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PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Cheerleaders perform on the court prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the North Carolina Tarheels during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: Cheerleaders perform on the court prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the North Carolina Tarheels during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Although it looks likely that Pittsburgh won’t play in the NCAA tournament that local college Duquesne University will be hosting, they put on a good show at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon with their lopsided win against #12 ranked North Carolina. The Oakland Zoo showed up in full force as usual and made for a great, loud atmosphere.

Here are some of my favorite images from the game. Enjoy!

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Nate Britt #0 of the North Carolina Tarheels is fouled as he falls to the ground in the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: Nate Britt #0 of the North Carolina Tarheels is fouled as he falls to the ground in the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Sheldon Jeter #21 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates following his shot in the first half against the North Carolina Tarheels during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: Sheldon Jeter #21 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates following his shot in the first half against the North Carolina Tarheels during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: J.P. Tokoto #13 of the North Carolina Tarheels drives the baseline past Jamel Artis #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the first half during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: J.P. Tokoto #13 of the North Carolina Tarheels drives the baseline past Jamel Artis #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the first half during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tarheels looks on in the second half against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tarheels looks on in the second half against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 14: Isaiah Hicks #22 of the North Carolina Tarheels attempts to pass the ball while defended by Michael Young #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 14: Isaiah Hicks #22 of the North Carolina Tarheels attempts to pass the ball while defended by Michael Young #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half during the game at Petersen Events Center on February 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Well, I’m a little behind on posting my favorite images of 2014. But between working, packing, moving to Pittsburgh, and that little ‘blizzard’ we had in Boston, I only ended up entering one contest – the Boston Press Photographers Association contest.

That’s one of the best contest’s I’ve ever entered. Why? Because at the end of the year you get to put your work up next to your friends who covered a lot of the same events in the same city. It’s the best way, I think, to see how well your year came out. And because it includes so many people who care about pictures and photojournalism, it was an honor to be a part of that group of folks in New England.

Onto the next chapter in life! Enjoy the pictures…

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 11: A competitor in the Freestyle Skiing Women's Ski Slopestyle Qualification on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 11: A competitor in the Freestyle Skiing Women’s Ski Slopestyle Qualification on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets is knocked out of bounds short of the goal line during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

FOXBORO, MA – OCTOBER 16: Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets is knocked out of bounds short of the goal line during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 20: Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after losing to the Dayton Flyers 60-59 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

BUFFALO, NY – MARCH 20: Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after losing to the Dayton Flyers 60-59 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

FOXBORO, MA - JUNE 06:  Javier Hernandez #14 of Mexico is fouled by Neto #14 of Portugal in the second half during the international friendly match at Gillette Stadium on June 6, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

FOXBORO, MA – JUNE 06: Javier Hernandez #14 of Mexico is fouled by Neto #14 of Portugal in the second half during the international friendly match at Gillette Stadium on June 6, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a diving catch for a first down as Brandon Browner #39 of the New England Patriots defends during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a diving catch for a first down as Brandon Browner #39 of the New England Patriots defends during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Simone Biles competes on the balance beam section of the senior women preliminaries during the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Consol Energy Center on August 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 21: Simone Biles competes on the balance beam section of the senior women preliminaries during the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Consol Energy Center on August 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

BOSTON, MA - MAY 18: Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 18, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA – MAY 18: Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 18, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 27:  Teuvo Teravainen #86 of the Chicago Blackhawks hits Johnny Boychuk #55 of the Boston Bruins in the first period during the game at TD Garden on March 27, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA – MARCH 27: Teuvo Teravainen #86 of the Chicago Blackhawks hits Johnny Boychuk #55 of the Boston Bruins in the first period during the game at TD Garden on March 27, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24: Donothan Bailey competes on the high bar in the senior men finals during the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Consol Energy Center on August 24, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 24: Donothan Bailey competes on the high bar in the senior men finals during the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Consol Energy Center on August 24, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 20: Lasan Kromah #20 of the Connecticut Huskies and Langston Galloway #10 of the Saint Joseph's Hawks colllide during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

BUFFALO, NY – MARCH 20: Lasan Kromah #20 of the Connecticut Huskies and Langston Galloway #10 of the Saint Joseph’s Hawks colllide during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the First Niagara Center on March 20, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins warms up before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 14: Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins warms up before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 12:  Jason Brown performs during the Smucker's Skating Spectacular following the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on January 12, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 12: Jason Brown performs during the Smucker’s Skating Spectacular following the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on January 12, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 11: A competitor in the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Finals on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 11: A competitor in the Snowboard Men’s Halfpipe Finals on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Yale v Harvard
BOSTON, MA - JULY 28: The sunset is seen from the Green Monster in the third inning between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Fenway Park on July 28, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA – JULY 28: The sunset is seen from the Green Monster in the third inning between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Fenway Park on July 28, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks onto the field during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks onto the field during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

 

 

Well it’s been a month since I posted something to my blog. Partly because I’ve been traveling more and shooting less. A flight to Pittsburgh and a drive to Chautauqua Lake, NY to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving was very much needed. As any photojournalist can attest, this is always a slow time of the year. It gets cold outside so people and their events all hibernate for the winter. As do the paychecks.

