Wait, a Photos of the Year post without a single photo taken for a newspaper? Weird.
2017 was the first year since I picked up a camera that I didn’t shoot anything specifically for a newspaper.
Being the photographer for Santa Fe College means I might not have a camera in my hand every day like I would with the newspaper. It’s been a fun challenge to switch my frame of mind during assignments from “What’s the story of this situation?” to “How can I use the images I’m taking to get students to enroll here?” So I’m still telling stories and capturing moments with my camera, but for a different purpose.
One of my main goals last year (and continuing in 2018) is to get rid of all the stock images being used around the college. Sometimes that means just making my own version of a stock image, but with some aspect of SF sprinkled into the frame. Could be a campus landmark or just a coffee mug, anything that shows that it’s a local image and not from Getty.
Not having a camera in my hand every day has been a tough adjustment from my newspaper days. So to help with that, I like to take walks around campus and just shoot whatever catches my eye. It’s similar to feature cruising. These images are great for social media use but not much of anything after that (until now!) Maybe once I get enough of these, I’ll make a gallery or something. Could be fun.
The rest of the job includes campus events, sports, portraits… so very similar to newspaper assignments, but I get to have full control of the scene if I want. I try to capture moments as they happen still, but if I miss something, I’m not bound by journalism ethics to have the subject repeat the moment. I still feel a little bit icky about it but that’s the game.
Probably the most exciting part of the year has been traveling to document all things Ernest Hemingway. In January, I went to Cuba to see where the famous author lived for many years. This summer I went to Key West to get footage for a documentary. Then this fall, I went to Montana to interview Valerie Hemingway also for that same documentary. In July, the college hosted a conference for Hemingway scholars where the first draft of the documentary aired. It will be re-edited and shown again next summer at a Hemingway conference in Paris. (Fingers crossed that I get to go)
Big thanks to my colleagues Raul Villarreal (who grew up in Cuba and his father was Hemingway’s Majordomo) and Michael Curry (who grew up in Key West and had family who worked with Hemingway when he wrote for the Key West newspaper) Those guys have led the charge with this project. I’ve tagged along to document the college’s role and to create my own project.
Valerie Hemingway in her home in Bozeman, MT.
Handwritten notes on a copy of To Have and Have not.
Santa Fe College President Dr. Jackson Sasser in front of Hemingway’s boat, the Pilar.
And finally just some street scenes in Cuba. (Click here to see some more during my time in Cuba)
And that’s been my year at Santa Fe College, so that’s pretty much it right? Nope. Since I work for the state now, I have most of my nights and weekends free. How do I spend all that free time? By taking more photos of course.
I did quite a bit of freelance work this year… mostly sports. It started with the College Football National Championship in Tampa. I’ll be at this year’s championship as well.
My good friend Tim Casey is the team photographer for the Florida Gators and he threw quite a bit of work my way, including being on the crew of photographers who shoot each home game. So I got some good access while getting my Gator football fix this year.
The football team didn’t do so hot, but a couple of their other teams had reason to dogpile. Baseball won the College World Series (but first they dogpiled after winning the Super Regional to advance to the CWS) Volleyball finished national runner-up (but first dogpiled after reaching the final four) And soccer did pretty well too (but first celebrated a goal early in the season that’s almost a dogpile)
If I wasn’t at a UF sporting event, I was at another sporting event… or a graduation…or a wedding. (Congrats Morgan and Derek!)
This Christmas, I went home for a few days with the family. I got plenty of Uncle Matt time with the young Stamey crew and event got to clear the driveway with a snow blower. Totally an overkill for an inch of snow. But who cares.
Oh, and I jumped out of an aircraft in flight. Easily one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Can’t wait to do it again soon.