recent additions

I've been playing around with the new web features on PhotoShelter.

In the meantime, I have been having several conversations with fellow newspaper people about the fate of our industry. You never realize how passionate you or your colleagues are until you have these conversations. I read something that predicted that by 2010, about a year from now, most towns won't have local newspapers. That frightens me. What frightens me even more is that it seems the only people that care about this are people that work in papers, when the people who should be most concerned are citizens! I revel in having a right to information. Information is free! Library cards are free! That (and the interstate system of defense highways) is what I LOVE about this country! Sadly, it's so often overlooked and taken for granted...

I know, there's the web. Everything will go to the web. And I must sound like a broken record to my friends, but NOT EVERYONE HAS THE INTERNET! People who have the internet are NOT the only people who are important! And yes, libraries have internet, and they're public and free. Well, libraries are not conveniently located at every corner. What about people living in rural areas? Newspapers give you the opportunity to page through news that you normally wouldn't come across. The Internet customizes what you see with every click, narrowing your breadth of information each time. It's like radio now-- you only hear what the big bucks want you to listen to.

.. And I dearly love my job. I can't think of any other job where you (and thousands of other people) can so quickly see the product of your work. I don't want my occupation to turn into the stuff of folklore, like cowboys and shoe repairmen... but, if it does, I'll at least have (paper) evidence of it.


sneak peak

Christmas Eve 2007: Marie, undergoing her fourth round of chemotherapy for stage four lung cancer, looks at herself in the mirror after her daughter Tracie shaved her head.


Hallo from Deutschland!

So I am in Germany visiting my brother and his family. This weekend we were at the annual medieval festival in Dreieichenhain. Above is a performer practicing between some tents before he went on stage.

This vendor sold honey wine and was VERY nice once he realized I didn't understand German. I bought one huge glass bottle and two smaller ones to take with me to the States.

My brother and I. Yes, we really are related. Here is a very similar picture of us:

More photos from the festival:

This is my 12-year-old niece. She is taller than me.

My brother, my niece, and my sister-in-law. I love the houses.

We rented an RV to stay in for two nights.

I have TONS of photos of various scenes, from my first authentic German meal to my brother eating the Oreos I brought over since they don't have any in Germany, to my sister-in-law's Prussian father. When my brother introduced me to him, instead of the usual polite introduction, my brother says, "THIS. is a PRUSSIAN! Take a good long look. There aren't too many left anymore." Which is entirely true, and extremely interesting to me. Klaus the Prussian fled his home when he was 6 years old with his parents to escape the Russians. The German government finally assigned him to live in the town they live in now, called Breitenbrunn.


what's josie been up to?

Well, there was the sidewalk festival in Kent:

I saw the walking fruit first as I was driving by. I did a double take in my rear view mirror and that's when I made an illegal U-turn, drove past them again, in the direction of where they were walking, found a parking spot, ran out of my car with my gear and waited. Yes, I was hunting fruit. Apparently they were doing promotions for a nearby IGA grocery store.

The seemingly sadistic man who's burning another man, albeit tiny, glass, and soul-less, was someone who I only saw because I walked past some people who were looking at him from across the street. This is Max the Glass Blower. He was in the shade of a tree, and if it wasn't for the flame I wouldn't have even noticed him. The purple glasses I thought were a fashion statement, but are really there to help him see what he's doing through the flame. He had a few extra pairs and he let me wear one, and I put a purple lens over the lens of my camera, and this is the effect.

I think these two dudes go to the same hair stylist.

This is Jason, the owner of a new restaurant downtown called the Country Club. If you go there, he will write your NAME on your plate!!! Anywho, I like this because it's not every day I get to take my time with portraits and use the tools that I made with my very own gaffer tape and cereal box. (A snoot.)

One of my friends from freshman year at Boston is in a band, (The Appreciation Post) and every so often they'll come through the area on tour. (We actually reunited randomly when they came through and played with some Waterbury bands a few months ago... THAT was a blast from the past!) So I met up with them at the American Legion in Naugatuck, only I missed their set but we hung out a little bit:

Then we went outside to get away from feeling like the oldest people there and that is when Roger (Who's like, 7 feet tall) Looked up at the sky and said, "Um, guys?"

Five minutes and two miles later:

I wasn't on the clock, but MAN was it cool when I ran to my car and Roger and Nam (the ROCKstars) yell, "Go, photojournalist, go! Go shoot that fire!" in front of a bunch of teenagers.

