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Tom Leininger July 24, 2014

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Story Time in my son Alex’s room. Denton, Texas 2012

Tom Leininger (b.1971, United States) knew he wanted to work in newspapers the first time he shadowed a photographer to a high school football game. After graduating from the University of Kansas’ William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, he moved to Indiana where he worked for 11 years as a daily newspaper photographer. Tom holds an MFA from the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. His photographs have been exhibited at the Photographic Center Northwest, McNeese State University, Texas Woman’s University, Rayko Photo Center and projected at the Annenberg Space for Photography among other venues. Currently, Tom is exploring the intersecting ideas of family and suburban life. He is also an adjunct instructor and photography lab manager at the University of North Texas as well as photography book reviewer for Photo-eye.

About the Photograph:

“I have been documenting the lives of my children from the moment of their births. In a way, they gave the joy of photography back to me. This was the initial spark that carried me into graduate school. When I started school, I was spending more time with the kids because of my schedule. This lead me to document their daily lives, as I would have as a journalist. As the children grow, the project changes. This project has changed as they grow and our lives change. Here is a moment I found after coming home from teaching a night class and found my wife Katrena reading to Sofia and Alex. I am interested in finding pictures that present aspects of life that are real and meaningful.”

Laura Morton July 7, 2014

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Debutante Ball in San Francisco, 2009

Laura Morton (b. 1984, USA) grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and began to pursue a career in photojournalism during her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Political Science and Journalism. Her personal work currently focuses on wealth and the way it affects those who have it. She has received a 2014 Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant and is a winner of the 2013 Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographers exchange. Her series The Social Stage was awarded in the 2012 PDN Photo Annual and was a winner of the 2013 Hearst 8X10 Photography Biennial. She is based in San Francisco where she is contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal and Getty Global Assignment.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken at a debutante ball in San Francisco. I wanted to explore coming-of-age rituals for women and was particularly drawn to debutante balls because of the deep-rooted history of these events. Historically their purpose was to introduce young women to society so that they could find suitable husbands. Today most of the events are focused on giving girls the confidence, connections and social skills to help them succeed in college and later on in their careers. It’s surprising to think about how the opportunities available to women in this country have changed in the last decades. I wanted to explore who these girls were and why they chose to participate in what is often described as an antiquated ritual. This photograph was taken just before the ball. You can see the debutantes and their escorts relaxing after long hours spent preparing for the festivities. I loved this scene because everyone seemed to be engrossed in their own thoughts. As a photographer, I’m particularly drawn to different layers and my favorite photos are often ones you have to study and linger on for a moment. When the employee from the hotel started setting up the chairs in the background, unnoticed by the debutantes and their escorts, I knew I’d gotten the shot I wanted.”

Bryan Schutmaat June 19, 2014

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Ellie, Wyoming 2010

Editor’s Note: I will be taking off for a two week summer break and leave you with Bryan’s photograph and backstory to reflect on. Happy solstice. New postings will continue on July 7th. ~ Geoffrey Hiller

Bryan Schutmaat (b. 1983) is an American photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and overseas. He has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Aperture Portfolio Prize, Center’s 2013 Galllerist’s Choice Awards, the 2013 Daylight Photo Awards, and the 2011 Carl Crow Memorial Fellowship, among many others. In 2014 Bryan was selected for PDN’s 30 new photographers to watch; in 2013, Dazed Magazine named Bryan one of Paris Photo’s “breakout stars,” and he was chosen as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation. His first monograph, Grays the Mountain Sends, was published by the Silas Finch Foundation in 2013 to international critical acclaim. His photos can be found in the permanent collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. He lives in Austin, Texas and is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City.

About the Photograph:

“The process for this photo was entirely different than all the other portraits in Grays the Mountain Sends, and, in a way, I don’t consider it part of the project. In the book, it comes after the colophon – a sort of coda that comes just before the book is closed. ‘Ellie’ is photo I very much had in my mind before I made it – an homage to both Eggleston and the poet Richard Hugo. I’ve talked a lot about Richard Hugo as an influence, especially his poem, Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg. It’s a somewhat bitter, hopeless poem, but the final few lines are uplifting: The car that brought you here still runs. / The money you buy lunch with, / no matter where it’s mined, is silver / and the girl who serves you food is slender and her red hair lights the wall. So my photo of the red haired girl is borrowed entirely from that last line, and she’s a ray of hope at the end of an otherwise pretty sad series. Like I said, I definitely had this photo in mind. I searched all over the American West for my red-haired waitress, or any waitress who had an illuminative presence.”

