Meet Central Michigan senior, Zachary Bach from Grand Blanc. Bach has been a Drag Queen for 1.5 years. This hobby and interest started from Bach’s love for his favorite TV show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race. His Drag persona is named, Lacey Grace.
“I always liked the name, Grace. Grace comes from Grace Kelly who is an actress in my all-time favorite movie Rear Window. I liked how Lacey rhymed with Grace,” states Bach.
Bach studies accounting here at Central Michigan University and works at the Meijer Pharmacy. Drag is currently something that Bach just does on the side and only every once in a while. Bach’s family has been supportive from the beginning and his mom has even gone shopping with and for him for clothes. His first dress ever was bought by his mother when Bach said he liked it in the store. Bach’s boyfriend of a year, Chis Ilgallon also supports Bach in his Drag journey. In his classes as a fun fact for syllabus week introductions, Bach usually states that he does Drag.
“After watching it (Ru Paul) for so long, I wanted to try and do it myself. My first time was for an amateur Drag Wars at Live in Ann Arbor. I didn’t look good and my wig was bad, but I performed really well and I surprised myself by performing really well and being in the finals,” Bach said.
Bach is still working on make-up for when he becomes Lacey Grace. The hardest thing he states he struggles with is the eyebrows. Bach informs that since men’s eyebrows are lower than females, Drag Queen’s glue their eyebrows up and then cover them with powered to increase the size of their eyelids and so that they can draw on exaggerated, feminine eyebrows.
Bach has met several Drag Queens who inspire him to continue being involved in Drag, most of these women were contestants on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The primary time that Bach goes out in Drag is at Pride Night at Necto in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Drag is a way of expressing myself. It is kind of breaking away the facade of who we are every day. Being in Drag you can act differently than what society expects you to act,” Bach states.
Meet Alexis Pelafas, a sophomore from Wheaton, Illinois on the Central Michigan University soccer team for two years. Pilafs recently set a CMU women’s soccer record of 15 goals in a season after a game on October 16th against Ohio.
“Soccer has taught me to keep pushing even when it gets hard and to never give up. You can always be better and to never be satisfied with where you are. It has taught me work ethic and how you aren’t going to get anything by what is required, you have to have more then what you are given. It has taught me to never take anything for granted,” explains Pelafas.
Pelafas have been involved in soccer for about 15 years total. In her years in high school soccer, Pelafas was a team caption and earned an all-state first team honors in 2014 and an all-conference and all-sectional honorable mention recognition in 2013. She then took this stellar ethic in the game to her time in CMU and was named to the MAC All-Freshman team. During a game, against Bowling Green State University Pelafas scored the first goal and assisted on the game-winning goal with two minutes left in overtime.
“My family has always supported from day one. My mom has taken so much of her time to drive to practices that were two hours away at a young age. They (her parents) have always gone to all of my games and have encouraged me to keep going through the battles,” Pelafas exclaims.
In Pelafas’ room, there is a notecard that states:
“Winning a championship is a result. Becoming a champion is a process. You can’t focus on the results, but on the things, it takes to get the results. #Trust the Process #Fire Up Chips” – Head Coach Peter McGahey
When asked about this, Pelafas said her coach gave one to each of them at the start of the season and it means a lot to her. “Peter he wants to us the best person we can be on and off the field. He pushes us to be the players we can be with our character and identities. He is a good guy, he loves and cares about all of us and would do anything for anyone of us..he is a very inspirational person,” Pelafas states.
Before every game,Pelafas and another team make right “Philippians 4:13″ on her left forearm as a sign of good luck. This is her favorite bible verse and someone she has even joked about just getting tattooed there.
“My faith has always been an important role in my life. Every time I play He gives me all my strength. Anytime I get frustrated or things aren’t going my way, I take a look down and take a deep breath and now I can really do everything,” Pelafas comments.
There is so much more to Pelafas then soccer, she is planning on studying sports management and minoring in marketing.
“Soccer means more than words. For me it is like everything, it is my passion, the thing I love to do in my free time. It is a part of who I am, it is just a part of me and my identity,” states Pelafas.
Head Coach Peter McGahey stated to the team during their half time break during a game, on Sunday, October 9th, that “there is a lot of soccer in this room, we just have to let her out.” With Pelafas there is a lot of soccer in this girl, and she constantly lets it out to shine.
For 72 years Cary’s Pioneer Farm has been handed down from family member to family member. The farm was started in 1944 as a dairy farm but switched into a feedlot in 1992. Currently, the farm is run by brothers, Jake and Matt Cary, with their father Scott Cary. As a feedlot, the farm buys and sells steers (non-dairy cattle) for beef. The farm has over 300 steers.
The farm is not just run by the men themselves but from finances from their sister, Stacey Jenkins, and help from multiple outside people, plus the youngest generations of Cary children. This farm is “managed by all of us” states Jake Cary. There is so much work that goes into farm life. “Communication is key to a successful business of any kind,” Jake explains.
The Cary family primarily spend their time together on the farm. Jake implied that this is because they all work together five days a week, the weekend is basically a time for them to go to their separate families. Scott Cary and his wife, Wendy, live on the farm in the house that has been continuously passed down and Matt Cary also lives on the farm. Jake, lives a mile up the road, but it doesn’t infringe on his farm career.
The Cary’s have some traditions within their family. First is “noon dinner”, or lunch, Wendy Cary cooks a huge meal with more than enough dishes for her, Scott, Matt and Jake every day during the week. This is one of the primary times that the brothers and their parents spend together when they are a hundred percent working. Another tradition the Cary’s have is that every Sunday or so the whole family, all generations, get together with Scott’s mother for pizza and all hang out together. This is an amazing way to stay connected as a family outside of farm life. According to Jake “farming is in the blood it is hard to get rid of it.”
