Every year, just as spring’s precipitous grasp begins to take hold over the Pacific Northwest the the Sea Scout ship Charles N Curtis is hauled out of the water for it’s yearly service and inspection. It’s crew of 14-21 year old Sea Scouts devote a portion of their spring breaks just to do their part to keep the Charles N. Curtis in the water for another year. That means at least one day of pressure washing, scrubbing, sanding, and painting the bottom of the ship for most. Other, more senior kids are expected to perform even dirtier jobs, like major head (toilet) repairs, packing the grease fittings for the rudders, or climbing through the bilge chasing through hull fittings.
It’s no wonder they’re told to throw their clothes away when they get home.
Since April of this year I’ve been “on assignment” with the Dockyard Derby Dames of Tacoma, Washington. Things started with a feature writing project for a course at the University of Washington and quickly spiraled out of control. Now the scope of my work includes, travel, video production, and of course – photography. The photos below the fold are some selections from my eight months of work with the Dockyard Derby Dames with just a smidgen of commentary.
For the past two years I have been working with Police Departments in the Pierce County area on various projects. Generally I perform documentation, promotional, and training photographs for events that they host. Most of the time the photographs are pretty mundane documentary photos. People at podiums, crowds, group portraits. Pretty standard photographs.
Every once and a while they throw a curve ball at me. This time the curve ball was Simunitions training session at a local college.
For those who aren’t familiar with Simunitions – they’re soap filled plastic bullets that are fired out of highly modified or dedicated firearms. They’re setup so that is almost impossible to chamber a “real” cartridge, but they’re realistic enough many of the firing aspects of a “real” firearm. Unlike commercial firearms replicas, like airsoft, Simunitions replicate everything from the smell, and feel of a real firearm to the techniques required to repair a malfunction.
These training scenarios are designed to put pressure on the officers, and pit them against a wide range of hand selected volunteers. Some of these volunteers are highly trained combat specialists, while others are individuals who only have a basic level of firearms handling. This wide playing field allows the participating officers to experience the different types of active shooter scenarios that they might encounter.
I normally keep my non-commercial portraiture private and share it only when I’m meeting with prospective clients but I just couldn’t help but share this photo from David and Shala’s wedding. It’s so cute it hurts.
This is a perfect opportunity to remind you that on top of my commercial photography I just love working private photo shoots. That means I’m available for senior portraits, children’s candids, on-site studio, and just about everything else you could imagine. Rates vary on the season, and shoot complexity. If you’re interested in a free quote, just shoot me an email!
Now you’re probably asking yourself “what have you gotten yourself into this time, Ben?” Well I’ll tell you! As part of Chris Demaske’s Feature Writing course at the University of Washington, I am expected to “embed” myself into a group that I have zero affiliation with or prior interest in. Identifying a group was easy thanks to the posters hanging in the commons area that read “Dockyard Derby Dames Flat Track Roller Derby.”
I’ve never even heard of Flat Track Roller Derby, and I thought the whole concept of the Roller Derby died around the time I was born. I guess I couldn’t have asked for a better group to build my project on.
Not wanting to be the creepy guy sitting in the corner watching the skaters practice, I offered my services as a photographer. I must have left a good impression because I’m totally doing some team photos for the Trampires (the team I’m following).
This is just so cool.