“There was a young waitress I found in Wyoming who was wonderful– the way she talked to the guys who came in, laughing and teasing with them. She made their days better. She was beautiful too. I made her portrait, but the picture I took didn’t evoke the right feeling. It was too direct, and she became a protagonist alongside the men, rather than the embodiment of this fleeting enchantment I felt when I imagined Hugo’s redhead. It would be better to have my photo distilled to the symbolic red hair, and I wanted her anonymous – not a portrait of her but what she resembled. I didn’t want her fulfilling happiness, but rather just giving a small taste of it so that the men’s struggle within the narrative would still remain when the book has ended.”

“At any rate, the picture I ended up making that worked was not a real waitress (a fact I try not to broadcast), though she was a stranger to me. I her met her in a bar in the early evening. It was a weekday, and she was alone in the outdoor portion of the bar, reading a book. Of course I was drawn immediately to her hair. We had a short, awkward conversation, and I explained to her that I would love to take her picture. We exchanged numbers and met up some days later at a nearby diner I had scouted out beforehand. The owner let us come in after hours and we borrowed his apron and notepad. This setup was strange to me at the time, because all the other portraits in the series were taken in a relatively rigid documentary vein. In no other instance did I photograph people in places other than where I encounter them (unless if I was invited into their homes, which are always excellent places to make portraits). This photo, however, was so refreshing to make, because I freed myself and imposed my will entirely, and I think it was an instrumental experience to my process moving forward.”

Andy Freeberg June 12, 2014

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Spinello, Pulse New York Art Fair, 2010

Andy Freeberg (b.1958 New York, NY) graduated from the University of Michigan. He began his photography career in New York taking portraits for such publications as Rolling Stone, Time, and Fortune, photographing the likes of Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, and Neil Young. Andy has recently emerged on the contemporary art scene as a wry commentator on the art industry itself. His series Guardians, won the Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. He is represented by the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York. His work is in many collections including SFMOMA, MFA Boston, and the George Eastman House. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

About the Photograph:

This photograph was taken at the Pulse New York art fair in 2010. It’s from a project on the big art fairs and the pictures focus on the dealers and gallery workers in their booths. The guy on the left is the Miami gallery owner Anthony Spinello and he’s sitting with the artist Zachari Logan. I was walking through the fair and went into Spinello’s booth and noticed the larger than life size nude paintings. When I came back 20 minutes later, there they were sitting and talking at the desk. Their positioning was quite a gift. I took a few frames and moved on, they didn’t notice me. The pictures were taken between 2009-2011 at the big contemporary art fairs in Miami and Basel, Switzerland and also in New York during the Armory Show. Most of the photographs in the series are completely candid. I was trying to document the scene, the styles the market, the current technology of this crazy art world. The series was recently released as a book titled, Art Fare by Sojourn Books.”

Jenny Riffle June 5, 2014

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Washington State 2011

Jenny Riffle (b. 1979, United States) received her MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and her BA in photography from Bard College in 2001. Jenny received the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grant in 2013 and the juror’s award at Newspace Center for Photography’s 2012 juried show for her project Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting. Her work was has been shown at Newspace and will travel to RayKo Photo Center, San Francisco and The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins in 2014. She is currently living in Seattle where she teaches at the Photo Center Northwest .

About the Photograph:

“This photo is part of a series called The Sound of Wind, a re-appreciation of the northwest through my memories of it and my present experiences. It was shot on Thanksgiving day 2011 when my boyfriend and I were driving from Seattle to his mother’s house on the Olympic Peninsula with our friend in the backseat. Right before we got to Tacoma the car broke down. It was cold and wet outside, so we sat inside the car waiting for the tow truck to come get us.”

“I spent a lot of time in cars when I was a child because my parents split up and lived in different towns that were three hours apart. Time in the car was always a time to switch from one life to another, from mom’s house to dad’s, a time to think, to stare out the window and watch the world go by. After growing up and leaving the Northwest to live elsewhere, I found that once I moved back I appreciated the Northwest with new eyes. All these memories of childhood surfaced and I wanted to drive through the Cascade Mountain Range and run around in the forests of my youth.”

“Photography has the ability to play with memory, and in this case, this photo is of the experience that I went through with my friends waiting for the tow truck, but it also captures the experience of my childhood self riding around in the back seat of the car. In all of my portraits, I like to create a narrative. Not necessarily a specific narrative relevant to the moment captured, instead I like to capture an introspective moment or feeling that invites the viewer into the image, bringing their own memories and experiences to it.”

