foto//friday – Merauke, Papua, Indonesia

Merauke, Papua, Indonesia. It is way over on the other side of the world. It is estimated that Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, and getting from Jakarta (the capital) to Merauke is a 10 hour flight, stopping on three of the bigger islands.

I was there to photograph a story about a community center that is starting in Merauke. They will be providing youth programs, musical instrument lessons, English classes, health and AIDS awareness classes, and many other activities. You can download the entire story here, or view the magazine online here.

These children of transmigrant workers use the beach as their playground, while their parents are trying to provide a steady income for their families. There is a lot of tension between the transmigrant Indonesians who have been moved here to remedy overpopulation of other islands, and the West Papuan Indonesians who feel that their land is being taken over.

The local community center is hoping to build a bridge between the two groups in the city of Merauke.

Miranda and Brian – San Francisco, CA

I love San Francisco, so when Miranda contacted me about photographing her and Brian’s wedding, I was super excited. This city is on the top of my family’s list of places we would love to live. We’ll see…

Miranda and Brian are great to be around. Their humor and wit is very refreshing and makes for a lot of laughter and fun. I had known Brian from when I lived in California, but when I met Miranda (in person) the night before the wedding, it seemed like I had known her forever. I enjoying the feeling of adding “friends” to my life through photography.

It was a beautiful day for a wedding and trekking around the city with the bridal party. Miranda had picked out some great locations and we also stumbled upon a great red chair thrown out in an alley! Miranda’s bouquet was a stunningly simple (I’m guessing) two dozen roses. Everything was so beautiful.

Best wishes to Miranda and Brian and lots of love in your future!

Becky and Ondrej – Lewiston, Maine

You know those people that you just want to be friends with because they are so nice and friendly? Well, let me introduce you to Becky and Ondrej. These are two of the most genuine people! I was so excited to get to photograph their wedding for them.

They have wonderful and loving families. Eventually my family and I will make it back out to Maine and take up the “come visit us anytime” invitation that Becky’s parents extended. I have had the privalidge of photographing two of Ondrej’s siblings, and it was so good to get to see his parents once again. Just truly wonderful people!

The wedding took place at Bates College in Lewiston on a gorgeous summer day. Well, it ended up being the hottest day of the year, but when the sun is shining, who can complain. Enjoy the photos of this lovely couple – and all the best to Becky and Ondrej!

rojo foto//friday – Eye Care

I was sitting in the corner of a small trailer outside of a hospital in Kabul watching these young school boys come in for their eye exams one by one. One doctor was telling about how these boys had been selected because they stated they had trouble with their vision, while the other doctor listened intently to the description of the little boys problems. I love how both of the subjects in this photo are using a similar hand gesture (same hand even) while they are talking.

I learned a lot of interesting facts about Afghanistan and eye care while I was there. This particular organization did some amazing work in 2008! Here is a quote from the article that I wrote for the September 2009 issue of TEAMHorizons magazine:

Today, the flagship eye care program called National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR) provides more than 70% of the eye care for the country and people of Afghanistan. The reach of these services stretch from Mazar-e-Sharif in the north to Kandahar in the south; from Herat in the west to Jalalabad in the east, and multiple sites in Kabul and the surrounding area.

With six expatriate staff, and over 100 national workers, the NOOR program was responsible for seeing over 300,000 patients in 2008. They also provided more than 25,000 pairs of eyeglasses, 15,000 sight saving surgeries, around 400,000 bottles of eye drops, and most of the training for the countries residency program, ophthalmic technicians training and the training of community health workers.

Noor means “light” in Persian, and this program is definitely providing light to those who live in the darkness of preventable blindness.

You can download the full story (and see more photographs) here!

Kasey and Peter – Madison, WI

This was the first wedding that I have photographed that the groom created an excel spreadsheet showing the details of the wedding day in a color coded timeline. Peter is an engineer, so who would expect anything less?

Kasey and Peter came down to Chicago for their engagement photos, and it was fun to get to know them a little bit more before their wedding day. Also, the day before the wedding, I did a bridal session with Kasey. We had a great time going around Madison! It really is a cool town.