Here is a throwback to 2020 Route 8 rivalry game photos including plenty of band photos too.
Not only is football season kicking off Friday, but so is marching band season. Franklin hosts Titusville and The Black Knight Marching Band will start off the game with the National Anthem, form a tunnel for the team to enter the 2023 football season and debut their halftime show.
Here is a throwback to 2020 Route 8 rivalry game photos including plenty of band photos too.
Editor's note: In 2020 we thought we lost a lot of our photographs when our computer went belly-up. A genius of a computer repairman not only restored out computer, but saved all our files. So as we save and look through our old files we will begin sharing them with our readers again.
Below are other members of the association
The photo above is one of my favorites from 2022.
It was made with my cellphone while walking away from the Cochranton Fairgrounds after documenting gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano's visit this summer. This couple had attended to hear what he had to say and I ended up behind them as they were heading back to their car. I saw them holding hands and made a couple frames as they strolled over the walking bridge. The starburst from the sun was an added bonus.
Every year photojournalists around the world share a selection of images they made over the course of the last 12 months. We do this as a breath and as a time to evaluate what we're doing and how we're doing it. We do it to share with our readers and colleagues to emphasize that being a witness is important.
Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised at all the things we captured and the way we captured them. Some years we knock it out of the park and other years our eye and reflexes might not have been quite as keen.
This year, I wouldn't call stellar in terms of portfolio possibilities, but boy did I cover a lot of things. As I look at all these images I remind myself I am witness to life around me and the images I make, whether they are portfolio worthy or not are important documents of our time and the people and places that I capture ina fraction of a second.
Below is a selection of images from 2022 that are in this collection either because I just like them or there was something important that I was witness to and captured.
This was quite a politically charged year across the country. The Supreme Court overturning 50 years of precedent and taking the Roe v. Wade federal protection with it appeared to shape the election year, in part, like a line drawn in the sand.
It certainly seemed to energize the Democrats. And moderates in Pennsylvania began leaning slightly left with the eventual election of John Fetterman to the United States Senate and Josh Shapiro as Governor.
But as with every election, while debates raged on social media, in print and television news outlets, and between candidates themselves, life in our communities went on. All of us with varied political, religious and ideological stances form the community we live and events we enjoy.
No place shows this better than local fairs. The below photo, from the Rocky Grove Fireman's Fair, has so much of the makeup of the community all in one shot. At the time of taking this, I thought it was the best image I had made in a long time. A snapshot (pardon the pun) of how we each live our lives - separate yet together. And it has a "flying" carny making it all the better.
Little moments where we're in a crowd, in public, yet within that connection to each other, we are still ourselves, with our people. Somehow we can still be in a little bubble where it is just a singular connection with someone for a moment.
I love being able to capture those little connections that go by us in a blink of an eye.
I also love capturing those moments that are constant. Some of our neighbors wear their lives on their sleeves. Martha Heisse loves music and theater and dedicates what seems like every breath she breathes to teaching young people about the joy of performance. She is a community gem and one I love capturing as her passion bubbles out everywhere. I love it, even more, when I can capture how her students begin to understand and embrace what she is teaching.
I am also very fortunate to be invited to witness what could seem mundane to those not directly involved. If we take the time to look, read and reflect, we realize these moments are connections to like experiences and memories.
If we just pay attention and learn, even a simple opening of a spoiled class time capsule can show a bit of who we are as a community.
And Scouts retiring flags can teach us a lot more than the proper way to dispose of our nation's symbol, but also the changing landscape of our communities. If we look over the years we see fewer scouts getting involved and doing the work. In fact, the final Scout troop in the Franklin area, with only three who attended June's retirement ceremony, no longer exists.
Who might pick up the slack to do what is needed? Are these service organizations a thing of the past? Is there a next great thing for youth? These are questions, if we truly analyze what we're seeing, that these photographs pose.
Believe it or not, these are things that I think of constantly as I go about documenting and telling stories about the community. They often lead to more stories.
I admit to being drawn to children at events, especially when I see them engaging with adults and adults giving them the respect of teaching valuable lessons. Perhaps it was my relationships with my grandparents and many older people growing up, but every time I photograph old and young coming together for a common bond I think of my own childhood and how those connections shaped who I am today.
