Also my Facebook memories torment me with photos from my past that often make me wish I still saw photos the same way I did when I was young and hungry.
Then I spend a few days of self doubt and loathing before I come to my senses and realize that each story I cover has its own merits and therefore there should be no comparisons to times past or other community stories witnessed by other photographers. The life I am blessed to witness deserves their own recognition and a dedicated second look.
This years stories here in NW Pa. are as good as any other stories anywhere else.
And usually, within this whole process, I discover that I am better and smarter than my previous selves.
I then look at my work with a fresh eye.
So here are a collection of my favorite images from the very trying year of 2020.
I was blessed to be invited into the home of Oil City police officer Steve Rembold to tell the story of his battle with cancer and efforts by the community to rally behind him and his family. It was an honor to be given the trust to tell such a story and I am proud of that. I wish I could share my favorite photo from that story as one of my favorites of the year.
Click here for a blog about the story.
As I was sitting in my bosses offices getting the pink slip, I was thinking, ok, I'll start telling stories on my own. Two days later I made this picture above of Laura Jones and her husband getting rid one a guest room full of supplies she had collected over the last 25 years of being a GEMS teacher. She was giving her supplies to the next generation of GEMS leaders as she prepared for retirement.
She was thrilled to be able to pass on her work to others. Her husband was also happy to see parts of the house he said he hadn't seen in years. We laughed and I wrote my first independent story.
I also got a chance record a few moments of life this year that seemed oddly vacant of humans as lockdown measures were put in place and then as they were slowly lifted I was able to photograph life getting back to a small bit of normal.
But band director Dan Cartwright wouldn't let his kids miss out on their season completely. Because of capacity numbers it was decided the band wouldn't join the football team for their games. So the band held a parade on opening night of the Oilers home season and then performed for other sports including Cross Country and Tennis all season. They didn't take no for an answer.
I loved this story and was happy I found a way to tell it at the end of the year.
It was an interesting year with so many moments that help me understand this life better and this place I live and work even more.
Great community story of great community caring.
This above was almost my last photo ever. Well that is perhaps a tad over dramatic. This play in Oil City's win over Juniata in Altoona was a play I didn't witness finishing. A referee running down the sidelines collided with me knocking me out cold. The game had to be stopped because both he and I needed medical attention and apparently the ambulance for the game was out on another call. I suffered a severe concussion and spent a little time in the hospital. So did the ref, but he is younger and more fit than me and seemed to recover quicker.
Not my proudest moment and I'm, in some ways, still recovering. I missed the rest of the Oilers run as I worked to regain equilibrium and remember my name(haha).
One proud thing from this though, I was told they had to almost pry the camera out of my hand and it was undamaged.
Below are some more photographs of some note worthy events this year and some fun captures. I hope all of these help encapsulate a sense of who we are as a people, because to me that is the best thing I can do in this life.
I love my job!
You can click on the smaller ones to enlarge.