Rubatosis

I have always enjoyed visiting new places and, more or less, living life by the seat of my pants, but I’m happy to to stop, breathe and take in the sights… for once.

I drove through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California last month, enroute to Washington after three years in Baton Rouge.

Sometimes when I’m driving, I can feel my heartbeat coming through my t shirt. It is soft and rhythmic. The feeling is unsettling. My own mortality is gently beating under a thin piece of cloth, wrapped in a couple layers of flesh, cruising across state lines at 80 mph as semi trucks and other death mobiles weave in and out of traffic for 3,000 miles.

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‘Very special people’

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here — although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”

~ President Donald Trump to two WWII veterans and Navajo code talkers Continue reading

Zydeco music: How I learned to love it

Louisiana is maybe one of the few places where the accordion is taken seriously, not merely as some kitsch novelty in a hipster band.

There was a comic from a while ago:

“Welcome to heaven,” an angel says to newly arrived souls. “Here’s your harp.” The panel below, “Welcome to hell, here’s your accordion.”

I really like the accordion, actually. It’s such a bizarre instrument. But like it or not, it’s hard to take seriously, unless you’re a big fan of traditional European polkas. It looks and sounds so goofy.

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Odds and Ends: My photos that didn’t quite make Instagram in 2016

I tried to do more photography than ever in 2016, and for the most part I think I succeeded.

I made a resolution to take more photographs of people that year. To be bolder. More in your face. To tell better stories with my photos. To be more concrete and less abstract.

Looking back I made good on that resolution. Many of my photos in 2016 are filled with people. Continue reading

After Alton

Thoughts on Alton Sterling, the shooting of Baton Rouge Police officers and the next steps forward.

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Nothing has been the same in Baton Rouge since the death of Alton Sterling.

The sadness and frustration has been everywhere. It could only have been made worse by the murder of three innocent Baton Rouge police officers less than two weeks later.

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Nihilism and nachos

I was feeling a little kooky the other night. So I filmed myself making ground beef nachos ​with nihilistic quotes.
I should mention, the ground beef was still mostly frozen when I started cooking this. (Good stuff though. Grass fed.) 

My attempt at keeping the ground beef in the pan was pretty futile. My ingredients were also somewhat depressing (cheese, beans, beef and corn chips), hence the nihilism.
Truthfully, I was feeling a little down when I made this. Somehow it made me feel better though.
Also the nachos made me feel better. Nachos always make me feel better. 

Expect my exposé on Baton Rouge’s nacho scene soon.

Patriarchs and equestrians

IMG_2334This summer I had the opportunity to follow a trail ride in Louisiana. Being a native-born Washingtonian who’s only lived in the South for a little more than a year, the experience was one of the most uniquely Southern things I’ve ever done.

I pitched this story to the editor of Country Roads Magazine earlier this fall and had my piece published, alongside the images of a local photographer who has also been documenting the trail riders, Jeremiah Ariaz. 

There is so much to say about the trail riders, especially from my own personal perspective, but alas, there is only so much room to write in a magazine. My piece details the history and culture of the trail ride, how it has modernized over time, and how it is, at its core, a family tradition.

Traveling in the dead of July in South Louisiana (easily 110 fahrenheit or higher), I rode in between convoy of horses, golf carts and pickups, taking photos and chatting up some of the riders. The thing that got me about the event was how paternal the tradition was. As I saw fathers, young and old, riding alongside their sons, I was reminded me of going to “fish camp” with my dad back in Washington state.

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