And the teachers and coaches I had too. Both good and bad. I often think of my "bad" coaches who taught me two very important key lessons. One - humility. I felt cheated in a sense, but have come to know that if I listened more, perhaps I would've grown more. And two - be a better coach/teacher than they were. The teachers and coaches I respected the most really took the time to explain the why behind the how so I could excel even further in time.
Mostly, while covering community stories I enter with a clear mind and do my best to observe without preconceptions. "Try" is the key word. It is hard to not have some thoughts going in, but I find I do my best work overall when I enter the assignment about as dumb as moss. My hope is to exit the experience knowing something I didn't know or meet someone I had never before met.
In the end, my goal is to record little moments of life that people relate to and then, hopefully, self-reflect.
Like a skipping jokester teenage football player on senior night.
How self-devotion guides us.
Inspiration lifts us.
Skill lets us shine.
Battles of will test us.
Acknowledging we are not doing this alone.
We are playful.
The "what ifs" that come up unexpectedly.
Giving it you're all.
Knowing that people have your back.
Toughness and guts.
Keeping an eye on the ball.
Understanding life happens despite our self-importance.
Teamwork and stepping up.
Taking a needed timeout.
Expressing ever inch of yourself at once.
Being part of something greater.
Courage to be the only one with the vision to see.
Knowing that someone is helping you all the way.
Giving and giving, but taking a break to receive.
There is honor.
There is rest.
There is uniqueness.
We are challenged and then move on.
And we make breakthroughs.
And in the end we know what is important.
And who makes us better.
That we all have a story.
That we share this spinning rock in space.
And that rock is worth saving.
There are memories to be made.
There may be bumps.
But we build and learn together.
We can be the light.
Even when we are opposite, we are still the same.
The world community is small.
We can honor.
Try to hold on.
Thank you all for a very active and interesting 2022.
Life I get. Death I do not.
This past weekend I learned we lost two local folks who I have come to slightly know in my work as a journalist. It is easy sometimes, looking at obituaries in the few newspapers that remain, to just gloss over them because we don't know who the people are really. But each one of those head and shoulders photographs has many who know them, love them and will miss them. They mourn and will forever be at a loss without them.
I lost my grandmother Sayer thirty years ago and it dawned on me today that, though she is still with me in the lessons she taught when I was smart enough to listen, I have lived more years without her than I did with her.
The understanding I have thinking of this is less than the distance between my thumb and forefinger pressed as tightly together as I can.
I understand life. Death I do not.
Last year I photographed a young Oil City man named Aaron McCracken. A jovial young man who had obviously been through hell, but still came out to the edge of the river to participate in something he loved, with a family he was born into and another he earned. The annual Rock in River stone skipping contest was a place Aaron made his mark with the nickname "The Kracken."
I truly didn't know him, I simply snapped a few photos of him throwing rocks and last year, after going through several bouts of chemotherapy, he tossed a couple whoppers and ended up in second place. In fact, his one throw of 46 skips was the best of any previous Rock in River champion. Unfortunately, another competitor that day blew the record away with a monster toss of over 50.
Tributes from the rock-skipping family poured over social media Sunday and Monday.
"I'm not sure I have the words for this one...." wrote Dave Ohmer, a multiple Rock in River champion. "...The world lost another great personality. It's rare to find individuals like Aaron McCracken and when they pass on, they really do leave the world a darker place....his smile was contagious, and genuine always. His nature was undeniably good."
I understand life. Death I do not.
The other loss I read about this weekend was James Reavis. He was a man I came to know as someone who always had something positive to say. I'll admit to several times saying hello and not truly knowing who he was, but his facial expressions in saying hello was infectious and like that of a family member.
He stopped me one time to tell me nice things about what I was doing for the community while I was still working at the Derrick and News-Herald. He was genuine and I appreciate that he took a moment to say hello and engage me for no other reason but to say thank you. When I was laid off and started doing what I do now, he came to me with concern and offered to help me in any way he could. He truly loved the community he was helping to build.
Again, I barely knew him, he barely knew me, but we shared the bond of love of community. And his kindness I will never forget. I will continue to see him as I document his children in the community as they make their difference in the world to honor their father and mother Jessie, who has been equally gracious to me even when I took a picture she didn't find very flattering.
I understand life. Death I do not.