Julia Nagy has worked for the Lansing State Journal since March of 2016 as a full time photojournalist. Even better, she is still finishing her final year at Michigan State University. I was lucky enough on Thursday, September 15th, to shadow Julia during a practice for a local rugby team, Crisis Rugby, that she was doing a photo story on. Julia’s story is focusing on the intensity of the sport of rugby. Crisis rugby is a local men’s league with 20 members and is in its third season. It was a honor to shoot them because not only did I get to learn how to photograph sports and Julia taught me a lot when it comes to being a photojournalist.
Julia was great to observe, she communicates so well with her subjects. By that I mean she does even act as those the players are subjects in a photo-story, she treats them as people (like you should). She told me about the time she went out with the players and got drinks after her first day shoot with them, this helped her gain trust and know the players on a more personal level. It was great, because Julia had made such a good impact and connection with the team, they accepted me right away and had no issue with me being there photographing them alongside her. Julia said “the whole reason I do this is for the story telling. It is more important to me to have a reason and have a story.” This was one of the many things Julia told me that made me think a lot about what kind of photojournalist I would like to be.
Shooting rugby was a challenge. I have not really shot sport before, expect for the time I shadowed my girl, Mon Mon with CMLife at a CMU Basketball game. I do not have a huge passion for sports photography, I think that is because I never really have applied myself to it. There were a lot of things I learned this day and stuff I guess I never realized.
A few tips from Julia on shooting sports:
Know/Learn about the sport before you shoot
Put yourself in a certain spot on the field so you know what you can get
Do NOT sit on the ground when shooting; kneel or squat so that you can get up quick
Never make assumptions about what is going to happen, there is no pattern when it comes to sports
I made some of these mistakes and Julia was great, she always noticed right away and the minute something happened, she would walk with me and teach me new things. One of the main things that Julia taught me was the sports action means to go for the peak moments. The moment where the player catches the ball or the celebratory team hug. This is actually something I have learned I struggle a bit with. Or a lot with. I shot the CMU Football game two days after my job shadow and what Julia told me still stuck, you have to mind the moments and you need to know the sport, so that you can know what moments to look for. This is something I will continue to apply to my constant growth as a photographer.
I also learned that when shooting sports, events, features, and mainly photo-stories, you MUST shoot a variety of photos. This doesn’t mean shoot a lot, because it could be a lot of the same or similar photo. Julia says variety should be based on the angles, length (wide, medium, and close), and type of shot. She shoots from the ground, up above, in close, etc. I always try to do this when shooting events and in-studio work, I never realized how to do that with sports, because I originally thought every sport was the same (until I started actually photographing sports). I asked Julia questions and she always had advice, a tip or an answer. One of the most impactful things she told me was:
“Master moments. Work on light. Work on composition. Work on one goal at a time. Use light as a story telling element. Practice. You are always going to keep growing and doing new things.”
She told me this after I asked her how she was able to expose her photos for dramatic lighting. Julia was honest, she told me that this was something she was just starting to learn how to do and she isn’t a master yet (even though she looked pretty skilled to me). This is something that clicked with me, made me realize what kind of photographer I want to be and I want to be one that lives up to my fullest potential. Julia is right, when you photograph is all practicing.
I learned that as a photographer I tried to learn how to do multiple things at once, it made it difficult to master each element. You have to go slow, learning how to be a good photographer isn’t a race. Take your time. Go at your own pace. There is so much you can learn by asking questions, applying yourself, and even practicing. Like Julia told me, work on one goal at a time. This is something I know I will never forget, I even wrote it down in my phone so I can always look back on it. Your professors tell you these things all the time, what to focus on, how to take great photos, but knowing that it is okay to struggle and work on it till you feel confident, is the best thing to learn.
When I would show my photos to Julia, she gave me a verity of feedback. Some photos she liked, others like the one with the close up of the hands and the rugby ball she told me things that could make it better (like if I was more tight so it was ONLY the hands). Then she told me something great (honestly I feel like everything she told me had amazing insight), she talked about how it is hard to judge other people’s work and that you shouldn’t take everyone’s views to heart or too seriously. REMEMBER, photography is subjective, people will like your work or they will hate it. You shouldn’t have a photographer who loves shooting high contrast, black and white images and one that loves to focus on bright intense colors critique each other’s portfolio because their tastes our on opposite ends on the spectrum. This is something that made me more relaxed with turning in assignments, yes I want to do well and impress my professors, but I don’t want to lose my photography to that.
The last thing that made a lasting impact on me from this job shadow was that you have to fight for what really matters. When it comes to working in a newsroom and shooting stories. Fight for your work, fight for your passion, fight for why your story matters. This is something Julia said that literally stopped me in my tracks. I remember a professor at CMU telling me, I wasn’t a photographer yet and it brought me to tears. Working with Julia built a small start of confidence in me. I started to realize that I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER. I am growing. I am learning. Never let people tell you, you aren’t something or can’t achieve something, fight, and prove them wrong, ALWAYS.
I LOVED MY JOB SHADOW! I loved getting to know Julia on a personal level. I enjoyed meeting with her and learning about each other at Lansing State Journal before we went out shooting. Yes, it wasn’t photographing anything big, like a college football game or the Detroit Tigers (shout out to my home girl for her amazing opportunity though). This job shadow taught me a lot, opened my eyes to multiple things when it comes to photographers, and I learned so much. This was an amazing experience for me and I wouldn’t have wanted to change it for anything else. Julia Nagy was everything I could ask for in a mentor and I already know I can reach out to her again about other stories to get her advice and opinions on my work. Sadly, the LSJ does not do internships, but I know that with the connection I made, I can hopefully get an internship somewhere. This was my afternoon with Julia Nagy and the Lansing State Journal.