USA Women’s Field Hockey – Rio Olympics National Team – Lancaster County Magazine

The August issue of Lancaster County Magazine features Lancaster County’s own Jill Witmer & Alyssa Manley on the USA Women’s Field Hockey Team as they head to Rio, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympic games. This was exceptionally fun to photograph at Spooky Nook Sports. Gameplay is so fast paced and high energy at this extremely elite level which makes for incredibly fun photographing. Best of luck ladies, we’re with you all the way!

Check it out on newsstands now!

Lancaster County Magazine August 2016 Rio Olympic Games Women's Field Hockey Team

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery – Jordan Bush Photography

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery by Jordan Bush Photography.

Photographing at Arlington National Cemetery has been high on my list of things to do for a number of years. My close friends (and second photographer) Matt and Sarah Jordan lived in Arlington and last year we headed there bright and early on Memorial Day. I was particularly anxious for two reasons. For one, it brought back a flood of memories of my Grandpa who served in the US Navy from 1942-1962. I wore his watch that day, a 1963 Hamilton Storm King VII, given to him by his sister who worked at Hamilton in Lancaster, PA. Most of all, though, I was hoping to find the site of another close friend’s friend, to photograph it and bring back printed photographs for him.

Early that morning, President Obama’s motorcade was en route to the park, breaking the silence of an otherwise somber atmosphere. I was struck by the scale of it all, asking myself what the stories of all of these men and women might be. Among those, there were many unknown graves throughout the cemetery and a few where trees had grown up around the headstone, as if making it somehow all the more permanent. It was harrowing. What would these fallen soldiers think of the country we live in today? What they gave the rest of their lives for, and potentially the generations that were lost with them? Confederate soldiers joined those ranks, and from my northern perspective once touched deeply living in the south, I was moved by the inclusion of a brother who fought for his country, too. Not everyone in the park died in action but all gave their lives to serve. Endless views serve as reminders of the price our country has paid for so many freedoms, of speech, of religion, assembly, the right to vote for our leaders… Empty plots show the losses still to come.

As we walked through Arlington National Cemetery that morning, we saw a Vietnam veteran sitting against a headstone looking at another. I really wanted to photograph this man which I did so from afar, but wanted more. We approached the area he was in and he directly requested a photograph of him with his camera, which to my surprise was 35mm film. I put my 35mm camera down to meter with my DSLR, dialing the settings in on his to be certain it turned out. He flew Israel where he now lives to spend time with his Sergeant, something he said is an annual event. He mentioned his Sergeant was from Pennsylvania, and of all places in the world, he, too, was from Lancaster. I wonder if Sergeant Joseph Eugene Jackson’s family knows the story of this man who comes to the United States every year to visit him. My own curiosity grew and, to my amazement, this is what I found:

Joseph Eugene Jackson (June 23, 1938 to January 27, 1966) was from Lancaster, PA. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a rifleman with 3rd Marine Division, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, B Company. As a young man, Joseph was in a Lancaster, PA, based quartet, “The Hambones.” Their name is derived from the style of singing and the rhythm kept with clapping, which you can watch here from Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour on May 29, 1954 (the web host has since been discontinued, I have been unable to find another source. If you have better luck, please add the link to the comments below).

His obituary found in a Special to The Philadelphia Inquirer on January 29, 1966:
“LANCASTER, Pa., January 28.- Marine Sgt. Joseph Jackson, who three months ago publicly appealed to Lancaster area residents for bandages and medical supplies for Vietnamese civilians, was killed Thursday in the Chu Lai area when he was struck by a mortar shell.
His mother, Mrs. Eric Stewart, of 523 Woodward st., was notified officially Thursday by the Defense Department of Sgt. Jackson’s death. A graduate of McCaskey High School, Sgt. Jackson enlisted in 1957. His body will be brought to the United States for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.”

Years ago, I found a memorial page to one of the destroyers my Grandpa served on during his service, the U.S.S. Kenneth D. Bailey. I left a post and was too overwhelmed by the responses of his ship mates to know how to reply. There are many who don’t have grandchildren to remember their legacy and a price paid most of us cannot begin to imagine. This Memorial Day, I encourage you all to remember with me.

