2015-10-10: Elder Scott's Funeral

A couple weeks ago I headed up to Salt Lake City to shoot a funeral for Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In other words, he was high up in the LDS church and his passing was a big deal among the largely LDS community in the state. 

I've never been LDS, but I've always appreciated learning about the culture here. It's a good experience to learn about something very different from yourself, and an especially good experience to be the minority, in this case in regards to religious beliefs. It's definitely taught me to think about what I'm saying, how I hold myself and given me a little more respect overall. 

Heading up to the tabernacle or the temple in SLC is a healthy dose of true Utah Mormonism, and it's fun to shoot and experience.

Thanks for taking a peek. 

Ralph Knudsen directs people into Temple Square before the funeral.

People wait for the gates to Temple Square to open before the funeral services.

Elder Scott's casket is brought in along with family and friends.

President Thomas S. Monson speaks in front of an enormous organ at the Tabernacle.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Salt Lake Temple.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir breaks before the beginning of the services. 

Missionaries on tablets before the start of the funeral services.

President Thomas S. Monson. 

Chairs for the dignitaries.

The Tabernacle at Temple Square

One of Elder Scott's grandsons.

Procession onlookers. 

Thanks as always,


2015-10-09: Tough Topic

This April, I was assigned a portrait for a series on suicide and its prevention. It's a surprisingly large issue in what's often considered Happy Valley. 

I already get nervous and anxious in a regular portrait situation and this was obviously no different. I really wanted to make a photograph that wasn't just a dimly lit subject next to window, the usual go to. So when I arrived, I met the family who had lost a son just over a year earlier. The mother showed me around and we ended up deciding to make the portrait in her son's room, which was still decorated with all of his things as well as some photos of him. 

I remembered something I learned while attending the Eddie Adams workshop in 2013. I believe it was Eugene Richards who was speaking. He told of making portraits while having a conversation. He would ask subjects if they were open to having a no-holds-barred, deep, meaningful conversation. He truly wanted to know the very depths of his subjects. Then, with prior permission, would shoot as they'd talk. The work resonated with me. It was different than what I was taught in journalism school, but felt more real, honest, and story telling than something stiff.

I gave it a go this time, and it was immensely fulfilling, if that's the right way to describe it. The mother was grateful to tell her son and her family's story. We cried together as I learned I was sitting in the very corner of his room where it happened. It was emotionally exhausting, but I think it's unfair as a photographer to walk into someone's home and not try to open yourself up to how they feel. You have to make it about them, not about you taking a photograph. It was the only way my heart could feel in the right after the assignment, and it felt good to learn and take something home. I still found it hard to release the shutter, but I think that thought process is good and important. 

Give it a go sometime when connecting is important to you...and the person you're photographing.

Trina is comforted by the family dog, Bubby, while interviewing in her son, JC's, room, in American Fork on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

Thanks for looking,


2015-10-08 Skiing Children

Here are a couple photos from a really small kids ski race at Sundance one night in Jan. Light up at the gate was great, but quickly disappeared down the course, so did what I could to work the light in the slippery environment. Fun assignment I hope I get to shoot again!

Thanks taking a gander,