This weekend marks 5 years since I started this website and my Facebook page to share my photos and writing. The goal — then and now — was to tell stories through words and images while building a business that focuses on creative expression. Thanks to all who have supported this journey. Tell your friends to join in, and enjoy the work!
Currently showing posts tagged Anniversary
As they were coming off stage at the Tony Awards, Ben photobombed Amy Schumer and Carey Mulligan with a "Hi, Mom" on our wedding anniversary. Surreal.
Four years ago today, I formally started my business with this photo, which was taken during a Memorial Day trip to New York City. Clicking the shutter that day, in May 2013, I did not know I would be unemployed in a week.
After 30 years in journalism and communications, moving from job to job and seeing professional growth with each position, being laid off left me — and my family — adrift. I knew I had to do something, but prospects in an ever-changing publishing world were limited. Also, having worked for the same company for 12 years, I had seen a once vigorous operation slowly succumb to financial and organizational erosion, and I wasn't sure I wanted to face that prospect again.
Being on your own has its downsides. You rarely know what the next day will bring. Stability is elusive. You can work 24-7 without batting an eye. You have to rely on the faith of others (especially family and close friends) and word of mouth. And you have to hope that your work is not just good, but good enough, so clients will pass along your name.
Knowing these things, I formally launched this photography and freelance writing business five weeks after losing my job. Working on this website over the Fourth of July holiday, I launched my Facebook page on July 7, 2013.
And here we are, four years and more than 12,000 photos later, having slowly but steadily built a client base that I can only hope will continue to grow. Thankfully, I've had the opportunity to branch off into all sorts of things, meet a wide range of new (and usually fascinating) people, and have the types of experiences I dreamed about while sitting at an office desk all those years.
The creative malaise I dealt with for 2+ years in my previous position — an apt visual analogy is 1,000 small but painful paper cuts — has never returned. If anything, I feel more creative and engaged than ever.
As a storyteller, one who uses images and words to tell his tales, these last four years have been a lifeline. And I know, without question, I could not do this if it weren't for my wife, Jill, and my families (biological and otherwise).
I'm eternally grateful for your help, support, comments and feedback along the way. Thank you, and I hope you'll keep coming back to visit/use my services.
Peaceful view — outside Moab, Utah, August 2016
So, after 21 years, our marriage is officially an adult. Four children, including three within the first two years of marriage, are enough to challenge anyone. But we've made it this far and now get to enjoy some precious time with each other, such as today's Nats game. It's wonderful to go through this life with someone you consider your best friend. I love you, Jill!
Some of my favorite people in this world celebrate their birthdays today, but one in particular stands out. I love you, Jill Cook, with all my heart and soul. Thank you for being the centerpiece of life's greatest adventure: our family.
The best part is that we're celebrating it — along with our 20th anniversary — in Venice, Italy!
#anniversarytour #whodathunkit #grownkidsyay
Jill and I have been married 20 years. The number of vacations we have taken together, just the two of us, is in the single digits. (That's what happens when you have three kids in a year early on in the marriage.)
For the past several days, we've been in Moab, Utah, enjoying the incredible beauty of the American Southwest and taking some much needed down time together. Hiking (she's in much better shape than I am), a river ride, sightseeing, taking pictures (far too many), bumping into a good friend in a random place, eating, drinking, napping and sleeping (enough of some, not enough of others). It has been great.
And, with a few more days in Utah, now it's time for work again for both of us. Time always flies fastest when you wish it wouldn't, but I'm beyond grateful for the time we've had this past week.
20 years. Where has the time gone? It has flown by so fast, and today, our last child finishes her last day of high school and goes to prom.
20 years of memories, travels, adventures, happy times and (a few) heartbreaks. Four young adults we've worked to raise.
20 years. Happy anniversary to the great love of my life. Here's to many more adventures together.
The formal opening of the "Newsies" tour was one year ago tonight in Philadelphia. Now, almost 400 performances later, a new cast of principals is in place and life on the road continues for the youngest in our crew. (And if you don't believe that time truly does fly, next week marks four years since the start of the "Billy Elliot" tour.)
Celebrating the two-year anniversary — more than 700 images later — of the Daily Photo with the first image I posted to mark the launch of my Facebook photo page (www.facebook.com/ourrealityshow) and this website. Taken in Central Park in 2013.
Hard to believe it's been 19 years (what an adventure) — with Jill Cook in New York City, April 2015
18 years ... And many more to come. Thank you for joining and taking me on the adventure of a lifetime — I love you, Jill!
Peter and Diane Buccieri celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a surprise visit from their three children and grandchildren at their home in Potomac Falls in April 2014. I was asked to take family photos — including a group shot of all 17 — by their daughter, Kim, on the day before Easter. For more photos from the event, go to my "People" page and click here.
Ben ended his run in "Billy Elliot" in Las Vegas. What a long, strange year it's been...
Even the architect who designed it called it “a wonderful ruin.” And that it is.
Last month, several friends and I were among the more than 2,500 people who went to the site of the 1964-65 World’s Fair to gawk at the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The rusted, vandalized structure was celebrated as the city marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
The abandoned pavilion, with its three round towers designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, will be open again this weekend as New York celebrates the anniversary of an event that evokes strong feelings of nostalgia for Baby Boomers but holds little relevance for those who weren’t born at the time.