My heart goes out to these two families and the community has lost a lot this weekend, but hopefully gained in the long run from the lives of these two. They have given of themselves so that our lives could be better.
We receive a message today on a very old post. Usually when these messages come in on a post that is several years old they are spammers, this one most certainly is not a spammer.
It is from a husband who misses his wife. And his daughter
Several years ago I did an art/storytelling project on local "superheroes." As it turned out the series ended up being about women's strength. In total I worked with 12 local women in Crawford County where they told of their story and what superhero they would be. We then created stylized portraits of their superhero.
Some were based on classic characters and some became made up depictions of their own personal creation. This was both a fun and powerful series.
So where do we begin?
They can help you remember..... honor
They can share something witnessed... beauty
So how do we do this?
Not everything is car on fire.
As student journalists a lot of your work will be in the controlled atmosphere of your school, you are likely to know your subjects and they are likely to be uncooperative in that they will horse around.
Remember it is more important to tell a storing in a compelling way than it is to simply take a picture or write what someone tells you to write.
A moment is much more interesting than a set-up.
There is nothing wrong with the picture above, but that's one for your wall or refrigerator or some future social media story memory. Only the people in this photograph and their friends and family will care.
But this is a story to tell. Something people can relate to and be interested in reading what is going on.
Remember life isn't happening because of cameras, cameras were invented because life is happening.
So show life!
So some nuts and bolts:
What makes a good compelling storytelling photograph?
Try to document life as it is being played out. Don’t set anything up. Never ask someone to do something again. Make the best photograph that you can that is real not staged, controlled or posed.
You will miss more than you get. That's photojournalism.
Always jump in headfirst on your assignments.
Remember to breathe, step back and reassess if its not going well
Don't snap to judgement - listen and tell their story
Reflect on your work and learn from it
If you need to - ask for help in anyway you can
Don't get a big head - your next assignment will humble you - I promise
Protect yourself some assignments are dangerous to self and equipment
Don't be snooty with others, learn from everyone
Bear with me I'm almost done
Don't crash and burn out - if somethings not working try something else
Sit down if you need to and maybe you'll see things differently
Most important - have fun
Oh ... and wear sunscreen.
In March of 2020 I called back to the Oil City Derrick from my assignment. I had called saying I was feeling uneasy about possible exposure but was told to come back anyway.
At that point I knew what was coming.
I had done two assignments that morning and even though I was told to come find my editor when I returned, I went to my "photo cave" to file my assignments. It wasn't the fault of the subjects I just talked with and photographed that I was getting laid off.
So I finished my work, arranged my desk, even burned a disc or two of work I wanted to archive before going to see the editor.
Yep, I was right. laid off!
As I sat in the office I had already decided I would start
Eight & 322.
Two days later I published my first story even though I hadn't really created a website yet.
Now we're in 2022 at the end of October and I'm still here
I was told that one reason I was being laid off came down to versatility. It was perceived that I was just a photographer and they needed people to report and write stories.
The thought process must have been a writer can take a picture, but a photographer can't write?
The results are the photos in the paper are not very good and I'm writing better and better everyday.
The point I'm making in this is - the only limitations you have are from within.
There are road blocks a plenty in your future. How do you over come them?
So let's talk about a few ways to get yourself prepared for those roadblocks or even better - the opportunities when they present themselves.
Let's start with a few question:
Things you should consider studying sooner than later to improve as student journalists:
This is where you come in.
You, as young people who are going to school have a great opportunity to cut your teeth, learn some skills and be a productive set of eyes and ears for your community.
You can tell the stories of your communty and get them out there, Newspapers and news agencies are hungry for well written and documented content. You can provide that for your community even if your community is your school
Write about your school and send your stories to the local outlets.
if there’s a story that you don’t know how to approach - ask a professional - most writers, photographers and editors that I know will have time for you.
Don't be discouraged by the curmudgeons.
Seek out those that have a true hard love for journalism and ask for their advice.
We need young people in this profession to revolutionize how news will be delivered in the future.
We need you to get out there with strong ethical standards and utilize the platforms that old guys can’t even wrap their brain around We don’t even know how to spell TicToc correctly.
There’s never been a more important time for young people to get involved in journalism than right now.
But we need you to learn how to do it ethically so when you revolutionize the way journalism and storytelling is going to be presented in the future, it will be done for the right reasons.