Best Photographs of 2015 – Jordan Bush Photography

At the start of 2016, a new year approaches, which will be sure to bring new adventures, stories, challenges, and photographs. Throughout the year, I’m always looking closely at individual images and projects, and find tremendous value in looking back at the greater picture, considering the forrest and not only the trees. It helps to get a sense of what I’m most proud of, the work that has been accomplished, lives that have been touched, the stories that have been captured, and where I can improve. Perhaps most of all, it underscores the amazing people and places I’ve gotten to visit throughout the year. 2016 will have just as many of those, and for that I’m grateful. Thanks to all who made 2015 a great year, and to those along for the ride this year!

Jordan Bush Photography Best of 2016

Teaching Photography in Kenya Curriculum Distance Learning Critique

A contact sheet of Violet's photographs from a home visit - April 2015.

Starting a Photography Program in Kenya, Part 9 – Distance Learning

There are very few “new” things in life, and I’ve been told that starting this photography program in Kenya is one of them. I don’t know if that’s totally true but in my life, and what little I know of what is going on in Africa as a whole, it makes sense to me. I have been busy with the balance of maintaining my commercial and event photography with developing training for the photography program and a long shot application for a grant to better support growing the program. Writing specific curriculum for a broader photography program that includes more students is at the top of my to do list, no small task for sure. Thankfully I have one educator friend who is willing to help with that challenge, and I’m anxious to get started, realizing I have probably a naive underestimation of what is required to complete that task. There are times this seems impossibly ambitious, but at the same time, it’s a reality, and in one way or another, this is working.

The past couple of weeks have also included meeting with Dorothy and Elina on multiple occasions as Elina prepares to travel to Alendu in continued supporting the program. Because of Violet’s drive, dedication, and broad language skills, she has become the primary focus of the program, with the goal of having her become a mentor as we train additional students. I have been reviewing Violet’s images and progress as both have been coming back in a wild array of forms, from What’s App messages to emails, phone calls, CDs, and thumb drives. Elina has been gracious enough to bring a few books, photojournalism examples, letters, and updated curriculum materials to the village. I’ve created a list of simple questions to regularly track progress and see what topics need reinforcement, to learn the local mindset so we know better how to provide support now, as well as in the future. I’m eager to follow the trip and get more feedback from Elina first hand, as well as Violet. It’s a learning process for all of us, myself (especially) included but I know they are both going to do especially well!

Teaching Photography in Kenya Curriculum Distance Learning Critique

A contact sheet of Violet’s photographs from a home visit – April 2015.

Teaching Photography in Kenya Curriculum Distance Learning

Teaching materials, letters and progress reports for the program.

 

 

IMG_4636

Dorothy & Elina meet in Lancaster, PA, before Elina’s trip to Alendu, Kenya in July 2015 to support the photography program.

 

 

 

Elina is getting ready to depart for her trip, and if you’re interested in learning more about her project, you can follow her at Elina Hope Photography on Facebook. Part Eight – Meet Elina in this series also talks more about her work. Good luck Elina, thank you for joining us in this project and we all look forward to sharing in your journey!

 

As the photography project has come to life in Kenya, check out:

Building a Photography Curriculum in Kenya with Rafiki Africa – Part One.

Building a Photography Program in Kenya – Part Two.

Part Three – Staying the Course.

Part Four – The Journey Begins.

Part Five – Teaching Photography in Kenya, The First Week: The African Experience

Part Six – Teaching Photography in Kenya – Meet Violet

Part Seven – Living a Legacy: Daniel Mast & the Rafiki Africa Photography Program

Part Eight – A New Instructor Goes to Kenya! Meet Elina!

Part Ten – Visiting Benta’s Home with the Photography Students in Kenya – Coming Soon!

