Danny Wilcox Fraizer Workshop; “Fault Line: A Nation Divided”

During October 21-30th I was apart of an intensive documentary photography workshop with renowned photographer, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, at Central Michigan University. This workshop was titled “Fault Line: A Nation Divided,” and focused on exploring what has caused our society in the U.S. to be polarized and divided and communities that are working to build unity. Below is my story (which was finalized by myself, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, Kent Miller and a group of peers). There will be another post later explaining my experience, so look out for that. Enjoy!!

P.S. Thank you so much to the community of Mack Avenue Community Church for allowing me into your lives during this week, I am truly grateful.

Listen to this song while viewing photostory, it was presented to the public on the 30th with this audio addition. The song is sung in the Chruch during worship: “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins. This song was my inspiration for the mood and message of this photostory.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_UE7xgNOzM

“Going Block to Block, Neighbor by Neighbor”

Executive Pastor, Leon Stevenson, prays during his personal time in the sanctuary at Mack Avenue Community Church in Detroit on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.

On Saint Louis Street in Detroit resides Mack Alive, a community-based organization to help the East Detroit neighborhoods and citizens.

Executive Pastor, Leon Stevenson (center, green), addresses the Mack Avenue Community Church congregation about working together as a community to help each other succeed during the MACC Harvest Festival in Detroit, on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

The Egger Family, (left to right) Kristin (mother), Hazel (10 months), Silas (3 years), Dietrich (5 years), and Nate (father),gather together on the couch in their home in East Detroit after the kids got home from school on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. The Egger family has five children, three biological and two adopted.

Edythe Ford stands in her kitchen, that she is repairing, in her home in East Detroit on Friday, October 27, 2017. Edythe was awarded the Spirit of Detroit Award for her contributions and outreach in the community and neighborhood.

The Egger Family, (Clockwise) Kristin, Dietrich (10 months), Aoife (8 years), Nate, Hazel (10 months), Adelaide (7 years), and Silas (3 years) gather hands for prayer before dinner on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

The congregation of Mack Avenue Community Church participates in worship by signing songs before Sunday service begins on Sunday, October 22, 2017.

(left to right) Aoife (8 years), Kristin, Silas (3 years), Nate, Dietrich (5 years), and Adelaide (7 years) listen to “Fly Guy” before reading a passage from the Bible in preparation of bedtime in their home in East Detroit, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

(right to left) Kristin Egger sings “My Little Sunshine” to her daughter Hazel  (10 months) after her nightly ritual before laying her to sleep on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Hazel was born prematurely and has problems keeping food down, she has a tube in her stomach to help with feeding and has to go through breathing treatments as well.

Children participants of MACC Sports warm up before the final soccer games in Pingry Park in East Detroit on Saturday, October 28, 2017. MACC Sports is apart of the MACC Development, one of the many ways Mack Avenue Community Church engages with the neighborhood community and racial reconciliation.

The community of MACC is centered in East Detroit off Mack Avenue. The church works to build connectivity between residents of Pingry Park and Indian Villiage. While areas in East Detroit are starting to improve in living conditions, there are still parts that battle blight and abandonment.

Eydthe Ford leaves a neighbors house after a spontaneous visit while Edythe was out for a walk, on Friday, October 27, 2017. Edythe goes out around the neighborhood and takes photos of houses and yards that are falling apart or in need of repair, during her “Click, Send, Fix” initiative for the community.

Nate Egger brushes son, Silas’ (3 years) teeth before bedtime while daughter, Adelaide (7 years) and son, Dietrich (5 years) act silly behind him, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

Edythe Ford (left) and Paris Randolph (right) sit together in Randolph’s house in East Detroit during a spontaneous visit on Friday, October 27, 2017.

MACC Development also has a youth division, focusing on their young children in the neighborhood and their academics. During this time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, children in the neighborhood come together for afterschool for bible study, physical activity, and academic tutoring.This is one of the many ways Mack Avenue Community Church engages with the neighborhood community and racial reconciliation.

(left to right) Dietrich (5 years), Silas (3 years), Nate Egger (father), and Aoife (8 years), gather around the “Donut on a String” activity during the MACC Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The Harvest Festival was an initiative to bring the community and church members together for a family-friendly event and racial reconciliation.

*This photo essay was apart of a documentary photography workshop with renowned photographer, Danny Wilcox Fraizer, titled “Fault Line: A Nation Divided”*

Mack Avenue Community Church, located on the corner of Mack Avenue and Harding Street in East Detroit is a staple in the community. MACC works to build racial reconciliation in the community under the influence of God and  one of their mottos, “Block by Block, Neighbor by Neighbor.”

MACC is lead by two pastors, Executive Pastor and Pastor of Community Development, Leon Stevenson, and Lead Pastor, Eric Russ. They are also assisted by a group of Church Elders and a Director of Operations. MACC Vision Statment is, “seeing communities transformed both spiritually and physically starting with our own.”

