Grindin’

Unlike most documentary photographers, the thing that originally drew me to photography was the visual art of it rather than its storytelling abilities. However, over the years I have come to value aesthetics less and moments, emotion and narrative more. Still I get great satisfaction out of making good-looking images, and for the most part, the ability to do so is how I currently make a living. I normally use Lovebryan to show personal projects that I’m working on, but I thought the Lovebryan lookers might be interested in the other side of what I do. This is a collection of visual images. Most are commercial work, but some are just me playing with light.

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Dragonfly Forest

Aside from autism week, Dragonfly forest has two other weeks of camp. The second week is for kids with blood conditions such as sickle cell, and the third week caters to severe asthma.

Before any of this though, is training. I have to admit (and I know my bosses from camp are reading this) I was a bit put off at first. I had never been to a camp before and I knew to expect singing and cheers and the whole shabang when the kids were there, but I was not expecting it before the kids got there. Because I am somewhat of an introvert, this took some getting used to it… Before long though, I was making up my own raps to represent the ‘Blue Unit’.

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Long drive to PA.

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The highlight of training week was a party at Anne Hamilton’s house. She, or maybe her husband, owns Campbell’s soup. She is a huge contributor to the camp.

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She had an ice cream truck come and bring everyone free ice cream.

Skip to week 2 of camp, blood conditions:

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Most of the events turned into dance parties.

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Week 3 of camp, Asthma:

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There was a record book where kids could make up any record they wanted and have documentation they are the best at it. Record for longest time having a glass suctioned to your face: 15 minutes and 1 second.

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The pool was complete mayhem.

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This was the gnarliest pool brawl I saw.

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Messy Olimpics was my favorite event all summer.

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The ropes coarse was a major highlight too because I got to climb up and swing from ropes in the trees as I shot kids climbing up.

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Pirate day.

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Kristen talks to her favorite camper during a dance activity. This kid has two brothers with asthma and when he was diagnosed with it, he was overjoyed because it meant he could go to camp.

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Russel came form Asheville too and took any excuse to dress like a woman. Camp is the least judgmental place I’ve ever been and therefore probably the best place to dress like a woman that I can think of. Go Russel.

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Josh (another installment of the Asheville crew) prepares to cross the Delaware.

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Will had a similar story to me in that he had a hard time adjusting to camp, but ended up… well you see.

Autism Camp

My first overnight camp experience and it’s in Pennsylvania with all autistic kids. Dragonfly Forest is one of the only overnight camps in the country that has a whole program dedicated to Autism. The autism spectrum is very broad and diverse, so we saw a little bit of everything from Asperger’s know-it-alls, to kids who could barely communicate at all.

I was asked to not use the names of any of the campers.

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This is one of the most interesting kids at camp. This photo was taken on day 1. He refused to talk to anyone. He thought camp was stupid, all of the kids and counselors were immature idiots, and the color purple was ridiculous and girlie (purple was his unit color).

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This is Kevin, the camper’s counselor. If any other counselor would have been assigned to him, they would have had a horrible week. Kevin, however, found an amazing way to deal with his cynicism and unwillingness to participate.

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Basically, he turned hating each other into a game. Kevin would tell the camper that he was going to sneak in his room and at night and put a snake under his pillow. This camper would light up and reply with some demonic plan of putting the snake in Kevin’s ear. All the while they both had a absolute blast and took great joy in pretending to hate each other. It’s apparently a great way to bond. This camper gave Kevin this back tattoo during an activity called tattoo parlor.

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After a rough first night, one of our campers (in purple) decided to leave on the second day. Her friends and counselors were very supportive and understanding.

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This was probably the longest meltdown I witnessed. She was up in the tree in the ropes coarse for about 30 minutes singing/yelling “I’m gonna climb up”.

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Here is my other favorite camper/counselor pair. This camper was a runner. He never stopped running all week. Malcolm, his counselor, found a great way to keep him in check. Any time he yelled “Check in”, this camper would come running from wherever he was and touch Malcolm’s hand.
Also any time there was a microphone on this camper would run up to it and start beat boxing into it. I think Malcolm taught him about that too.

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“Goldilocks” was a great fortune teller.

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One of the favorite camp games was “dead fish” Everyone lies on their back and tries not to move/flinch/laugh while one person walks around trying to get someone to crack. Once you get someone, they are on your team and so on until there is only one person left lying.

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Another of my favs. This kid knew everything about animals and loved them all… Especially snakes. He only trusted scientifically proven facts. During the opening night after the ‘Dragonfly Story’ (the mythical story of the origins of the camp), he raised his hand and said. “Um, how would that story hold up in the court of law? Is there any scientific evidence to back any of this?”

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Will, Kristen and my brother, Justin all came out and worked as counselors.

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Sylvia, my brother’s girl friend, runs the autism week at camp. She is the one who got us all hired.

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Sylvia takes a harsh crotch punch from Will’s camper.

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School of Rock!

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These guys are twins with Autism. They also both suffer from a disorder that effects their muscles.

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Consequently, they use people as furniture a lot.

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Red Carpet night.

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