They’ve Still Got That Swing

It’s that time of year again… well it’s “that” time of year twice a year I suppose…

Every October and February I, along with my lovely assistant/girlfriend/fellow photographer, attend the local nursing home’s holiday dance. Sanctuary at Fraser Villa is a division of the Trinity Health System. There’s an autumn-themed party and a Valentine’s day shindig. You’ll find food, family, a live swing orchestra, and a group of young gentlemen to escort the residents to the dance floor (usually students from the local high schools or a Boy Scout troup).

The Older They Are, The Harder They Party

A number of years ago – maybe 3 or 4 – I did a class project, designed to make use of my major for someone’s benefit. My mother manages nursing education at Sanctuary at Faser Villa, a Metro Detroit senior care center, part of the Trinity Health System. This particular center hosts a number of yearly parties for their residents.

In other words, things lined up nicely.

Throughout the growth into my career, I got a boatload of experience shooting events and operating on-site photobooths. For a couple years my girlfriend and I brought a photobooth setup to the senior center; she ran the booth, I shot candids. Over time I began dabbling in video and eventually brought it into the mix. Now each time we attend an event, she shoots pictures, I shoot video.

It’s kind of interesting, working within a set group of people. When you shoot any given event, be it a wedding, or Mitzvah, or company picnic, you have to read the crowd and get a feel for the people.  Pinpoint the couple guests who are super outgoing and seem to exude happiness into whatever group of people they happen to be near. You’ve gotta learn the venue and figure out where the best light is. You also have to try to anticipate the event schedule and be in position before things happen. In the end, you’ve gotta do the best you can and work with what you’re given.

But shooting the same event each year gives a different edge. It’s especially pronounced in a setting like a senior center.  Activity schedules tend not to change much (it’s difficult for the residents if things change all the time). The setting is the same (it’s in the same building each time). Also, for the most part, the residents live there full time, meaning the attendees at the parties tend to remain fairly consistent.

So, instead of a reset each time, I get to work with the information about the event, guests, and venue I had from the previous party and build on it.  It’s unique in comparison to my experiences shooting parties and events.

The most recent party we attended was the Annual Harvest Ball, an Autumn-themed event they host every October. Check out the video below!

– Jon

Reclaim Detroit

In case you haven’t heard of the “Idle No More” movement, it’s essentially a continent-wide collective of all indigenous peoples, who are now using their numbers and modern media channels for a wide array of purposes.  These may include forming political pressure to have sacred locations renamed, re-appropriated, and/or recognized as such.  There is also an internal movement designed to teach their own members ways and reasons to respect their heritage and culture.

There is also, of course, the long standing cause: to finally get legislatures’ attention regarding their complete and utter disregard for nature.  Well, as we all know, short of a smack in the face (that might not even work) the only way to get noticed when it comes to creating new policy is by getting EVERYONE to say something about it.  This is where Idle No More comes in.

For quite a while now, the movement has staged “protests” in cities across the continent, drawing attention to the people and the problems.

Today (Sunday, January 20th, 2013)  they held an event in Detroit, discussing their cause, giving a blessing to the Detroit river, and presenting in front of Cobo Hall.

Here’s some of the goings-on.

– Jon