If someone had told me in journalism school — heck, even 12 months ago — that national newspapers would be calling me specifically to do portraits, I would have told you you were crazy. I can readily admit that I've always been incredibly mediocre at portraits. However, I've had lots of opportunities to improve and for that I am incredibly thankful. When you're uninspired, getting outside of your wheelhouse is always a good idea. I've been enjoying pushing myself to make new kinds of photos and while I've got a lot of growing to do, I'm pleased with where I'm headed.
Here are a few of my favorite portraits from various assigments over the last few months:
Caption info for those interested:
1: Former Kansas State University student, Crystal Stroup, in Hale Library. Stroup has only been on the KSU campus a handful of times since bringing a civil lawsuit against the university after being raped by a fellow student last year.
2: Katherine Kelly, the executive director and co-founder of Cultivate Kansas City, a small non-profit in Kansas City, Kan., stands in a greenhouse. Throughout her life, she has mostly worked in non-profits and has spent a great deal of her life uninsured. Kelly says, when ACA went into effect, "all of the sudden we had access to plans that were much better than anything we'd had before." With ACA, Cultivate KC is able to provide a stipend for employees that covers 80% of a silver healthcare plan through the marketplace. Should the new ACHA healthcare plan be implemented, a big worry for Kelly, who has been denied individual insurance due to a pre-existing condition, is that "all of us who all of the sudden had good health insurance went and dealt with problems that maybe we had been ignoring.. now you worry about them having access to that information and using it as as way to increase your costs." Being able to provide comprehensive, affordable coverage for her employees is a big goal for her and one that she fears may soon be unattainable.
3: (RIGHT) Katherine Kelly and (LEFT) Donnetta Raymond
4: Donetta Raymond, 63, in the union meeting room at SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001, in Wichita, Kan. Raymond was laid off from Spirit AeroSystems in mid-2013 and is part of a lawsuit against the company, alleging violations of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She's had it rough since the layoff and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat ovarian cancer.
5: Wichita Area Technical college student David St. Pierre with a Cessna CJ1 in Wichita, Kan. St. Pierre just completed an 18-month program at WATC to prepare him for a test to get a power plant license.
6: Sara Weckhorst, a junior social work major at Kansas State University, is filing a complaint that the university mishandled her rape cases in Manhattan, Kansas.
7: (RIGHT) Rep. James Todd in his nearly-emptied office at the State Capitol in Topeka, Kan. After a four-year tenure, Todd will be giving up his seat in January. (LEFT) Brett Parker, a teacher for Olathe public schools, at the Central Resource Library in Overland Park, Kan. Parker will fill Todd's seat in Kansas House District 29.
8 & 9: Peter Mallouk, founder of Creative Planning, one of fastest growing and largest wealth managers in the country, photographed in his office in Leawood, Kansas.