So how do you get through this time as a freelancer? I asked myself that question about four years ago while struggling to find much work from about December through March following graduation. I immediately went to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer, Justin Merriman, for help with that. Although he wanted to help, as a staff photographer, it’s not something he has to worry about. Instead, he forwarded me to freelancer Jeff Swensen, a guy he shared a photo studio with on the south side of Pittsburgh. What transpired over time from that single meeting at the Terminal Building has sent me on a much more clear, guided, thoughtful, happier, and fulfilling path. I joined a great space with a crew of folks that included Jeff and Justin, along with (current Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photojournalist) Stephanie Strasburg and (videographer and marketer extraordinaire) Mickey Miller.

As creatives we’re always looking to improve on our craft. And I’ve found the best way to do that and to always be driven is by surrounding yourself with other fellow artists. Not just good artists but good people. People who are open to working together and pushing each other in a positive way. It’s not just good for your artistry but also for your sanity and your mental state. There will be a lot of days where no one calls and no one emails with potential work. It can be pretty depressing at times and you can easily fall into a terrible state-of-mind if you’re not careful. On the flip side, there’s no better time to brainstorm and start on personal projects that you’ve been putting off all year. Use this time to put together your best images from the year and a new business plan. Write down what goals you accomplished and set new ones for yourself.

Collaboration is the key. These friends will help drive you on those days when you’re not feeling confident about your work or your business. For me, it’s a huge asset to have and certainly part of the reason for me returning to Pittsburgh. In that town, people aren’t afraid to share work. They make sure that the community succeeds because they genuinely care about each other. If someone helps you out with an assignment, you don’t steal their client, and you return the favor whenever possible. And that’s not even factoring in the daily benefits of being able to critique each others work and constantly keep each others minds thinking about the future in how you can evolve and become a better photographer, businessman, etc. And if you live in an affordable city that can foster groups of young creatives, start a studio! Get a few people to chip in for a space. It can be really beneficial to get everyone out of the house and into a place with fewer distractions that would allow for more work and progress to happen. The larger your circle of friends and fellow artists grows, so do your ideas, clients, and ultimately, paychecks. Because let’s face it, as much as we love what we do, the bills come every month too, regardless of the season.

So my suggestion to everyone out there having a tough time keeping busy is to just to continue to network and be a good friend. I am personally very thankful that I have such an amazing crew of people in the steel city. It won’t always solve your immediate financial issues but as long as you’ve set aside a little savings to help you through those months, it will at the very least keep your head up and the creativity flowing. After all, what are friends for?

I will leave you with some of my recent football images that were a result of my creative flame always staying lit thanks to those aforementioned people…

