USA

Saving The Great Lakes

I contacted Susie Q Fish Market in Two Rivers, WI with a vague idea. I wanted to photograph one of the last commercial fishing operation left on The Great Lakes. At first they needed to make sure I knew what this meant. Fishing Lake Michigan, or The Great Lakes in general is not for everyone. It's long hours, hard work, big waves, and very dangerous. Combine all of that with some of the coldest temperatures on record. I'm sure you'll all remember the Polar Vortex that hit us in January, well it turns out that to catch Chubbs(one of the remaining options for commercial fishing) you need to go out at the coldest time of year. Once they knew I wasn't going away that easy then said "Come on up!". The next thing I knew I was staying in a little hotel outside of Two Rivers, it was 2:00am and I was so excited to get out onto the boat that I couldn't sleep. I had to be out the door at about 4:00am to be there at the start of the day. As soon I pulled up I realized this was not going to be an easy day.

That's when I met Dale. It turns out Susie Q wasn't actually going out for commercial fishing. They had teamed up with The Department of Fish and Wildlife to try and revive a species extinct from Lake Ontario. Chubb's had been choked out of their natural habitat in many areas by invasive species and Lake Michigan is one of the best and last places to still catch them. Dale and his team of biologists and ecologists have a very important goal for the day. They need to catch and harvest as many eggs and sperm as possible to repopulate Lake Ontario. I just happened to be there at the right time to capture it all.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one interested in this story either. Since that day I have been contacted by the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources to team up on the documentary. So while we work out all of those details I can't share the entire project, but I'm happy to share these images from the day.

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2012 NATO Protests in Chicago

When I decided I wanted to photograph the NATO protests in Chicago, I made a decision to try my best to present an unbiased documentary of the weekend. Over the course of the 3 days (Saturday, May 19th through Monday, May 21st) I found myself getting further away from my original mindset. I know I can't be the only journalist who was unable to stayan un-opinionated bystander. In terms of the actual photographs, I believe I was able to stay pretty neutral. It's just that I saw many acts of violence, from a group yelling "peaceful protest" that then decides it's a great idea to try and charge a police barricade. But I never witnessed any case of police brutality or a case of a policeman using excessive force(despite how much it was reported from organizations like Occupy Chicago). Absolutely everything I personally witnessed and photographed showed me a side of the police force that I did not expect-  organized, tolerant and even understanding. In the situations where I saw force used, every single one of them included an organization named Black Bloc. Besides them, the groups that protested NATO were very peaceful and friendly. It's sad that a relatively small group gave the entire protest a bad name.  

 Day 1

Day one started off pretty slow. My buddy Spencer and I ran around trying to figure out where the protesters even were. Once we found them things got interesting.

The first incident happened when protesters were not allowed to turn onto a specific street. Once they began to get frustrated with the cops dictating which way they would go, the protesters decided to try and break through the police barricade. The Black Bloc, specifically, are the ones wearing black and hiding their face.

As night fell the protesters ended up at a stand still with the Chicago Police on Michigan Ave.

Before I called it a night, the protesters were allowed past the police barricade. But when they noticed a group of police officers on horses trying get in front of them, they linked arms and cut them off.

Day 2

Sunday's gathering was the largest by far and it started off very peaceful.

Even the Black Bloc members were feeling peaceful in the morning.

Once the protest began they were looking for any excuse to cause trouble or better yet a fight.

At the end of march, and after a few speeches were made, the crowd was asked to disperse. Of course no one moved. The Black Bloc members wanted to break through the lines of police offers and of course the police officers couldn't let them get close to the NATO meetings.

Unfortunately for myself and other members of the press that also refused to leave, we got caught up in the chaos. I will say that getting hit with riot shields and batons hurt just as much as you might imagine, but we all knew it was going to happen if we wanted to be there to cover the story.

After the crowd was finally pushed back and dispersed I followed a small group of guys headed back into The Loop where they heard there would be another march forming. This one headed to the Art Institute where there was going to be a special dinner planned for some of the delegates.

They were easy to find. You could hear the yelling and the chants from blocks away.

After hours of running around and yelling arriving at the Art Institute was a great way to relax for a minute.

Day 3

On my way to the start of a march and I ran into some out of state protesters reading the Red Eye's story of NATO.