In the meantime I'm looking forward to going to Germany for two weeks on the 9th. This will be the first time my brother and I will get to hang out without Dad yelling at us for things like playing laser tag at 3am or drinking in public. Also, I get to see my niece who is 13, I think, and from what I hear, she sounds exactly like me when I was 13... so.. this should be fun. =)



Thomas the Tank Engine

This was my first REAL video. (I did one a few weeks earlier with a small point and shoot camera.) I was stoked. Nidia, the mom in the video, called me at the office the next day and we became friends pretty fast and talked a couple times. She also shares a name with one of my favorite Panamanian aunts, and was more than happy to have me practice speaking Spanish with her.

Flying in a B-17 Bomber

Last year around this time I rode in the same B-17, with the same pilot even. That was before I knew a thing about shooting video so I did an audio slideshow on it that apparently has garnered over 6,000 hits on YouTube, which I only found out about after I spoke to the pilot during the latest assignment. It's always cool to come back to an annual event where people remember not only you but your work.

Germany in ONE WEEK!


long summer nights= long blog posts

This is my third summer in New England, and with each summer I realize just how precious these long, warm days are. And what I love more than the long warm days are the hot, hazy nights, which just brings me back to my summers as a teenager back home.

We at the Rep-Am but a lot of emphasis on the importance of exercise to morale, teamwork, and personal health.

Now I know what I must look like to the chipmunks that run away as I fly by on the Middlebury Green Way. The guy to the right is Jamison, who witnessed my very first tire blow-out. Not just the tube, I blew out the TIRE. And furthermore we were about five miles from our cars. After two weeks, four tubes, a newly learned proficiency at changing bike tubes, and throwing a near temper-tantrum at the Bike Rack (my safety had been at serious risk), I think the problem is fixed.

The paper put on a "Flag Day Coloring Contest" where kids drew a picture that incorporated an image of the American Flag, and the winners would have their pictures published on July 4, and receive some prizes. The first winner who came in was Hannah, and I was so excited at how festively she was dressed! She was wearing a red and white striped shirt, blue jean shorts, and I didn't notice her nails until I was shooting her holding her picture. So just for fun, I got this photo.

The same day I had an assignment in Wallingford to shoot Dan Mazzaferro, a local who competed in the Olympic trials. I introduced myself to him, and mentioned how I remembered taking his photo when he was a senior at Cheshire. I also noticed this HUGE ring he was wearing, which was an NCAA Championship ring from last year for Auburn University, where he attends now. I said, "Last year? What year are you now?"

Dan: "I'm going to be a junior."

Me: "Seriously?!? So I must have taken your picture YEARS ago!"

Dan: "Yeah, I'm old."

"YOU'RE old??!" I thought to myself. Time FLIES!!!

Anyway, here's a photo of him showing off his skillz.

For graduation season, which ended just a few weeks ago, we held a photo competition for three categories: Best Overall Photo, Best Gallery, and Best Emotion. What was at stake, you ask? Three trophies hand-made by our very own Steven Valenti. I received Best Overall Photo for a photo I shot at the very first graduation I shot:

Rachael Dioses is comforted by her stepfather and mother Dominic and Maria Cavaiuolo of Cheshire after Dioses received the diploma for her brother Timothy Dioses, who died last month, during commencement ceremonies on Thursday at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury.

And if anyone has ever wondered if I ever tear up at sad events? The answer is YES. I almost started bawling at the Crosby graduation when the cousin of a would-be graduate who had drowned the week before was singing a song in his honor. It KILLED me.

TJ won Best Photo Gallery with his coverage of Torrington's graduation.
Jim won Best Emotion with a photo that I will post up here later...

So after I "accepted" my award, I celebrated by going to SeƱor Panchos in Prospect, sitting the trophy on the seat next to me, and having a photo shoot with it afterwards. (The actual circumstances? I met up with Johnathon Henninger from the Record-Journal to pick up my sunglasses that I had accidentally left with him when we had met up with Chion Wolf from NPR in West Hartford. Though we have no photos from that event, it was certainly memorable because John had successfully finished his very first beer: a PINT of Newcastle Brown Ale. The man is 30 years old.)


rainbow hunting

Today I attended the Small-Paper Summit, put on by the Society for News Design and hosted by the Rep-Am. I learned a lot more than I was honestly expecting, and though it's so easy to be pessimistic about the newspaper industry, many things that speakers Darren Sanefski, Charles Apple, and Bill Ostendorf said were pretty gutsy in that they WERE optimistic. I also received an extremely constructive portfolio review, so keep your eyes open as I should tweak up my website soon. It definitely refreshed my batteries, and just in time for my weekend!