MACC also hosts 5 Ministries, including outReach Detroit, MACC Groups, MACC Development, MACC Youth, and MACC Kids. outReach Detroit is described as (from their website), “Outreach is an expression of Christian (followers of Jesus Christ) servants caring for others with intentionality so that those who live in the city of Detroit may experience true life.” MACC works to build opportunities for children, the community members, and church members to grow individually and as a group both spiritually and physically.

Members of MACC that truly stand out for their outreach and acts by the word of the Bible are the Egger Family and Edythe Ford.

The Egger family has 5 children, 3 biological and 2 adopted. When asked why the need to adopt, Kristin Egger states, “It is a three-fold reason:”

1. Because of Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed; Take up the cause of the orphan; plead the case of the widow.” and the Eggers state that they view this as a commandment by God. 2. They witnessed children in really poor foster homes in their neighborhood and wanted to help give them more opportunities. 3. Before they were married, both Nate and Kristin Egger wanted to adopt.

Edythe Ford was awarded the 2017 Spirit of Detroit award along with two other recognitions from the City of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department for her active work in making sure the community and neighborhood are safe and in good living conditions.

Mack Avenue Community Church is a bring the Church back into the active lives of the neighborhood and community. They are working with all people of all races to build unity and show the strength and hope that lives within Detroit.

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DNCE Concert at Central Michigan Univeristy 2017

I have FINALLY gotten around to posting, writing and sharing my experience photographing the DNCE concert at Central Michigan University this past April during my internship with University Communications.

Working this show was the first time I felt alive again when shooting. I got a euphoric feeling photographing the concert and I realized what I wanted to do with my degree and in the field as a photojournalist. I want to shoot music, from concerts and festivals to studio work with bands/artists for a publication.

This was probably my favorite experience from my internship and the first time I felt like I had what it took to be a photographer. I knew nothing about shooting a concert, I just read things on the internet from professionals and then went out. It was a rush working this show. I had three cameras, a small area to work, 4 other student photographers, and Joe Jonas running all over the stage. It was AMAZING! I believe these were the best photos I have ever taken and I am beyond proud of my work from this event.

This is my calling. I want to be a music photographer, I just need more practice and more chances to gain experience. Below are my best photos from the concert. You can also find these on my Instagram @alisonzywickiphotography or on the Central Michigan University Facebook page under photo albums.

ENJOY!!! (Criqutes and feedback are always appreciated)

DNCE CONCERT WITH OPENING ACT BY CORD OVERSTREET @ CMU

DNCE performs at the Central Michigan University spring concert Friday, April 21, 2017

Cord Overstreet performing his opening act for the DNCE concert at Central Michigan University

DNCE performs at Central Michigan University for the spring concert on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Cord Overstreet performs as the opening act for DNCE at Central Michigan University for their Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 2017

JinJoo Lee (left) and Joe Jonas (right) of DNCE performed for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 2017.

DNCE performed for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 201

Crowd of Central Michigan student sing along with DNCE during their performance for CMU’S Spring Concert on Friday, April 21, 201

My Internship With University Communitions This Past Spring

Wow, I cannot believe that last semester I had an internship of a lifetime. I hope I can get the chance to continue working with University Communications, but if not I still wanted to share my experience.

This past spring semester was actually a hard one for me. I struggled a lot with my self, personal issues, school, etc. Yet, I got this amazing opportunity to work as a photography intern with Central Michigan’s Communications Department under the instruction, guidance, and mentorship of Steve Jessmore. You literally could not ask for a better experience than this as a photojournalism student at CMU.

With this position, I got to grow little by little as a photojournalist, ignite my passion more, and learn a lot about myself and my potential. I will be honest and say I don’t believe I gave 110% of myself when holding this position due to my struggles during the semester, but I did grow a lot.

I got to photography things I would have never dreamed of getting the chance to photograph. DNCE (in another blog post), Laverne Cox, CMU’s President Ross, a Pan-African Fashion Show, and more, these are just a taste of what it is like to hold this internship.

I learned how to expand my eye when shooting, leave the front and head to the back of a room to get a wide shot of the crowd or a full photo of the scene. Go behind the speakers or below, looking up, to get different angles. I learned to not just shoot and shoot and shoot. I am not paparazzi. Photojournalists wait for moments, they wait for drama, action, excitement, etc. We show emotion through our work and want to bring the viewers into the scene, making it feel like they were actually there, while accurately depicting what occurred.

I will admit, I was not the best one of the group at first, or even at the end, but I grew. I learned from my mistakes and listened to my critiques. I was told that I need to just be constantly taking photos, every day, of anything because there is always something occurring. This was the one tip I never fully applied though, because with my Resident Assistant position, classes, sorority, personal issues, etc, I thought I wouldn’t be able to. This was just me holding myself back. I have a little bit of free time every day, even if it is just for 10-20 minutes, it is experience, practice, and growth. I have to learn how to find stories with out an assignment now and I will be fully applying this advice this semester, I wish I just fully listened and realized this before. Don’t make my mistake and remember you are a photographer always.

I do really believe I got some of my best collegiate work during my internship with University Communications. I can only go up from here. Below are some of my favorite photos from some of my favorite shoots/events.