So, what do you need to do to be those revolutionaries?
We need young people to come into this profession and revolutionize how storytelling is going to be done in the future. But we need you to also maintain the integrity of journalism.
This past week the tables were turned on me and I became the person answering - not asking the questions. Michael David Hull of The Raw Image, a growing blog and YouTube channel featuring interviews with Northwest Pennsylvania creatives asked if he could do a story on me and we spent the better part of an evening last week hanging out and talking.
Many things came up and I guess in 56 years on this spinning ball I have plenty of stories to tell. He managed to squeeze a lot of them down into under 14 minutes and I am honored that he took the time and energy to make this video that I hope has some informative insights for others.
It's been shared around on social media and I thought putting here would be a good way to archive it on my platform as well. This part of my website was simply called "Old Blog" because it was primarily pre-Eight & 322 though a few more recent posts have made their way here. I didn't know where else to put some of them them.
Then I remembered the old blog I did at The Derrick called "The Photo Dude" and I brought that back. The name came about from fun exchanges on the job where folks would call me "the photo guy" or "Photo man." I would just jokingly reply... "I prefer Photo Dude," and they would usually laugh.
Thanks again Michael, I will be doing a story in the near future on his endeavor of introducing us all to artist living in northwestern Pennsylvania.
As the photo of my friend Sheila Boughner's last day at The Derrick six years ago popped up on my Facebook memories today, I thought I need to shut these memories off. I get reminded of loss all too often. My old pups keep popping up, days I lost important people in my life and so on. My friend has since died as a result of a terrible accident This memory of her last day popping up today was weird because she was so much on my mind yesterday as I talked with her replacement in the job she left the Derrick to go do.
So I started out this day a little sad thinking of turning off memories on social media, but then I thought, thank god for memories. What would we have really without them? Our past would fade, people's lives would disappear and what good would that do? What a powerful thing to be reminded to feel.
I miss my brilliant friend who I didn't get nearly enough time with. So thank you Facebook for reminding me of a very special day when Sheila chose to have a goodbye beer with me in the basement bar of The Franklin (because it wasn't far from her home.) We talked about newspaper writing and the future of the craft, but more importantly, we talked about the fear of the unknown that lies ahead. She was scared to death of her new job and feared she was in over her head. She, of course, was not. She always told me how she is a one beer gal, but on this day of celebration for her moving on, she ordered a second beer. This was a somewhat hefty scotch ale and I think the alcohol content was a tad more than her usual, so she did not finish it,. She did however enjoy it fully. As I did our conversation.
Also in memories today from seven years ago was an unfinished poem I wrote. I know I wrote this a year to the day before my friend left the paper, but reading it today, right after seeing her face with a bit of a beer buzz glossy smile, I couldn't help thinking that memories are telling me I wrote this poem for her as a gift on her last day.
I wish I thought to give it to her.
I never titled it until today
A sunset for Sheila
Hey look out that window,
see that sky?
I painted that for you.
It came to me in a horse bridled in innocence, swiftly on the wings of lavender steel, with the water running over the rocks, the tide rolling in and fog.
It wrote itself in the stars moving up in the sky, the branch breaking in the wind, with the jolt of a motorcycle engine starting three blocks away and scream of a girl trying to get away.
It came to me in a roadside sign with three flies on it, with high beams coming against me on the narrow dirt road And a glimmer of an eye I photographed not long ago…
The color in the upright of the sky that grows as to turn your head came to me in spring and it came to me in winter
It came to me in the backseat of a 57 Chevy, in a glimpse of hot pink underwear from a paparazzi's harsh flash and a flag-waving tea party type, in a monks chant, as a philosophy, as a fact, as an opinion,.
It came to me as a fish jumping up the river and a blind duck swimming down it, on my day off, and at work.
But I didn’t take the time to paint it then.
It was Daffodils poking up through the dead leads, a freshly mowed grass, history’s steel bridges on dirt roads, smoke rings from a fire off in the distance and pearls around a rich old woman’s neck.
That sky was up past my bedtime and before I rose to the day. So I painted it for you today.
Edited to correct a name
I remember several old timers response to the question, "How you doing today?"
"Well I woke up and checked the obituaries and I didn't see my name, so I'm doing OK!"
