Remembering Maryrosa

This post is long overdue -- these photos have sat in my 'photos to blog' folder for months now. Tonight's mass posting is a good chance to share them.

Maryrosa Russell-Green moved to Iowa City from Chicago to join her sister, partly to escape the violence there. She had returned to Chicago to visit her daughter, grandson and boyfriend, Charles King, when she and King were shot and killed on the South Side. The Chicago Tribune had a story that prepared me for the situation.
Tanesha Por of Chicago shares memories of her mother, Maryrosa Russell-Green, while taking a break from packing up her mother's belongings at her aunt's Iowa City home on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.
Carla Davis looks through a photo album that belonged to her sister, Maryrosa Russell-Green, in Russell-Green's bedroom at Davis' Iowa City home on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

I arrived at the house to find the TV reporter interviewing one of Maryrosa's sisters, and, later, daughter. I took a few photos, but hoped for something more.. real. When Carla ducked behind the cameras to go into her sister's room in search of photos to share with us, I followed. We spent a few minutes in Maryrosa's room, looking at photos as Carla shared memories of her sister.

I sometimes wonder if my empathy gets in the way of pursuing certain photos. Could I have pushed to stay and photograph while they packed up Maryrosa's room? I could have -- but would I have wanted a photographer in my face during a time like that? (No.) There's also a certain awkwardness to piggybacking on a TV interview. They set the time aside for us to interview them, not to observe them, so to ask to photograph them packing could invite an awkward, staged situation.

At the races

I loved the pairing of the kids' boxcar races pitstop (change shoes and socks) with the real pit.

Faking it

A few cast members came to the studio for a preview of this year's Follies. Faking a full backdrop is harder than you think, since white isn't really just white. For the dice in another photo, we improvised with sugar cubes and a black marker. For cash, we raided everyone's wallets. They worked out pretty well for last-minute ideas!


So much stuff...

Bailey's Lincoln Cafe

I photographed Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine when I was in town on a different story last month. This month, I was sent back for a story on the new ownership and re-opening of the cafe. Apparently I was thinking very vertically that day..


It was pretty quiet at the Cedar Rapids Moose Lodge when I was there a few weeks ago for an assignment on their 100th anniversary.

light of day

This portrait of Cynthia Vaske, Employee Assistance Program Manager at St. Luke's, never ran with the story, but I was pretty happy with it, for an office portrait. As soon as I saw the wall and sun/moon, I knew I could do something with it.

hey batter

I'm headed to Des Moines later this week for some state baseball action. A few frames from recent games...
Fans duck as Jefferson's Ben Rettenmeier (34) pursues a foul ball that landed outside of the fence in the fifth inning of their substate game against Marshalltown at Jefferson on Monday, July 19, 2010, at Jefferson in Cedar Rapids.

Kernels manager Bill Mosiello picks up his son, Helton, 3, for a kiss before the game against Fort Wayne Tincaps on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids.

Getting lost

It's nice to take the back road home sometimes. Soy beans waving in the wind caught my eye.

heat wave

I was sent to North Liberty a couple weeks ago when the power went out at the hottest part of the hottest day of the year. It was harder than you might think to find people outside -- I guess everyone was keeping their doors closed and waiting it out at home. So, when I found these kids keeping cool in their pool I made the most of it. (My job really is more than just photographing kids in pools, I swear.)


After the parade

Believe it or not, this photo was taken as part of spot news coverage, for this story from the July 4 parade horse escape in Bellevue. I arrived about three hours after the fact, so I shot what I could. This was about the point in the route where the horses ran onto the sidewalk.


Cool down

Any day I can wear shorts and sandals to work is okay by me. I've had two days at the pool so far this summer..

Blue pool water makes the reflected light sorta funky.

Worker cottages

You know how I love my dilapidated buildings.. and with a news peg!

St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church is reflected in the window of a flood-damaged cottage across the street on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in Cedar Rapids. The city is set to demolish the cottages, citing them as a threat to public safety, but Preservation Iowa is seeking an emergency grant to move and rehabilitate them. The cottages were built to house immigrant workers at the Sinclair meatpacking plant and other factories.

Skating at the Tree

I spent the afternoon with a group of skaters for a story back in June? May? Something like that. The story, at the time I shot it, was about the location -- skating where they're not supposed to -- so I tried to incorporate the surroundings as much as I could. We were there at just the right time of day for the Tree of Five Seasons to cast its distinctive shadow on the plaza.

State track

...just like soccer, was also a blur. A slideshow of every image I submitted exists somewhere, but I can't find it, and you don't want to see that anyway, do you?

PC'er Matt Holst attempted to foil this celebration photo. Karma got him in the end, and I got my shot.

Saying goodbye

Carol Robert (left) stands with her daughter, Stephanie Walker, as they look over the lot where their house stood before the flood, on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Robert had hoped to have a chance to say goodbye to their home of 29 years, 1527 4th Street NW, but never received a call telling her the demolition was scheduled.

When the action has already happened, you do what you can to make an image that tells the story...

Jeez, I'm behind.

After three days of soccer at the state tournament back in June, it all sort of ran together. But you can always count on good celebration..

This kid (11, above) was especially great. He scored in overtime for the championship -- even better that it was his first goal of the season. Had I been shooting from the ground, I probably would have completely missed this moment. Fortunately, I got bored on the field and climbed to the top of the press box.

It was so easy to tell the Xavier players apart for the first two days. Then they all got mohawks for the championship. Thanks, guys.

IC West always played at the end of the day, when the light was pretty from one direction, but awful from the other.

This is the photo work, uh, table. Don't ask what happened when it rained.. it wasn't pretty.