More than 50 million visitors came for a glimpse of the future at the fair, which featured heavy corporate sponsorship that is commonplace today. You can hear people talk about DuPont’s Wonderful World of Chemistry, General Electric’s Carousel of Progress, and life-size dinosaurs sponsored by Sinclair Oil Corp.
“It was a real period of optimism, that life was good in the ’60s, but it was going to be great going forward,” Bill Cotter, a world’s fair historian in Los Angeles, told Reuters in a story published this week. “Unfortunately, life has not turned out to be quite as utopian as the fair.”
In many respects, the New York State Pavilion mirrors the decline of the World’s Fair. Closed for decades, it has narrowly escaped being torn down while Queens leaders try to decide what to do with the iconic structure. The April 22 ceremony was designed to draw attention to the pavilion, which was designated a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Hopes are that the designation and attention surrounding the World’s Fair anniversary will result in the restoration of the pavilion, which includes the “Tent of Tomorrow.” The massive 350-foot by 250-foot “Tent,” which is surrounded by 16 100-foot columns and adjoining towers that stand 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet, definitely has seen better days.
In late 2013, the New York Parks and Recreation Department released a study showing the cost to stabilize the site would be about $43 million. Turning it into a multi-use facility would cost $72 million.
The walk to the pavilion provided an opportunity to visit and photograph some of the other sites at the park, which was the site of both the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs. Among them was the 140-foot-tall, 700,000-pound, stainless steel globe that you can still see from as far away as Laguardia Airport.
Already in New York, I made plans to go to the pavilion with my photo buddy, Bernadette Jusinski, and Ginno Murphy, Ben’s former guardian/our ”other son.” A friend, Joel Newsome, accompanied us on the journey, and we saw another friend, Michael Zorek, who came with his family.
We didn’t know what to expect when we left on the subway from Manhattan. Would anyone be there? Crowds were expected to be in the hundreds. When we arrived, the line snaked throughout the park.
Despite waiting for more than two hours, we never made it into the pavilion, where you could gaze at the rust and pieces of the terrazzo floor, which once featured a huge map of New York state but has since been damaged by vandals and exposure to the elements.
By mid-afternoon, we had to leave. Work schedules and a train ride back to Virginia dictated an end to the day, and the dedication ceremony ran late. Still, it was worth it to see the love people still feel for a more innocent time.
And it was a reminder that nostalgia is always in style.
For more photos, check out my Facebook album here.
My parents, John and Olivia Cook, the month of their 40th wedding anniversary — March 2004. Today marks 50 years since they married.
For the past couple of weeks, as the coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has moved into full 24/7 media frenzy, I’ve thought about addressing it here. And I don’t know how.
Memories that I thought had receded have rushed back like the floodwaters that hit Northern Virginia earlier this week. But my perspective is personal, not societal, and my memories by comparison are nothing next to the feelings that others must be experiencing today.
I remember it like it was yesterday, just like you do. I know what I was doing when the first call came in, just like I remember vividly seeing the Challenger explode in the sky 15 years earlier, or where we were when the levees broke in New Orleans four summers after my generation’s Pearl Harbor.
I remember frantically trying to call my family — I was in Pennsylvania writing a story, Jill was in Virginia, my parents were in Texas. I remember the eerie silence when I returned home the next evening, and how it lingered until planes were allowed to fly again from National Airport.
I remember the pledges of cooperation among our political leaders, and the vows to track down the people who had done this. And how that spirit of cooperation — that feeling that we all are in this together — didn’t last, at least among our members of Congress.
I remember riding my bike to the Pentagon and to Arlington Cemetery at 7:30 a.m. on the first anniversary of 9/11, pulled there by something but silent even then.
I remember the first time we took our kids to the World Trade Center site, reading the names of the missing and dead on a cold winter day two years after it happened. I remember how my stomach sank as we scanned the list, just as it did when I walked through the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., for the first time at age 18.
I remember reading about and watching — with a mixture of insatiable curiosity and morbid fascination — the first season of “Rescue Me,” the show about the brave but damaged firefighters suffering from survivor’s guilt after making it through 9/11.
I remember revisiting the story I was writing on 9/11/01 for the fifth anniversary, determined to do it justice even as I was taking on a new job.
I remember the death of my second “mom” — Fran — on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, just six weeks after my dad’s death.
I remember sitting in the assistant principal’s office at Ben’s new school two years ago, having just moved him to New York, and listening as the administrators debated the exact times to have moments of silent reflection. I remember leaving the school and walking to a memorial service honoring those killed from the Engine 54 station down the street.
I remember the little boy standing quietly, dressed in his FDNY dress blues and hat, not saying a word. I remember how his mom held the boy — who likely was a baby when 9/11 occurred — tightly to her and how he turned to give her a hug when the ceremony ended.
Leave the commentary to the pundits. Watch what you will — or don’t. I saw what I needed to see when that boy hugged his mom.
On a day like this, these moments of self reflection — realizing just how fortunate I am to be where I am and to have the family and friends that I do, thanks to the selfless sacrifice of others — are enough.
I don’t know what else to say…