I use my camera to open a dialog between myself and my subjects in order to form relationships with and to learn more about the people I meet. My usual topics revolve around central themes of social discord, cultural exploration, and personal experiences. In this project, I approached my subjects in much the same way. However, unlike my usual subjects, this time I formed a relationship with a colony of feral cats in my own backyard.
For years I noticed these cats had become a recurring subject in my other bodies of work. In early 2014 I signed up for Instagram and began sharing images of the cats with friends. What began as a few images turned into a steady stream of photographs that focused on how individual cats interacted and how the colony struggled to survive illness, weather and life with each other. These images revealed the personalities expressed by each individual and how they function together as a colony. The work also became a way to promote Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs such as the one that helped us provide medical aid and birth control for the entire colony, free of charge.
Algoma is a city of about 3,000 people on Wisconsin’s shore of Lake Michigan. The area was first inhabited and named by Algonquin speaking people. The city is located on a natural harbor about 25 miles east of the city of Green Bay. Historically, Algoma played a key role in the origin of the Christmas Tree tradition now observed in the United States. In Fred Neuschel’s book about the early Christmas tree shipping industry, Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships, the description of Algoma is that of a town that relied heavily on the resources and transportation routes Lake Michigan provided. The lake continues to be an essential asset to the city as it draws people from as far away as South Dakota to fish her cool waters for many varieties of salmon and trout. This is in part due to Algoma being home to one of the largest sport fishing fleets on all of the Great Lakes. Besides sport fishing, Algoma is also a hub for vernacular art from the region, and home to Wisconsin’s oldest continuously running winery.
Blurb, 2011 – Currently out of print
Seeds of Hope began in 2010 as a joint project of the Green Bay Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, United Way, and several other organizations.
Seeds of Hope has two iterations, in the first was started in 2010 when people who were homeless and live in poverty in the great Green Bay, Wisconsin area were given cameras to photograph their perspective on poverty. The show opened near the end of 2010 at the Neville Public Museum and has since become a traveling exhibition. I came on-board during the second iteration of the project in 2012. In this version the photographers were area youth ranging in age from about 8 years of age to 18. They were selected to share their perspectives – either because they come from impoverished families or are close to those who are. My role was to act as an adviser to the youth, to photograph their portraits and record some of their personal stories.