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson leaps into the endzone for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter in front of Cole Champion #5 of the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson leaps into the endzone for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter in front of Cole Champion #5 of the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson runs back a punt into the Yale Bulldogs territory in the first half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson runs back a punt into the Yale Bulldogs territory in the first half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson catches a pass in front of Jason Alessi #19 of the Yale Bulldogs before running into the endzone for a touchdown second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson catches a pass in front of Jason Alessi #19 of the Yale Bulldogs before running into the endzone for a touchdown second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Marty Moesta #99 of the Yale Bulldogs celebrates after recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter against the Harvard Crimson in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Marty Moesta #99 of the Yale Bulldogs celebrates after recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter against the Harvard Crimson in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Anthony Firkser #42 of the Harvard Crimson runs with the ball past Carl Kreitzberg #54 of the Yale Bulldogs in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Anthony Firkser #42 of the Harvard Crimson runs with the ball past Carl Kreitzberg #54 of the Yale Bulldogs in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: The student section for the Yale Bulldogs strip down to their underwear revelaing 'Harvard Sucks' underwear in the second half against the Harvard Crimson during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: The student section for the Yale Bulldogs strip down to their underwear revelaing ‘Harvard Sucks’ underwear in the second half against the Harvard Crimson during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson catches a pass in front of Jason Alessi #19 of the Yale Bulldogs before running into the endzone for a touchdown second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson catches a pass in front of Jason Alessi #19 of the Yale Bulldogs before running into the endzone for a touchdown second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson is lifted in the air by teammate Michael Mancinelli #66 following Fischer's game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Fischer #1 of the Harvard Crimson is lifted in the air by teammate Michael Mancinelli #66 following Fischer’s game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Crimson win resulted in an undefeated 10-0 season and the Ivy League championship. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Morgan Roberts #19 of the Yale Bulldogs lines up under center in the red zone against the Harvard Crimson in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Morgan Roberts #19 of the Yale Bulldogs lines up under center in the red zone against the Harvard Crimson in the second half during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Tyler Varga #30 of the Yale Bulldogs reaches for a touchdown in the second half past Norman Hayes #7 of the Harvard Crimson during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Tyler Varga #30 of the Yale Bulldogs reaches for a touchdown in the second half past Norman Hayes #7 of the Harvard Crimson during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Scott Peters #44 of the Harvard Crimson celebrates following his interception with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter against the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Scott Peters #44 of the Harvard Crimson celebrates following his interception with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter against the Yale Bulldogs during the game at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Conner Hempel #14 of the Harvard Crimson celebrates on the field with fans following their 31-24 win against the Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Conner Hempel #14 of the Harvard Crimson celebrates on the field with fans following their 31-24 win against the Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Harvard Crimson fans celebrate after rushing the field following their 31-24 win against the Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 22: Harvard Crimson fans celebrate after rushing the field following their 31-24 win against the Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Stadium in their 131st meeting on November 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  A general view before a game between the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: A general view before a game between the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a diving catch for a first down as Brandon Browner #39 of the New England Patriots defends during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a diving catch for a first down as Brandon Browner #39 of the New England Patriots defends during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots carries the ball after a catch during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots carries the ball after a catch during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions passes the ball during the first quater against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions passes the ball during the first quater against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23:  LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots reacts after a game against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 23: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots reacts after a game against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 06: Darius Joseph #18 of the SMU Mustangs hurdles Javon Hadley #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in front of his teammate, Graham Stewart #2 in the second half after catching a pass during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

EAST HARTFORD, CT – DECEMBER 06: Darius Joseph #18 of the SMU Mustangs hurdles Javon Hadley #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in front of his teammate, Graham Stewart #2 in the second half after catching a pass during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 06:  Horace Richardson #9 of the SMU Mustangs intercepts a pass in front of Geremy Davis #85 of the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

EAST HARTFORD, CT – DECEMBER 06: Horace Richardson #9 of the SMU Mustangs intercepts a pass in front of Geremy Davis #85 of the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter during the game at Rentschler Field on December 6, 2014 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Dear Pittsburgh: I’m coming home.

Life doesn’t always go as planned…

…and sometimes that’s a really good thing.

If everything we asked for and chased after resulted in our ideal outcome, what fun would that be? As an artist, I’d never learn how to get better at my craft nor would we strive to become better people.

We would be stagnant and boring with nothing to surprise us.

Why am I bringing this up? Because my quality of life will soon be in a much better place: Pittsburgh.

This February I will be moving back home to the city of bridges.

I’ve been three years removed from the place that taught and gave me so much. And even in such a short time, it has changed a lot. Just ask my good friend and artist, Baron Batch, who is making things happen over at Studio AM in Homestead, a part of western Pennsylvania that is especially close to my heart. It’s where my grandfather, or ‘Pap’ as I called him, grew up and made his living for so many years. The same man who introduced me to the city, Three Rivers Stadium, and the Stillers.

Whereas Gerald Wickerham, or Pap, was executive director of the North Side Development Council working on constructing new offices and landmarks during the height of the steel industry, this generation of young creatives are finding ways to repurpose those same interiors with their own ideas designed for today’s world while still maintaining the blue-collar mentality.

One foot firmly planted in the past and the other proudly moving forward towards the future.

It’s exciting to have the opportunity to put my own stamp on a city that was molded by previous generations of my family. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy my time in Boston. I met some really great people, experienced historical moments, both good and bad, and made some pictures that I’m proud of. And for those things, I am truly grateful.

But it’s time to come home to the place I truly belong.

Being back in Pittsburgh is a feeling unlike any other. It’s a combination of the tangible and intangible moments. There is certainly a general sense of feeling welcome in such a friendly part of the world. But there’s also a self-confidence that comes with being in a place that is open to change and taking chances. There are no limits to what someone can accomplish in such a progressive place.

Don’t get me wrong – nothing will come easily. There will be a new set of challenges that await. But with the support of friends (let’s face it, they’re really family at this point) like Jeff & Beth Swensen, Justin Merriman, Stephanie Strasburg, Mickey & Molly Miller, Andy Russell, Jasmine Goldband, Baron Batch, Sean Beauford, and the rest of the folks I’ve missed dearly these last few years, I can’t go wrong.

