native and indigenous people from around the state gathered at Puente Human Rights Movement in Phoenix to share stories, songs, poems, food, traditions and just get together and have a great time. There was also much said in solidarity with the protests against the copper mine at sacred Oak Flat, against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and against the further development of the Loop 202 freeway in south Phoenix that would cut through South Mountain—which is a sacred site. I felt so lucky to document this event, and I’m glad to share some scenes and portraits. 

Yorkshire (September 2016)

A collection from a September 2016 trip to visit family and friends in the northern U.K., including the Yorkshire cities Hartshead, Howarth, York and Huddersfield—and one day in Lancashire in Liverpool. Visiting family in this case also meant seeing my parents and sister for the first time in months (even though they live on the other side of the U.S.) and introducing my partner Eric to my aunts, uncles, cousins and chosen family in the U.K. for the first time after five years together. (It went so well, and so many laughs were had. My little cousin even told me he approves.)

I settled on this edit after three weeks of anxiously processing. Most of the family photos are omitted and instead this focuses on the little scenes and landscapes that make me feel full of Yorkshire. 99% of spending time with family was healing and beautiful and much needed refuge from the heat and stress. We went on long walks, danced and drank and tried to cram years into a few days. Small hints of nostalgia and guilt haunt my visits. I love these people and places so much, and I wish I was there for them full-time. Saying goodbye sucks.

Also very present was the fact that my aunt, cousins and mom were in the middle of the process of moving my grandad into a hospice and out of his home. I documented this process and out of respect for him and my mom and family, I’m not ready to publish those. 

Anyway, thanks for looking. Love to everyone.

Phoenix pushes back against Trump’s visit

On the last day of August, I had the privilege of photographing the periphery of Donald Trump’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona to make a much-anticipated speech on immigration reform and border security in the United States. Many expected a pivot away from his previous plan to erect a concrete wall along our 2,000 mile shared border, but he ended up doubling down. Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been recommended for federal charges for racially profiling Latinxs, gave remarks in favor of the candidate. 

But I didn’t have a credential for the inside show—I photographed Phoenix’s reaction to the circus being in town. For the most part, it was a huge Mexican dance party with loud mariachi music and traditional dancing. There were camps of angry protesters and giant balloons of Trump in a Klan robe and Arpaio in a jail uniform. There were Trump supporters carrying crosses a la Jesus. But my favorite thing I saw yesterday was a beautiful peace dance by Danza Azteca Chichimeca Tezcatlipoca. Check them out if you have a moment. I’ve linked their Facebook page. We all need a bit of peace right now.

Thanks for looking. 

From the hot months

How is it the end of July already!?

I’m now four months in to being a full-time independent photographer and coming up on the first anniversary of living in Arizona. It feels surreal to say that, and I’m feeling so grateful this is my job. New challenges abound, which has made room for growth. It still feels like there’s more that I don’t know I don’t know, especially about setting myself up as a business, but I’m moving forward and embracing each opportunity. When it feels like the phone will never ring again, it miraculously does. 

There are still a few assignments I’ve shot this summer that aren’t published so I can’t share everything, but here is a peek at what the summer has held for me so far (besides smoldering desert heat). 

I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon Railroad’s Chief Mechanical Engineer, hear the tearful and frustrated reaction by Latinx/Latinx Americans after a SCOTUS deadlock in late June halting immigration reform, a northern Arizona gun club having tough conversations about when elders should retire their rifles, talk Minecraft with Arizona twins Kyle and Lauren Byrd who live with SMAprotests against police brutality (and the community meetings to move forward which you can see more of in earlier blog posts), visit the headquarters of TASER, Inc. to meet CEO Rick Smith, the end of the freeze on Arizona Kids Care, cover the heroes of the Tenderfoot Wildfire, meet two incredible (1) Olympians (2) and follow the Arizona GOP’s quest to woo border towns.

Thanks for looking, folks. 

#blacklivesmatter Moving Forward Phoenix community meeting

On Monday, July 18 Black Lives Matter Phoenix held a community meeting hosted by Rev. Reginald Walton, the pastor of Philips Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church with a panel discussion and questions from the community for Mayor Greg Stanton, Arizona State University Prof. Dr. Matthew Whitaker, indigenous American civil rights leader Amanda Blackhorse, Phoenix Police Asst. Chief Mike Kurtenbach, constitutional lawyer Stephen Benedetto, community leader Clottee Hammons, and Richard Crews, Community Impact Manager of Thriving Together for Valley of the Sun United Way.

People absolutely packed the little church and braved flash floods and heavy rain to get to the meeting, and since there was such a turn out, many stood for hours and listened and wrote down questions for the panel. 

It was a uniting, productive, peaceful meeting where it felt like all were heard and had the power to speak up. Police and community shared their struggles and people left talking about what they could all do to help their community. I hope conversations like this are happening all across our country. 

#blacklivesmatter in Phoenix, Ariz.

Following a violent few weeks in the U.S., the black community in and around Phoenix has focused on coming together to grieve and call for change at rallies and community meetings. While there have been multiple groups holding events, the message is clear: change needs to occur more quickly, and police and citizens need to come together to implement those changes. 

While not perfect, this city is doing a good job. Phoenix appointed a new chief of police last week, a black female Phoenix native. Phoenix and Tempe Police have supported and protected protesters this week tirelessly. Different organizations have provided plans to improve relations, including a 12 point plan initiated by the Black Women of Faith campaign. 

It has been a peaceful movement here intent on working toward solutions. I have not seen any animosity or calling for violence against police, just the urgent need for trust between the communities and accountability for those police who use excessive force, leading to the disproportional killing of black Americans.

Tenderfoot Wildfire

On June 8, a fire began burning on the east side of Yarnell, Ariz. the other side of town from a deadly fire in 2013 that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, the elite wildland fire crew based in Prescott, Ariz. That fire was on a lot of people’s mind this week as the towns of Yarnell and Peeples Valley were evacuated, the highway to Phoenix closed and crews of firefighters, emergency personnel and incident strategy teams set up Incident Command Post in Peeples Valley to fight the Tenderfoot fire. As of writing on June 11, there are 6 Hotshot crews, 2 Type 2 initial attack crews 22 Engine crews, 2 light, 3 heavy helicopter 2 air attack fixed wing aircraft platforms, 3 bulldozers, logistics, support, managers and volunteers totaling upwards of 350-400. It takes a lot of people, resources, money and time to fight wildland fire. They are doing really well as of today — no people or homes have been lost. Three outbuildings have been lost. The fire is now 30% contained. Wildland fire situations can change with the wind, though. The awareness and preventative action taken after the Yarnell Hill fire likely prevented the fire from spreading nearer to structures and families in Yarnell. Crews have been digging preventative fire lines and clearing fuel for the fire—the dry, high desert foliage—ahead of any incident. While I reported the second and third day at the fire, crews are going to be out there for as long as it takes to run its course. 

Arizona is strict on media on wildland incident scenes. They are unpredictable and can escalate without warning. While on assignment, I photographed the fire from the safety of the ICP, but many men and women are out on the smoke-filled  Weaver Mountains with heavy equipment, hiking rough terrain. I want to share some photos from the days I spent with the crews working so hard to keep us safe and in times of crisis and some of the people affected by these fires.

Outtakes from FORM: Arcosanti for The New York Times

I had the indcredible assignment to cover FORM: Arcosanti for The New York Times arts desk. Above are some of the photos I wanted to share that didn’t make it to print.

Here is the finished piece including a beautiful review by JON CARAMANICA and a gallery of images. 

Here’s how it appeared in print. Thank you to Alana Celii and the whole team at the Times who made this possible!

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