Enjoy! (plus, sorry this post was super late in comparison to when I had the internship, lol.)

-Check out my photos from DNCE in another post!!-

Laverne Cox – CMU Speaker Series 

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

Audience cheers as Laverne Cox walked on stage before her speech with the CMU Speakers Series.

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.

 

Annual Meet President Ross, Hosted by the International Student Organization

International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University.

International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University


 

Lize-Sized Board Game Event for an RPL Class

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippo during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Jenga during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.

 

Annual Griffin Forum

Five state political leaders — including U.S. Sen. Gary Peters — shared their perspectives on how citizens can make a difference in today’s polarizing political climate at the Griffin Policy Forum. – Caption provided by Central Michigan University Communications

 

Girls on the Run 5k 2017

For the past two years, I have been a volunteer photographer with Girls on the Run of Central Michigan. This non-profit works to teach girls in elementary and middle school self-confidence and self-love, all while training to run a 5k. This year was an amazing experience for me, the Director of GOTR referred to me as the professional photographer. It just felt job to have her recognize my work and treat me as a professional, not just a student. I also grew from the experience this year and I learned how to shoot action shots, find moments, and work with large groups of people for portraits. I had a blast. This is definitely another aspect of photography/photojournalism that I am growing an interest in and it only increased my passion for this career.

Below are some of my favorites from the day. Sorry, this post was made late since the 5k was in May. Enjoy!

 

 

Pit Photography Workshop at Warped Tour

This summer I went to Warped Tour and participated in a rock pit photography workshop with photographer Lisa Johnson. It was an experience of a life time.

I got to photograph rock bands, some I have never heard of before, but all of which I couldn’t imagine I would be able to. I got the opportunity to be in the pit for New Years Day, William Control, Stacked Like Pancakes, Andy Black and Dance Gavin Dance.

This a different experience than the time I photographed DNCE at Central Michigan University. I had to struggle with the changing light since the festival was in the day time. I had to deal with different types of security and getting into the pit. I also had to work with different lenses. I knew this experience would be a bit of a struggle because I do not own a wide angle lens and had to struggle with getting the shot. Through all of these minor struggles, I learned a lot from this workshop.

I learned about the safety lane that you have to leave for security so they can get to fans that are crowd surfing. I experienced having to work with a lot of photographers and not a lot of space to work around. Most importantly, I know this is what I want to do. I need more experience, I know I have a lot of work on and I can grow as a pit-photographer, but my passion for this has only grown.

Below are my personal favorite 12 photos from my time at Warped Tour. Enjoy!

Critics/Opinions/Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Nikki Misery from the band New Years Day plays during their set at the Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Ashley Costello (left) and Jeremy Valentyne (right) from New Years Day perform during their set at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

A crowd of fans cheers during the set of Dance Gavin Dance at the Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Wil Francis (right) and Ben Tourkantonis (left) perform on the Skullcandy stage at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday. July 21, 2017.

Wil Francis (right) and Ben Tourkantonis (left) perform on the Skullcandy stage at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday. July 21, 2017.

Kellen McKay, lead singer of Stacked Like Pancakes, stands on the hands of the crowd during their performance at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

(From left to right) Alec Leventis, Kellen McKay, Andy Dawson, and Zach Foote perform on the Skullcandy stage at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Andy Black performs at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Andy Black performs at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

A fan crowd surfs during the performance of Andy Black at the Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

(From left to right)Kellen McKay, Alec Leventis, Andy Dawson, and Zach Foote perform on the Skullcandy stage at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Andy Black performs at Van’s Warped Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday, July 21, 2017.

A Day in the Life of Rabbi B


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/215874382″>A Day in the Life of Rabbi B</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user43506384″>Alison Zywicki</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Rabbi Becca Walker (aka “Rabbi B”) is the Senior Jewish Educator for Hillel at MSU and Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan (HCAM). Rabbi B has been an official Rabbi for about a year or so, after 9 years of school from undergrad to rabbinical. Being a member of the conservative movement there can be challenges as a woman rabbi, since only recently the movement opened up the idea of having them. The Jewish Conservative Movement is apart of the three Western “movements” or divisions of Judaism, Reformed, Conservative, and Orthodox. So in understanding this, Rabbi B follows an authentic Jewish lifestyle from keeping Kosher to not traveling or using electricity on Shabbat. This does not make her boring for Rabbi B is one of a kind.

She relates extremely well to collegiate students, who she works with on a day to day basis. As the Senior Jewish Educator, Rabbi B is there to help students learn about Judaism (religiously and culturally), interfaith, theology and most importantly showing that being Jewish is part of life. She leads Shabbat services every week and she leads the high holiday services as well for the Jewish community. In addition, Rabbi B works with the Hillel staff on planning events from interfaith dinners to Sparty’s Bar-Mitzvah Party, that they hold twice a year. She also brings a creative side to Jewish learning with her music videos relating to holidays and events and crafts, such as your Jewish glasses.

This is Rabbi B’s first year working with Hillel at MSU and HCAM and we cannot wait to see moe amazing things from her. Watch her video profile above to learn more.