Meet Elina – A New Instructor Goes to Kenya – Building a Photography Program in Africa – Part 8

I’m very excited for the next development in the photography program in Kenya. An education team will be traveling to Alendu to work with LightHouse Academy students in July, and one of the travelers will be working with the photography students! Elina is a remarkable young lady, and while this will be her first trip to Kenya, it will not be her first international trip. She was adopted from the Ukraine, where she later spent some time living there with her family, and is herself a growing photographer. Elina possesses working knowledge that will be of great benefit to the students, from photography, business, social skills, English as a second/third language, and beyond. She will turn sixteen years young the day before her departure, and will spend just over a week working with the students.

IMG_4636

From conversing Elina with Dorothy together, I realized how far we’ve come in a very short period of time. All of the lessons we could share with her were entirely foreign just a few months ago, and often came with a great deal of hard work, even struggle, but also success. Like anything new and ambitious, this time will not be without challenge. I know from personal experience that the cultural changes alone are enough to emotionally and mentally drain visitors. Elina has the fantastic advantage of working with Violet & Daisy with a foundation already built, and I cannot wait to see the cultivation of her trip bear fruit. Throughout Elina’s trip, some of her objectives are as follows:

-Find out where the students are at with what topics they feel confident about, are challenged by, enjoy, and what they want to learn more about.
-Build on their foundation, using the two new Intro to Digital Photography books when possible to answer their questions. This will help them learn how to research using the materials they have to answer their own questions. Independence is key.
-Document what is surprising about the project, opportunities for support/growth, challenges.
-Discuss with other team members which traits for future students in the program should be identified, and how.
-Take as many photographs as possible.
-Have fun!

I am especially interested to hear how the students take to working with Elina. As the girls are very close in age, I’m hoping they connect on a more personal level, helping the students develop beyond the photography component. From language skills to personal growth, Elina is in a unique position to connect and walk with them on their journey. My connection with the students has been that of a professor to student, quite formal, serious and focused. It is important that they understand the gravity of the opportunity they have, but also to develop passion for the craft as something they can enjoy, express themselves and create. There is a delicate balance between pouring out creatively on a project, and being fulfilled through the same means. I’ve balanced personal projects with my professional work and find center is a moving target. Often, when I feel technically at my best, I’m also the most drained creatively on account of focusing more on skill than passion As art programs are a truly foreign idea to these students, it will be intriguing to watch the students flourish and expand their ability to communicate. Choosing students who have the right combination of focus, skills and creativity is also a challenge, a point of interest we are keeping in mind for new applicants.

Elina is working on raising funds for her travel, and if you’re interested in learning more about her project, you can follow her at Elina Hope Photography on Facebook. Good luck Elina, thank you for joining us in this project and we all look forward to sharing in your journey!

As the photography project has come to life in Kenya, check out:

Building a Photography Curriculum in Kenya with Rafiki Africa – Part One.

Building a Photography Program in Kenya – Part Two.

Part Three – Staying the Course.

Part Four – The Journey Begins.

Part Five – Teaching Photography in Kenya, The First Week: The African Experience

Part Six – Teaching Photography in Kenya – Meet Violet

Part Seven – Living a Legacy: Daniel Mast & the Rafiki Africa Photography Program

Part Eight – A New Instructor Goes to Kenya! Meet Elina!

Part Nine – Distance Learning

Part Ten – Visiting Benta’s Home with the Photography Students in Kenya – Coming Soon!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.36.37 AM

1972 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. © Daniel Mast 2009.

Living a Legacy: Daniel Mast & the Rafiki Africa Photography Program – Part 7

One of the most personal aspects of starting the photography program has been the involvement of Daniel Mast and his wife Rebecca. May 21st, 2015, unbelievably marks two years since his passing, and the Masts are foundational in helping this program succeed in overcoming many early challenges. His fingerprints are all over this project, down to the green Toyota Land Cruiser that drove us around Kenya. Daniel had a nearly identical vehicle, a 1972 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, that he restored and loved to take off road with Rebecca.

**Updated Thursday, May 21 @ 4:45 PM**

Daniel​ was always the first one I’d talk to about all things photography and often times, just life. Whether it was a tough day on the job, one of us learned something cool, if there was a new Nikon or Apple update, without a doubt we were talking about it. He cared about the integrity of the craft of photography, something I’ve struggled with a lot and especially since his passing.