After the conference ended a wicked thunderstorm came through, and afterwards a rainbow popped up behind my house, and then a second, fainter one:

Then I rode around on my NEW BIKE looking for better vantage points but the rainbow soon dissolved.

Ah, my bike. I had been looking for a bike for a while but I'm short, and I have short legs, thus finding a bike that I could comfortably ride was a tinge difficult. It happens. We live in a heightist world.

A few weeks ago my co-worker Jamison, who's a bike FREAK, called to tell me he found a bike that looked like it would fit me.

"Where did you find it?" I asked.

"Bike Rack, in Waterbury," he said.

"Wait... where??"

"Bike Rack!"

"Well, if you found it on a bike rack, doesn't it BELONG to someone????" I ask in astonishment of Jamison's intention of stealing a private citizen's property.


Once that was settled, we went over to THE Bike Rack one day and lo and behold, the bike FIT!

So I bought it, and it wasn't until after I bought it (here in Waterbury, CT) that I noticed this sticker:

Oceanfront Bicycles, VA Beach, VA.

Someone could have ridden this SAME bike right past me when I lived in Virginia Beach 20 YEARS AGO. This bike is MEANT for me.

Now, like any good vessel of travel, it needs a name. Any suggestions?


Of Bikes and Men.

I'm becoming more and more inspired by portraits I see on strobist, and I decided, what better way to practice portraits than with friends?

My first willing experiment is my friend Matt Lolli, who's obviously really into bikes and making art inspired by cycling, as is illustrated by Ghostship Clothing. We started out just doing portraits of him, and the focus quickly turned into a t-shirt campaign.

I'm pretty excited with how they came out, and I can't wait to shoot more of these as I add items to my rifle case light kit bag.

In the meantime, I'm deep in the bowels of editing HOURS upon HOURS of audio down to less than 5 minutes for Marie Tyrrell's follow-up that we're aiming to finish next month. She's doing well.. she just came back from a dude ranch with her daughter Tracie and granddaughter Mysti. Last month I went with Marie to her cataracts surgery. I was starting to feel a bit queasy as I watched the surgery until one of the women there told me exactly what was happening, which I thought would for sure make me vomit, but I was surprisingly comfortable with the details.

And last week we at the Rep-Am bid farewell to Ben Conery, who was one of the first good friends I made when I moved to Waterbury (which will be THREE years ago next month). He's going to greener pastures, at the Washington Times.

Good luck, Buck.



There seems to be a feline theme in some of my photographs lately. If you saw my portfolio, you would have noticed this new one:

One of the reporters said she has never seen so much emotion on a CAT before. Oh, yeah, and the cat had gone back INTO the burning building, and was later rescued:

And sometime last month there was a huge snow storm and no one was out except for this little guy:

IN OTHER NEWS, I received a Publick Occurrences Award for Photojournalism from the New England Newspaper Association last Friday for the story I did on Marie.. who is doing quite well, by the way.


"mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho!"

In recent weeks, I feel like I have been the grim reaper of tractor-trailers. It all started with my boss calling me at 7am one day for this:

The driver behind the wheel of this tractor-trailer carrying compressed hydrogen fell asleep. I wasn't very good in Chemistry class, so I didn't know what the big deal was when people were making dramatic gasps whenever I said "compressed hydrogen," and the reactions were so lively it could well have been the magic word on Pee Wee's Playhouse when everything goes bonkers. Anyway, for those of you like me, compressed hydrogen is what they use to make bombs. Now that I think about it, I wonder where this tractor-trailer was headed. Anyway, the important thing here is no one was hurt, AND riding in the baby plane was pretty cool--I was even on the driver's side!

And wouldn't you know it, the NEXT DAY, in roughly the same area on the same highway, I was called to this:

Apparently the trailer had somehow come OFF the truck. Scary.

NINE DAYS LATER....a storm came through, on my shift of course, (somehow fate just has it so that the Southerner, who has NO experience driving in snow, always shoots the snow storms..) and eventually they closed the west-bound lanes and all lanes on 84 were going east:

After this I was just so fed up with these accidents that I went on vacation, to escape it all ya know? And on my first day back, I was sent to this accident, ALSO on I-84:

Be careful out there, fellow drivers.