It's a funny way to look at life, I laugh every time somonee says it. I am always thankful they didn't find their name. When I was a kid I didn't realize how much that little joke was a two sided snark. Yes they were happy they didn't see their name, but they check the obits to see who they do know printed there.
I've reached that age.
COVID certainly hasn't helped. But people also die of other things besides COVID.
I've always had older friends. I grew up playing a sport where traditionally it is older folks who play. If you're young you really stand out. So I learned a long time ago how to say goodbye to friends
But it doesn't get easier.
When I started playing lawn bowls, everyone was old to me. I was only 12 when my dad took me into top level competitions including the National Open.
It was at a National Open where I met the guy on the right side of the picture above, and he became a life long friend.
George Schick was a young lawn bowler himself at the time - he was in his twenties. We played a triples game against each other where he was my counterpart playing lead. I was very respectful and I learned that I could pick up my opponents bowl and give it to them. Most of the old folks really appreciated it.
George did not. I handed him his bowl and called him Sir. Well this was the only time that this sweetheart of a man ever cursed out anyone I think. He laughed and said "don't call me sir ever again and I can pick up my own bowl!"
At twelve someone in their twenties was someone I'd call Mr. or sir, but George insisted I not call him anything else but George. He and his team beat us and George and I became great friends.
Now when I say he was a sweetheart of a man, I do not say this lightly. His handshake was like butter, his demeanor on the green was elegant, his delivery smooth and his voice was soft. This man was a model of how one should act on a bowling green and for that matter, in life.
For years we would compete and he would openly admit, I had his number. Other than that first game in the National Open, I'm not sure he ever beat me again. But George never wavered in his kindness or support for me. And I admired everything about him. He could also sing, trained opera sing. The Eastern Division hands down had the best national anthem in the whole country when George was around.
When this photo was taken, it was 1991. The only reason I remember the date is because that was the first year I won the right to represent my division in U.S. Championships. We played four round robins with the winners facing each other. It was actually a long grueling three days of playing in the hot Delaware sun. I will tell you the whole story because it is important to this story.
The four pictured each won the right to move to the final round robin on day three. When this photo was taken it was assumed that Skip Arculli (second from the right) would likely win. He was a multiple national champion and even won a world championship. George and I were thinking we'd likely play for second and local club bowler Dick Schiefelbein would likely come in last.
I had to play George first game and I really was on. I beat him soundly. Dick unexpectedly beat Skippy. I then had to play Skippy, who was obviously deflated and I managed to win. George bounced back and beat Dick. Then George beat Skippy which was a huge thrill for him as I played a tough game against Dick. It was a long game and George and Skippy finished their game. If I lost to Dick, there would be a three way tie and there would be play offs.
So George had a vested interest in Dick beating me.
Now this is where George's character really shows. I ended up winning. My family was there and it was really a big accomplishment for my family that I won this tournament. I was the first to win this honor.
I will never forget what happened next.
George, who was standing at the end watching started to walk up to me to shake my hand to congratulate me even though my winning meant we wouldn't have a playoff and his chance to win was gone, but instead of shaking my hand he said to me "no shake your dad's hand first."
Now my dad wouldn't have cared, but what a gesture. And George may have actually felt prouder than my dad at that moment. He was that kind of human.
A few years later I was given a gift.
George and I played with our friend Bob Urquhart in the Eastern Division triples. George may very well have held the record for Eastern Division Triples second place finishes up to that point.
He just couldn't quite get over the top.
I remember we joked about it as we entered and then won all of our games only to face the toughest team in theist in the finals .
Yep, we lost.
We didn't let that phase us so we teamed up again the next year and we ended up in the finals again.
For some reason fate did not want this wonderful man win this tournament.
We lost again to another tough team
I take blame, but so did George.I remember him playing brilliantly and we simply faced better opponents. I always wished we got one more shot at it. George had some physical problems that prevented him from playing the las 15 or 20 years.
I cannot tell you exactly when I saw him last other than it was when he and his wife, Marlene, showed up to a tournament in NJ years ago to watch with their beautiful kids.
He passed away last night.I really wish we played one more time and won that damn tournament together.
RIP my dear sweet friend who I truly wish I could give a hug right now and call sir!
This is a loss for the world who needs good people more than ever.
And, I'm tired of losing friends.