street photography » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 012015

Photo copyright Garrett Creswell

I took this image last semester for a different photography class however it has been one of my favorite images that I have taken since I started my photography pursuit at NAU.  The assignment for the class at the time was to take a split-tone photo, and I had always seen split-tone images as something with little movement and one general main point of focus. One afternoon I decided to head to downtown Flagstaff and to find something that would make a good prominent subject for a split-tone photo. I was walking around downtown for about 45 minutes or so trying to find a subject to shoot that would make a great photo. I had been there for sometime trying to find the perfect picture, I had taken about 40 photos at this point and nothing was really standing out to me until I noticed this clock.  As I was walking down San Francisco street towards the clock I could see there were no cars coming for some time so I decided to stop and take a couple photos to see how they turned out. I took about 10 different photos from a couple of different angles, with varying F-stops aperture and ISO settings as well as having to wait a few different times for cars to go by between some of the photos.  After moving on from this spot and looking back at the photos I had captured I saw this image, which really stood out to me because it seemed to be very calm with the least amount of background activity, which is exactly what I was trying to capture in this photo.  One I started the post processing of the photo I decided to try and calm it down more by adding a sepia tone to the photo, because the bright vibrant colors seemed very active and too overpowering.  The camera I used to capture the image was a Nikon D3200 DSLR with an 18 to 55 mm lens. The F-stop of the camera was at 20, with 1/30 of a second shutter speed, and a 320 ISO setting.  This photo has been a favorite of mine for some time now and I’m not quite sure how to explain why but for whatever reason the photo just really stands out to me.

About the Photographer:
My name is Garrett Creswell and I haven’t been a photographer for very long. I recently became much more involved in college after taking my first photo class. Before coming to college all of my free time was spent playing sports so I didn’t really have the free time for photography. However my past in sports has had a huge impact on me as a photographer because I like to take pictures of sporting events and action sports such as snowboarding and eventually hope to take photos while sky diving.  These subjects are a lot more interesting to me because I love being out photographing the things that I love to do in my free time. My goals are different from other photographers because I am just taking photos for the fun of photography not to try and make any money, my inspiration is all about the love for the subjects that I like to photograph not money or fame driven aspirations.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!


May 052014

Photo copyright Donna Kelley

This is Rodney, and as he told me the first time I met him, Rodney is all that is necessary. At the Flagstaff Family Food Center he is referred to by the staff and other diners as Grandpa. He has huge blue eyes that are always hidden by glasses and a band aid across his nose. His legs are ruined by arthritis. His walker goes everywhere with him. When he is not pushing it, he is usually sitting on it, like in his photo here.

I am embarrassed to admit that I was scared the first time I walked into the Flagstaff Family Food Center. I was there to get content for a class, but the diners did not know that. The men waiting at the end of the line all moved out of my way and shouted to the men up front to, “move” because “ladies first.” I found out later that “ladies first” is not an actual rule of the food center. The men were just being nice. This made me sad and extremely happy all at once. Here are these guys letting the new girl get through the door first, these guys that do not know me, and have no idea that I am not there because I am hungry.

When I got through the door, one of the staff members sat me down at Grandpa’s table. She told me that they were a “lively” bunch. This meant that they would be willing to talk to me, like I knew many others would not. The first thing I noticed were Rodney’s beat up hands. They were covered in scabs and band aids. I introduced myself. The five diners introduced themselves. No one would let me take their photo, but they were all okay with me recording audio.

Since that first day I have been back numerous times. I always sit with Rodney. He has shared stories with me about his time in the army, his ex-wife, and his two daughters. His oldest daughter died in a car accident, and he has not seen his younger daughter in 16 years. After many conversations with Rodney, I offered to drive him home. He wears a bus pass around his neck, because he cannot not walk far. I trust him, but I was still nervous as we got into my Chevy Sonic. His house was less than a five minute drive away. After I dropped him off, I told him to tell me anytime I am there if he wants a ride. He smiled and thanked me and waved to the little girl who lives next door as he pushed his walker up his ramp.