Curran Hatleberg May 26, 2014

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West Virginia 2011

Curran Hatleberg (b.1982, United States) is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Yale University. His work has been exhibited most recently at Know More Games Gallery and The Camera Club of New York. Curran’s photographs have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Slate and 0_100 Editions. His photographs have been shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City and are included in the Williams College Museum of Art and the Davidson Art Center at Wesleyan University. Curran is the recipient of the Richard Benson Prize for excellence in photography. He currently teaches photography at Yale University.

About the Photograph:

“I met Zach in the summer on the Guyandotte River. He didn’t say much, but was polite and eager to laugh. One humid afternoon, we drove up the steep, lush ridges above town to his house and family. We ate fresh blackberry pie and smoked cigarettes in the kitchen. We ate so long it got dark and  watched TV while dogs and children flashed in and out of the rooms. Later, they showed me an old family graveyard down the road. I could hear cicadas screaming in the trees. Someone’s flashlight caught a goose, waddling alone under the moonless night. Everybody laughed. As I was leaving to go back to town, they made me take the remaining pie and a two-gallon bag of berries.”

Carlotta Cardana May 22, 2014

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Julian and his son Elijah, Fort Yates, North Dakota, 2013

Carlotta Cardana (b. 1981, Italy) is a portrait and documentary photographer based in London. After obtaining a degree in theater and performing arts and a photography diploma, she lived in Argentina and Mexico City. In 2013 she was named “Discovery of the Year” at the Lucie Awards and was shortlisted for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards and Lens Culture Exposure Award. Her photographs has been exhibited at Photo L.A., in the New York Photo Awards exhibition, the Portrait Salon in London and at the Royal Photographic Society. Cararlotta’s Mod Couples series has been featured in The Guardian Weekend, D Repubblica and Rolling Stone. Parallel to her photographic practice, she works  as music video director and cinematographer in short films and commissioned social documentaries.

About the Photograph:

“This image shows Julian, 27, a Native American from the Sioux tribe, holding his one-year-old son Elijah. Shortly after the baby was born, Elijah’s mother left and Julian is now raising Elijah on his own. Long hair is a matter of pride among Native Americans. Julian has never cut his son’s hair and says that Elijah will not be allowed to do so until he turns 13. The photograph is part of my most recent personal project, which intends to explore the role of traditional identity in the daily struggle of Native Americans living on reservations. Having their cultural practices and language almost vanished by the various attempts at assimilation, the tribal peoples suffer a sort of forced segregation at the very bottom of American society. On every indicator, from the 88% unemployment to the worlds second lowest life expectancy, the reservations stand as Third World islands in the biggest economy on earth. This project, however, would like to depart from the gritty depiction of these issues common in other works on the subject. By portraying American Indians in a positive light and exploring how they rediscover and use pride as a tool for survival and advancement.”

Ellen Jacob May 15, 2014

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Rita and Jacob, Central Park, New York 2010

Ellen Jacob (b.1955, New York) picked up an Kodak Instamatic camera when she was 12 years old. She started her career as an art director for the advertising agencies BBDO and Grey and was a creative lead in children’s publishing and head of her own book design and packaging company. Ellen is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant and a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. She holds a BFA with honors from Pratt. Her work has appeared in Slate, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post among others. Her photographs have been selected for exhibition by The Center for Fine Art Photography, F-Stop and the Soho Photo Gallery in New York.

About the Photograph:

“This image of Rita and Jacob is from Substitutes, a series of photographs of nannies and the children they care for. When I was young, a wonderful woman named Martha took care of me. She was black; I am white. I haven’t seen Martha for over 30 years, but I remember her face vividly. Substitutes is about the indelible impressions these women leave, and the persistent questions they raise about race, class, family, equality, love and much more. I made these photographs over four years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where I live. The women pushing the strollers are almost always black and the children white. I wondered why. Rita has known Jacob since he two weeks old. They play in Central Park almost every day. We met in the park on a warm June day and I made this photograph while waiting for Rachel, Jacob’s mom, to join them.

Rita has been a nanny for more than 25 years. She says she has cared only for white children. Like virtually all the women of color who are nannies here, Rita says race doesn’t matter. ‘I just see them as kids, as babies. Not like, oh, you black, you yellow…. No, I just see them as kids, babies. And, you know, I love them; I give them my love…’ Rachel is very grateful for the love Rita and her son share: ‘It’s just such a great thing. You don’t have to worry at all. I leave him with her, and it’s like he doesn’t even care that we leave.”

