Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ringing in 2013 with Mark's top 10 of 2012...

On behalf of Mark and myself, we would like to be some of the first to wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year!  If you are anything like us the commencement of 2013 finds your pants a little tighter, a detox tea in your hand, and optimism in your heart that this year is going to be even bigger and better than the year before!!!  Before we can move on we would like to take this opportunity to properly bid 2012 farewell in what we call “David Letterman Style”.  Of course we all know Mark and his tendency to be a bit wordy, so it will be his Top 13 as opposed Top 10, but it is 2013 so it follows a good theme!!  So without further ado…….Here is Mark Mennie’s Top 13 from 2012! 
Until next time.....


13) Survivors' Network Calendar 2013:  Danny Kelly and the Dalton Family. This assignment was created to highlight the efforts of the Survivors' Network, an amazing group of of Air Medical friends who are there to help Survivors of traumatic crashes, including the obvious or stealthy effects of PTSD. These unique stories, bravely share their thoughts of growth and change and of course needed photo illustration. Some of the candidates were easier to portray, others were more of a challenge. I felt like I "got" Danny and his challenges and and I certainly felt "I wanted to be more like Dustin"  as his family was a blast (and that was me in 1977...the skinny kid on the left with the glasses...). As some of my friends know this was not an easy project for me to do as I had to head back to Washington DC to cover part of it; but as ironic as it all was this was one of the most fulfilling projects I have done in a long time. Many Thanks to Chas Juran for his design and printing coordination as well!

12) Personal Moment: Mini Market and Cafe, La Roca, Baja California. One of my most memorable times of 2012, was when I took the opportunity to spend some time with Kevin's dad Paul Hutton, affectionately known as Grand Daddy. It was a time out for me and an attempt to take a break from damn photography.  I traveled early to the annual Hutton Family get together in Mexico. I really did not feel like taking photos, but I did however pull out my little Canon S95 and was able to capture these two. It put me in a better mood about things and gave me some much need perspective.  Looking back at these now, this 2012 trip completely reminds me of a day trip I took with my Grandfather Eric in November 1989, photographing his every move that day.  The best series was created when he was eating dinner. (Those negatives, now triple in value... are safe in a box- and will debut to my family someday...)

11) Dedication: LT, Flight Nurse, Airlift NW. This portrait of "LT" was taken during my time shooting the host programs for AMTC in Seattle this year.  This photo captured him in a way that highlighted him better than the "typical" commercially generated Airlift Northwest group shot hanging on the base wall that he pointed out to me earlier in the day.  He ironically noted to me that it didn't seem like it was an accurate portrayal of him. So I wanted to make it right and as a result I think this will become a timeless image for me. The gesture of looking over by the pilot seals the deal in my opinion. This B+W version, probably will stand out in my lifetime portfolio like my "Ralph Heydlauff, 1990" from my Altawan series  (You- know the images people remember you for that only triple the $ value when you are gone.....of course.)

10) Outriders Practice: Converted to Black and White, this imagery was taken at the Outriders practice in June 2012, and really captured the energy and dedication of what I see behind the scenes with the Team.  Long before they ever appear on the field. I am privileged to be granted exclusive access to these 3+ hr practices.  Most Outriders don't realize the amazing imagery I can get as they relentlessly work to truly "become" an Outrider. Unfortunately this "gritty" imagery does not get published on the Stampeders' site...Yet!!!!

9) Admiration: Lindsay from Life Flight Network OR.  A moment caught during the roar of a helicopter during a "hot unload" practice session in Aurora IL. That look of challenge, preparedness and confidence is what I like most about this shot. (Unfortunately, it was raining and you can see one big raindrop out of focus drop on the upper left, but I believe it adds to the shot.) I did a couple of missions with Lindsay around OR, her dedication, insights, smiles and humor with the rest of the crew is why I love Flight Nurses and what they do. 

8) C/-FE, Ritzville, WA: I saw this sign from the interstate on my way to Spokane one early evening. Off the beaten track (the commercial district with Starbucks is off of the other exit) this diner is known as "Jakes" and inspired a blog entry in the spring.  Hopefully they will not fix the sign as that was the inspiring part for me. I think you could shoot a whole movie there. This place summed up Americana for me, comfort and timelessness. I walked in feeling kind of tired and lonely, and left full and at ease with myself. I hope to return on a day that I have the confidence to speak more to the guests, as I know there are a thousand stories there.

