[December 19, 2022 Note: Here’s a link to the 24 photographs that I entered in the Smithsonian Magazine’s 2022 Photo Contest: 2022 Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest AJG’s APPROVED photos. Each image includes a caption (with photo details). The photos posted below – with the exception of two images inserted in the P.S. – are included in this grouping.]
Thanks to the challenges of my 46-year legal career, I am not particularly fearful of entering a “contest” where the chances of victory may be slim. This approach extends to my favorite hobby, taking snapshots of the world around me with my smartphone. For the second year in a row, I have entered the Smithsonian Magazine’s annual photo contest (which hosts images taken by thousands of professionals and amateurs from around the world).
“The American Experience” is one of six categories available to a photographer, intended to capture, “Events, objects or activities connecting the American people to their history or their cultural heritage; photographs that tell us what it means to be an American and provide a sense of what it is like to live in this country.” I submitted 9 or 10 entries in this category, ranging from the intentionally silly, to the profoundly heartbreaking.
Given the unlikelihood that my photos will gain exposure by winning a prize or honorable mention, I thought I’d share them with the readers of my underdog blog.
East Aurora’s “Vidler on the Roof” ignores approaching storm
Vidler’s, “America’s largest 5 & 10 variety store,” attracts tourists to quintessential small town East Aurora. It continues to thrive thanks to the village’s rejection of Wal-Mart in the mid-1990s. A larger-than-life Vidler on the roof, oblivious to an approaching storm, greets customers.
Snow-capped picnic tables in South Buffalo (hopefully, available next spring)
Buffalo’s harsh, long winters motivate locals to spend as much time as possible outdoors the rest of the year. Neighborhood taverns have outdoor tables. These 3 picnic tables were nearly buried when a Nov. storm dropped 4 feet of snow. Hopefully they’ll be usable next Spring.
“Doughnut Tree” maintains its dignity (and beauty)
“Little Ukraine House” in Buffalo NY
Orange-clad walkers and Seneca casino tower proclaim “Every Child Matters” (N.F., NY)
Participants in the annual walk, in memory of the lives lost and horrors at Indigenous boarding schools, approach the Seneca casino tower, which was appropriately proclaiming “Every Child Matters” while aglow with the sunset’s golden hue.
Indigenous grandfather and grandson walk to remember Every Child (N.F., NY)
Indigenous peoples on both sides of US/Canadian border commemorate lost and traumatized victims of “Indian boarding schools” on Sept. 30. This Tonawanda Seneca elder and his grandson join the orange-shirt walkers in Niagara Falls USA.
“PeacePrints” honor the lives of victims of Buffalo’s 5/14/22 supermarket massacre
On 5/14/22, ten human beings, just going about their lives, were slain in a racially-motivated massacre at TOPS Supermarket on Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo NY. Soon thereafter, the life of each victim was memorialized in a row of PeacePrint doves, planted beneath unavoidable yellow police tape.
Memorial for 10 victims of Buffalo’s racially-motivated mass murder
Front Porch display of defiance and white supremacy in South Buffalo (5/17/22)
Ten Blacks tragically lost their lives in a racially-motivated massacre in Buffalo NY on 5/14/22. Public calls for restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic weapons immediately followed. In an apparent response, one Buffalo household defiantly displayed symbols of white supremacy and hatred.
“This is Our City” sign at Buffalo NY unity walk
With All Due Respect,
P.S. I would like to have entered the following images in the Smithsonian contest, but the first one did not meet the minimum-pixel-width requirement, and I did not know how to go about obtaining the “model releases” required by Smithsonian Magazine from all the people whose faces are visible in the second picture.
Indigenous dancer at Strawberry Moon festival in ArtPark (Lewiston, NY)
Children participate in Haudenosaunee “Tree of Life” planting on Indigenous Peoples Day (Rochester, NY)