And not to mention all of the Pamela’s hotcakes I can eat!

See yinz guys soon…

–Jared

A jockey looks on from the paddock area prior to the start of the ninth and final race at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A jockey looks on from the paddock area prior to the start of the ninth and final race at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

One of the best parts of freelancing is never knowing what assignment is around the corner. And thanks to Tanner Curtis, a great friend and one of the best assignment editors I’ve ever worked with, I was asked by the New York Times to cover what was likely the last day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston. And working with great writers, as I did with Jess Bidgood on this story, makes working all the more enjoyable.

A huge thank you to the folks over at the track for the amazing access and for opening their doors and hearts to in order to best tell their story!

Here is a link to the story by Jess: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/us/suffolk-downs-is-put-out-to-pasture.html?_r=0

And I’ll leave you with my favorite images from my day spent with these wonderfully interesting people and beautiful horses…

Exercise rider, William 'Junebug' Terry, 23, looks on from the horse stalls prior to the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Exercise rider, William ‘Junebug’ Terry, 23, looks on from the horse stalls prior to the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

5-year old Hidden Music stands in her stall prior to the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

5-year old Hidden Music stands in her stall prior to the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Trainer Ambrose Pascucci shares a moment with Ginger, a 6-year old foal, during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Trainer Ambrose Pascucci shares a moment with Ginger, a 6-year old foal, during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Patrons line up to place bets during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Patrons line up to place bets during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A young boy looks on from the finish line during the first race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A young boy looks on from the finish line during the first race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Willie Thornton, 74, a 48-year patron of Suffolk Downs racetrack, watches the races during the final day of live racing at the track in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Willie Thornton, 74, a 48-year patron of Suffolk Downs racetrack, watches the races during the final day of live racing at the track in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Felix Martinez, 71, cheers from the stands during the final day of live racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Felix Martinez, 71, cheers from the stands during the final day of live racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

 

Racing silks hang inside the jock's room at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Racing silks hang inside the jock’s room at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Racing silks and helmets hang on the jockey lockers inside the jock's room at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Racing silks and helmets hang on the jockey lockers inside the jock’s room at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Valet John Madeiros, 72, of East Providence, RI, cleans a jockey helmet inside the jock's room at Suffolk Downs racetrack during the final day of live horse racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Valet John Madeiros, 72, of East Providence, RI, cleans a jockey helmet inside the jock’s room at Suffolk Downs racetrack during the final day of live horse racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

The contents of jockey Luis Garcia's locker at shown in the jock's room at Suffolk Downs racetrack during the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

The contents of jockey Luis Garcia’s locker at shown in the jock’s room at Suffolk Downs racetrack during the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey Joseph Buchanan, 49, watches a replay of his race in the jock's room during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey Joseph Buchanan, 49, watches a replay of his race in the jock’s room during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey Joseph Buchanan, 49, washes his face in the jock's room following a race at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live horse racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey Joseph Buchanan, 49, washes his face in the jock’s room following a race at Suffolk Downs racetrack on the final day of live horse racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey, Pierre Tomas, gets changed in between races during the final day of live racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey, Pierre Tomas, gets changed in between races during the final day of live racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey, David Amiss, checks the schedule for the day in between races inside the jock's room during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Jockey, David Amiss, checks the schedule for the day in between races inside the jock’s room during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Exercise rider, Kenneth Houghton of Revere, smokes a cigarette while waiting for one of the final races to start at Suffolk Downs racetrack on its final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Exercise rider, Kenneth Houghton of Revere, smokes a cigarette while waiting for one of the final races to start at Suffolk Downs racetrack on its final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A group of horses leave the starting gate for the ninth and final race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A group of horses leave the starting gate for the ninth and final race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A fog settles in as a group of horses cross the finish line during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A fog settles in as a group of horses cross the finish line during the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Bingo Garcia of Dorchester yells at the television during a simulcast of a horse race on the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Bingo Garcia of Dorchester yells at the television during a simulcast of a horse race on the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Narsingh Bisnath of Lynn, a 20-year employee, sweeps up the discarded losing tickets on the floor of Suffolk Downs racetrack following the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Narsingh Bisnath of Lynn, a 20-year employee, sweeps up the discarded losing tickets on the floor of Suffolk Downs racetrack following the final day of live racing in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Patrons watch simulcasts of horse races in front of a group of televisions at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

Patrons watch simulcasts of horse races in front of a group of televisions at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A patron watches a simulcast of a horse race as employees leave the track following the final race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)

A patron watches a simulcast of a horse race as employees leave the track following the final race of the day at Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, Massachusetts on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Jared Wickerham for the New York Times)