The hardest days I’ve had with a camera were either in his absence or photographing challenging subjects in Kenya or India like poverty, leprosy, family loss, and they’ve all come after his passing, when I know he’d be there to push me forward because he was strong enough to. I’ve found a new level of empathy and solidarity with those who have lost a close one, but I’d give it back to not have to miss him. People mention him to me at a job when I’m in the middle of photographing or packing up, and it still catches me off guard. Some know we were close, others wonder if we knew each other.

I didn’t want to spill my guts on the blog and take away from Rebecca Mast​’s words, but I find myself with a lot to say and even more on my mind today. It was a sunny day when he died, and by the way I found out, I came to understand he was just injured quite seriously, which wasn’t the case. Zack B Arias​ called me and I thought it was about another project, but even he heard about Daniel’s passing and realized we were friends.

There have been many hard days when I miss his friendship, and because everything we did was so similar, our approach, cameras, equipment, I’m reminded of him in everything I do. That’s one of his many gifts to me. I know I’m not alone in saying this, but I have felt very alone on my very atypical path since his passing. For the first year at least, I could just barely make it through a shoot without breaking down. It took all I had to keep my composure and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Some of you saw it and were there to help me through it. Working alone has felt so empty.

For me, this photography project in Kenya is the most significant thing I have participated in in my 30 years, and it is both exciting and naively ambitious. It feels very new in a world where few ideas are truly new. There is no one I’d rather have to help build the photography side of it than Daniel, and thanks in large part to Rebecca, that is still possible. It was remarkably difficult to leave his camera there in Alendu, Kenya, not because it didn’t belong there, but because personally it felt like another step forward, a means of letting go of something literal, something I’ve felt the need to protect. But in reality, it’s a new chapter of his legacy, and it is bringing hope realized in Africa.

********

Written by Rebecca Mast, April 3, 2015:

“Leaving a Legacy: It is coming up on two years without Daniel’s presence and love in our lives. The ache and grief of his absence is so different from those first few months, but the loss is no less.

Daniel Mast
These past few weeks I have found purpose and direction in regards to how to continue Dan’s dreams and goals when he set out to become a photographer. I had been struggling with what to do with his photography equipment. It’s never felt right to sell it and I’ve always intended to keep and use some of it – both for the kids down the road and for my own memories of learning that skill beside him – but I have no intention of becoming a wedding photographer and not really any intention of using this equipment for income. So the volume of stuff has haunted me – I don’t need it but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Jordan had shared with me his plans for the trip to Kenya; but it took me weeks before I actually looked at the blog post and was struck with certainty that I needed to respond. I called him – not really sure of what I was going to do. During the course of the conversation I suddenly had incredible clarity and peace. Dan would have been going with him if he was alive and able to do so. I’m sending a camera, and anything else I can convince Jordan to take with him.

This was Dan’s mission, his dream, his passion – for his work to be more than just putting food on the table and a roof over our heads (though that was important and valuable). He wanted to be successful with photography in a way that enabled him to give back – to use his gifts to tell a story that mattered – to bring hope and light into darkness. We never reached that point while he was here – but I can send what I have, what he left behind, in his stead.

Jordan’s story is in a link in the comments. Follow him with prayer and encouragement. He’s carrying a piece of our dreams and a fulfillment of a purpose and mission that was cut way too short.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 1.42.34 PM

 

Toyota Land Cruiser Kenya

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.36.37 AM

1972 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. © Daniel Mast 2009.

© Jordan Bush 2015

Violet photographing at LightHouse Academy with Daisy (right) watching.

Teaching Photography in Kenya – Meet Violet – Part Six

There are many updates to report and as life calms down, I can think of none more important to begin with than for you to meet one of the photography students I’ve had the humbling opportunity to work with over the past few weeks.

