The New York Times just posted a multimedia project I recently had the opportunity to work on, called “Patient Voices” which was about prostate cancer (there are others out there ranging from ADD to Infertility). For this project I photographed and interviewed ESPN Commentator and all around good guy, Mitch Laurance. I spent a great afternoon talk with, and photographing Mitch at the Grande Dunes Members Club in Myrtle Beach, while the Hard Rock Park celebrity golf tournament was going on outside. It is always a rewarding experience when you get to help someone tell their story, especially one as personal as this.
For the past three weeks I have been following home school families associated with the Forest Acres Christian Educators association, as they prepare for their first annual Fall Heritage Ball. To the students this was more than just a regular fall dance. Since they are home schooled this is the closest that many of them would get to attending a formal dance that resembled a prom. For the parents the evening marked one more victory in their quest to provide an education for their children… on their terms.
After months of planning, shopping, and rehearsing the formal dances like the Virginia Reel, Postie’s Jig, and several Waltzes, the night finally arrived. However unlike most proms the was no blaring hip-hop music, no gyrating bodies, and no skimpy dresses that left little to the imagination. As one parent stated, “if its not for sale, don’t advertise it. As the sounds of a traditional waltz made their way out of the stereo, fathers danced with daughters, brothers danced with sisters, and friends danced with each other.
This story has been a nice change of pace for me, and its also been a fun opportunity to learn more about a part of the community that I didn’t know much about. Even though I’m sure we have a lot of differences in ideals, morals, and religion, these families were absolutely wonderful to me. They allowed me complete access to anything I wanted, and thanked me for being there every time I showed up. It is stories and experiences like this, that recharge my batteries for photojournalism, if only I could do more of them.