Giles Clarke May 8, 2014

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From the series, ‘Toxic Gumbo’ Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2013

Giles Clarke (1965, England) started taking pictures in Berlin in the mid-eighties where he lived for three years. He worked as a professional black and white photographic printer for many top London based fashion and advertising photographers and in 1995 moved to New York where he began an intense year in the Richard Avedon studio. Since September 2011, Giles has been heavily involved with documenting the ‘Occupy’ movement all over the world, and recently won awards for his coverage of ‘Occupy Sandy’. His work has appeared in VICE, CNN, The Guardian and The Nation. Giles is a featured photographer with ‘Reportage by Getty’.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is part of a story called Toxic Gumbo – a project about the devastating effects of big industry in an area known as ‘cancer alley’ that runs north of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. The cancer rates in this part of Louisiana are amongst the highest in the entire United States but with toxic emissions climbing annually and with more huge refineries slated for construction, this area is surely doomed to yet higher rates of cancer-related deaths. Micheal, the man in the photo lives directly over from one of the Exxon Mobile plants just north of Baton Rouge. He rears hogs and burns others people’s trash on Sunday’s when the fire marshal’s don’t work. I was standing shin deep in a watery oil slush when I took this photograph.”

Cassi Alexandra April 17, 2014

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Gaza political rally, Orlando , Florida 2009

Cassi Alexandra (b. 1986 United States) is a New York based Photojournalist and Editor, born and raised in Florida where she graduated from the Southeast Center of Photographic Studies and The University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in Photography. She had her start in photojournalism at The Orlando Sentinel in 2009, and quickly after became a contributor for The New York Times. After graduating in 2010 she gained valuable experience at The Flint Journal and The Saginaw News in Michigan. In March 2011 she moved to Brooklyn, New York where she continues to shoot and edit for various news organizations.

About the Photograph:”

“This was on one of my first photojournalism assignments while shadowing staff photographer Jacob Langston at The Orlando Sentinel. Shortly after arriving at the Gaza Rally in Downtown Orlando I began weaving in and out of the people taking as many images as my finger could snap while Jacob, a seasoned photographer took images with precision and thought. I couldn’t stop myself. It was the most energy I had been around in a shooting atmosphere. I was like a kid in a candy store, running around to try every angle. After going through the take several times and then with classmates at Daytona State College this image was finally selected. It wasn’t till I began editing others work that I was able to see the gems from my shooting. This is the day I fell in love with photojournalism and realized it was exactly what I wanted to spend my life doing.”

Taylor Emrey Glascock April 10, 2014

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Trenton, Missouri 2013

Taylor Emrey Glascock (b. 1989, USA) graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 2011. While in school she worked as a set photographer for feature films “V/H/S” and “You’re Next,” both of which received wide theatrical release and international distribution. After graduation, she interned at The Dallas Morning News, The Columbus Dispatch and the Peoria Journal Star. She is the creator of the sites Sh*t Photojournalists Like and SunTimes/DarkTimes, and has been featured on Wired, 10,000 Words, and Huffington Post. Her photographs have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo while I was at the 65th Missouri Photo Workshop in Trenton, Missouri, earlier this fall. A group of 20 photographers descended upon a small Missouri town, each do a story. What makes it different from other workshops is that you have to find your own project. It’s a lot of rejection and heartbreak, but ultimately so refreshing. I did my story on Kyle Roderick, a 17-year-old on the verge of dropping out of high school. I’ve always been drawn to photographing young people because I think it’s such a weird transitional phase in life. I met Kyle through the school district’s superintendent, and we immediately hit it off. Kyle worked two jobs, one of them at McDonald’s. I had already spent time behind the counter and didn’t think there was much else I could mine from the situation. Before I made this picture, I was sitting in my car, waiting for him to get off work. I originally wasn’t even going to get out of the car because I was parked right next to him. I’m so glad I did though, because when he and his manager walked outside, this moment happened. I have two frames of this situation and then it was over.”

Ciril Jazbec March 31, 2014

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From a story about climate change. Shishmaref Island, Alaska 2012

Ciril Jazbec (b.1987, Slovenia) studied management at the Faculty of Economics before moving to London where he graduated from the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program at the London College of Communication in 2011. His photographs have been published in: GEO Germany, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Marie Claire Italy, La Repubblica, WIRED UK and National Geographic Traveler. Ciril’s work has been recognized by Les Rencontres d’Arles- Photo Folio Review Award, (2013), Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Eddie Adams Workshop- National Geographic Award (2013), VISA Pour L’Image Perpignan – Coup de coeur ANI (2013), the PDN Photo Annual Student Work (2012) and a finalist for the Lens Culture Exposure Awards (2013).