Violet, 17, has had a journey long full of challenges and successes. She is the third eldest of ten children, and at the age of six she lost her biological mother. Her father remarried and in total, there are twelve in her family. Their household relies on river water for drinking, has a separate kitchen from the main house, and the ten children all share one room. Luxuries such as electricity, transportation, internet access, and even a latrine, are all foreign concepts. I’ve learned that challenges often push people in one of two ways, either towards giving up or towards greater success. Violet is one who has embraced the latter. She is fluent in English, Swahili, and Luo, has strong interpersonal skills, yet has not quite been able to finish high school after three attempts.  One one attempt, she paid her high school fees but her family would not cover her transportation to move to school, so with a bag in one hand and a suitcase balanced on her head, she went on foot without asking for help. She recently enrolled herself in a basic computer class in a nearby town which she has paid for herself, giving her confidence to begin developing skills in the digital world.

© Jordan Bush 2015

Violet photographing at LightHouse Academy with Daisy (right) watching.

© Jordan Bush 2015

Violet’s family at their home, Alendu, Kenya (one brother is absent).

© Jordan Bush 2015

Violet’s Home, Alendu, Kenya.

I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone with an appetite to learn and succeed as much as Violet possesses. Her questions are usually two steps ahead of where we are learning. When I introduced the educational resources we have available to the students, she absolutely begged me to borrow a book. She goes home every night after her classes to help with chores at home, and spends the rest of the night reading by paraffin lamp. She tried to get through a 300+ page book in a night, taking notes diligently, and again begging to read another night, which tells me she either fell asleep reading or ran out of paraffin to burn in her lamp.

© Jordan Bush 2015

Violet & Daisy work on importing & downloading photographs from a recent shoot on their donated MacBooks. Older technology has tremendous value in this program.

Violet is the kind of person who is cut out for photography, and I’ll be as specific as saying she’s cut out for photojournalism. She has an incredible understanding of overcoming challenges, something photojournalism requires and even centers on. She asks meaningful questions relentlessly and isn’t afraid of interacting with others. Her language skills are absolutely enviable. Violet knows that this is her greatest opportunity and she acts on it consistently. Her notes are incredibly thorough, detailed, and full of highlighted questions as well as pointers. In about two weeks she was already cognizant of where light was coming from in every environment. Her favorite subject to photograph has been home visits in the community, to meet people, tell their stories of hardships and successes. Home visits will be their primary responsibility for Rafiki Africa Foundation, to help update and find additional sponsors for other students of LightHouse Academy. As her journey comes full circle, Violet herself was a student at LHA from kindergarten through eighth grade, and then into high school, an opportunity made possible by a sponsor. She worked as an aid at LightHouse Academy which she used to pay for her computer classes. Now that she is in the photography program, her sponsorship that comes to Rafiki will be helping to support Violet.

Photography School Kenya Rafiki Africa Foundation Jordan Bush_005

Daisy, Violet & Jordan on the last day of teaching in the first course of Rafiki Africa Foundation’s new photography program in Kenya.

 

Violet has on more than one occasion requested to arrive early or stay late, to sneak one more shoot in, to ask just one more question. I am quite sad I only had three weeks in person with the students this trip but we are already planning others. We intend to email regularly and they have assignments each week, as well as books and other resources to study. She understood the magnitude of what was going on as she learned, as she was introduced to the resources many of you helped provide. Old MacBooks and cameras, hard drives, books, have made a tremendous difference. As they continue to grow, so will their needs, but they are already getting a reputation in the area for being able to photograph. I myself have learned a great deal from this experience, from Violet especially. It was hard watching them round the corner on the last day as they headed home, though I know I’ll see them again. Unexpectedly and almost equally as hard was leaving Daniel’s camera behind. To a selfish extent, it felt like I was leaving a piece of him, but I can think of no better community for his legacy to continue on.

Daisy took two motor bikes home at 50 kSh each and transit at 100 since it was late. Usually she walks...

The last day. Class went late, Violet had to cross the river after a raging storm while Daisy took two motor bikes then public transit home for safety, a distance she normally walks.

 

There’s no one better to express that thanks than the students themselves. In the video below, Daisy (left) will speak in Luo, Violet in Swahili, and Roger will speak in English just to mix it up.