7) Rookie vs Veteran: Kaitlin and Michelle, OR Calendar 2013. (If I pick one favorite OR...I'll get in deep trouble) This co-effort with my best friend Waldy Martens (he's an amazing Photographer) was our first project that we worked on together since graduating art school in Alberta in 1988. Even though she was a rookie, Kaitlin holding the helmet had an amazing camera comfort and presence and it was reflected in her final image.  With Michelle, the veteran,  I have photographed her several times in the past and I certainly have quietly challenged her posing and personal feelings during past shoot. This go around Waldy insisted (more than I was) to "arch that back more". Michelle grumbled a bit on this call but she really nailed it on this one.  Also another sidenote to other ORs...fans in the hair are ok...!

6) Never seen Before: Corinne from the Drill Crew; never published. This selection (one of 13 created for the 2012 Calendar) was one of my favorites. In the end, this theme was too racy for some in the organization, but was well received and endorsed by myself and the girls who used their full efforts to outdo each other in their personally selected sexy lingerie and daring suggestions.  Shot in a luxury Calgary hotel this shoot quickly hit the cutting room floor and I reluctantly moved to a safer theme.  This is the first time this image has ever surfaced.  I have photographed Corinne, who I would personally describe as a bit shy, several times before for the DC and ORs (...AND I am on record with Stampeders Management years ago, for selecting her for Outrider Rookie of the Year, but at the "Tryouts"....I note), but she hit it out of the park with this image and her ability to focus on the "task at hand". Wow. Your boyfriend is a very lucky guy. (Did I mention she speaks French too?)

5) STARS Calgary Calendar 2014 Project: My favorite Air Med Program.  Truly where it all started. Sunrise at the Calgary Hanger, I took the liberty to open the hanger door on the second day as the crew were double checking the stretcher and aircraft at the start of their shift. The first day the Shell guys (Hanger owners) were backing planes in and out and I did not want to push it, get barked at since the STARS are their tenant, and I was just a sub-contractor in the photo biz. I am certain this will make the cut for the STARS 2014 Calendar; which will release this July.  (My FN Bruce says You can easily tell it is him in the shot...)

4) Exotic and Far Away: As my contacts and appreciation of Dubai grows, so does my influence at the Dubai Helishow, which is slated again for November 2014. This year I was pro-active in capturing more "Pilots than Aircraft" when I found the opportunity. Relying a little on my "prestige" of being the official photographer, after the "Apache Helicopter" landed (and everybody else taking photos...zzzzz), I went straight to the pilots and asked them to strike a pose. My 30 second photo shot resulted in this bold image of two pilots of the newly named Presidential Guard. When I forwarded the image to the Helishow PR Agency (Tamra C2- they are a great group of professionals and I love working with them), it apparently started a series of telephone calls higher up the ladder to get "permission" from the Colonel. Approval was granted. An ex pat friend assisting with the show noted later that I seemed to break down a notion of Emiraty culture as they don't always get "individually" recognized for what they do...and my portrait was definitely something different for them.

3) AMTC 2012 Host Program: Jackie and Will, Island Air. This set-up shot with Jackie and Will in front of their hanger, deep in conversation and not exactly paying attention to me (hey you two Love Birds...look over here!), summed up a wonderful weekend of photography and amazing Island hospitality in Friday Harbor, WA. Of course with them always on call a medical transport call came in as I was setting up the image, I managed to only to get 5 frames off (as I cursed my *&^%$#@! Canon flashes not responding/slow to charge) before the ground ambulance rolled in from the left side arriving with the patient. I consider Will and Jackie close and great friends and I hope to see them more in 2013. This is my latest version of the image, as I had Waldy also apply his style of re-touching to it. My slightly out of focus wide angle lens seems to make my version a bit more "painterly" somehow. I get alot of diferent comments on the two versions, and it has been interesting to hear them. 

2) Eyes: Willow, OR Calendar 2013. A coordinated photo effort with my best friend Waldy Martens in June 2012. The second entry for the OR's 2013 Calendar, and Willow's second image in my list. This OR also has a hidden actress in her I personally believe. She really turns it on especially when coached by two old Shooters called Mark and Waldy and with the notion that she is the "Worlds' Worst Water Girl".  She "nailed it", as they say in Hollywood. Her eyes (wow) and gesture (yes- that was cold water...You're a Trooper Willow...) made this one of my favorites. (Ooops. I'll hear it now from the ORs...)

1) Dog Beach, January 1st, 2012. This was my first photography effort on New Year's Morning 2012 at Dog Beach in Del Mar CA. The fog made everything mono chromatic. I only converted the file to full B+W as the iPhone has a slight defect with flare/lens shape that gives a slight magenta tinge on the LH side of the image. This image gives me some inner peace, as some of my close friends know, as I have struggled a bit over the past 3 years. Perhaps I see a bit of my myself in the image, a metaphor for an old dog, being alone, but always chasing a dream...taking a leap of faith constantly. MM 2013