About the Photograph:

“I was on assignment for Geo in the northwest corner of Alaska working on story about Shishmaref island. This photo was taken on a hunting trip with a local family. Mother Nora is explaining to her sons Kenny and Corben where to look for reindeer during a boat-ride up the Serpentine River. Hunting requires great focus and a good eye, as the wildlife in the tundra knows how to hide from hunters. The photo series documents the daily life in the community as it is today and the disappearing traditional ways in a village facing an uncertain future.”

“Shishmaref is a modern Inupiaq Eskimo community that has found itself in the path of climate change. The island lies in the Chukchi Sea that stretches from Alaska to Siberia. The island is threatened by erosion, storms and inclement weather, as well as by the thawing of permafrost, which lies below a thin layer of soil.”

Natalie Keyssar March 17, 2014

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Dancehall party, Brooklyn 2013

Natalie Keyssar (b. 1984, USA) received her BFA in Painting and Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2009, she began to pursue photojournalism, which fused her love for visual storytelling with her deep interest in social justice. She is currently a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent, a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, and works for a variety of other publications and organizations. Much of her personal work has focused on the themes of class inequality, and the cultures on the fringes of society. She was a 2013 Global Post Fellow for the “Burma Telling Its Own Story” project in Myanmar. Her work has been recognized with awards from American Photography 29, the NPPA, and The International Color Awards.

About the Photograph

“This is a picture from an ongoing project about the the Caribbean dancehall scene in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and the lives of the youth who are involved in it. The work explores a range of themes, from gender and sexuality and its expression in this form of dance, to the violence which seems to penetrate the lives of so many of these youth despite their best attempts to keep things positive and productive. Following these young dancers has lead me in several directions, many far outside the nightclubs where the project started, but I never cease to be amazed by the power and raw energy that they channel when they start moving together.”

“I shot this at a dancehall party around 3 a.m. on March 22nd, 2013, in East Flatbush, around the time the dance teams really get going and start competing with each other for the spotlight of the party videographers who post footage from the events on the internet. The energy of the crowd builds up and their focus comes together, first on one crew, then another. There’s an electricity that escalates as one group works to top the last, and their feet are moving in unison through steps that they work on every day, in their living rooms, and basements, and bedrooms. Dancehall music plays a complex role for youth growing up in what is often a very difficult environment. At times it seems to reinforce objectifying roles for women, and aggressive posturing for men, yet I’ve also come to see it as an important outlet, and a source of real empowerment, with roots in Caribbean Culture. In so many ways the system is failing these kids, and through this subculture they’re creating a space where they can strive for perfection and relieve some stress.”

Eve Edelheit March 6, 2014

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Grand Prairie, Texas 2012

Eve Edelheit (b.1988, United States) is a photojournalist based in St. Petersburg, Florida who is currently working at the Tampa Bay Times. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Photojournalism she went to photojournalism internships at The Chautauquan Daily, The Peoria Journal Star, The Dallas Morning News and the Tampa Bay Times. She also studied at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. Her work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and the Hearst Journalism Awards. She was accepted into the XXIV class of the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011 and was recently awarded the Nikon Emerging Professional Scholarship Award at the 65th Missouri Photo Workshop.

About the Photograph

“This photo is from a larger project about Jonathan Cook who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. In the photo his mother Janette reads the labels on different breakfast meats while grocery shopping with Jonathan shortly after he got out of the hospital in February 2012. Jonathan was weak after getting out of the hospital and didn’t feel up to walking around the store so he rode in a motorized cart. One thing colitis has in common with other chronic diseases in children, is how helpless it can make parents feel. Due to several of the medications he was on and his new serious condition, Jonathan’s diet became very limited. His new dietary restrictions became a constant struggle for the family as they began to realize how limited their food options were for not only Jonathan, but their entire family as their grocery bill began to exponentially increase.”

“This was the first project I had the opportunity to photograph for a longer period of time and learned what it truly meant to follow the journey of a story. The story I originally pitched to my editor never happened and I was reminded that we can’t try and predict or pre-visualize what we want to have happen in a story. You’ll get frustrated and miss what’s happening right in front of you. Due to various changes in his diet and new medications. Jonathan gained 35 pounds in a four month period after getting out of the hospital – some of which was to get him back to his normal body weight after not eating for two weeks.”

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