Meeting Grandpa has changed my life. I know I will never forget him. He is a spiritual man, but far from religious. He believes that everything he has done in his life has been for a reason. He calls the Food Center “the best restaurant in town,” and eats there not because he cannot afford groceries but because he has a family there. He is always joking and smiling. When you meet him you automatically wonder how a man who is eating at a Food Center could be so happy. We all have something to learn from people like Rodney. He has taught me to be thankful for every single occurrence, good or bad, because in life there really are no guarantees and every occurrence shapes you and your path.

I photograph with a Canon 60D. The image shown was shot using an 18-135mm lens at 800 ISO, 1/160 of a second at f/10.

About the Photographer:
My photography and video style are very much about capturing a moment as it happens, in a way that illustrates what I am actually seeing. For me, photography and videography is art. Art is not perfect, nor should it be. I strive to capture the true moment. I believe that if a photo has to be edited to death, it was dead to begin with. I believe that everything happens for a reasons, and the some of life’s best lessons have to be learned the hard way.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at

May 012014

Photo copyright Daniel Riebe

Every image captivates a story. Whether significant or not, each story brings the audience closer to the photograph. The story told through this image allows the audience to understand more about the person and the specific background. Along with the story behind the image I want to present the man’s story as well.  His name is Caveman. He’s a homeless man from Flagstaff, Arizona with a life that incorporates a very particular mindset of thoughts.

This story began with a downtown Flagstaff exploration while I looked for that image that would leave me in peace. I shot a couple photos of strangers while I explained to them my reason to why their photo had been taken that day, I had yet to take a photo which would allow for the completion of the portrait shot.

A couple of relationship shots, teenagers that had hung out together that day and of course the employee shot of a hard days work simply had not been the type of image I had in mind. I had been on the look for a different perspective of how individuals see the world. The day had slowly started to come to an end and I had been disappointed in the shots I found, to say the least. As I walked back to my vehicle I had felt defeated, with the mindset of the day to be over.

Suddenly, an individual that I had not seen earlier was perched directly in front of me with a very peculiar name, Caveman. His stern look seemed questionable whether to go talk to him or not but he had hand written signs that intrigued me. I walked up to this man, introduced myself and started a conversation that went further then I had expected.

One of the most kind, gentle and extremely enthusiastic individuals I had ever met in my life, Caveman told me stories I would have never believed I would ever had heard. The best part of this individual had been to learn about his ideas that a majority in the world would believe are insane. This man had a life with a house and a job to pay for it and one day had been tired of it all and dedicated himself to be on his own with his old life left as memories. He had a different ideology on the behalf of illegal substances, which he now had revolved most of his life around.

This however had been the most intriguing part about him. The belief that one-day he would be taken up, by what he called “the weed fairies”, which allowed him to be in a different world. This photo represents a different perspective on life. The story applies a specific outlook for people to look back on there own life.

On the mechanical side I used a Canon 70d and an 18-55mm lens. The black and white photo emphasizes contrast which provides more emotion to the photo.

About the Photographer:
I have personally found that the ability to capture a fleeting scene in order to depict its story is why photography has become so important to me. It is also humbling to think that each and every moment, which I choose to capture, is an image that testifies to my interests and passions. If you would like to know what I enjoy, cherish, and respect, look at my work, what I document, and choose to share for others to see.

My work consists of proposal and engagement photos while being able to sell my photographs to those who show interest. I prefer subjects that are not going to move around. Subjects that sit still and have me move to the specific angle I need for the perfect photograph.

Have you ever stopped and stared at something for a considerable amount of time; wishing that you could physically hold on to the image that you are currently tantalized with? The beauty of photography is that it allows an artist to express those moments that would otherwise remain nothing more than a memory for any who were there to witness it.

It is my goal to continue on this path, and further my ability to express myself.  Truthfully, it is astounding to think that a hobby I have has also become my voice and my way to display how I see our world!

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at