27 Years Ago…

I’ve been feeling a bit melancholic of late. I wasn’t sure why, until my late friend’s sister posted a picture in memory of him. That post reminded me that it’s been 27 years since my friend passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident. My friend Jim, who I had known since 5th grade, (about the time we were in cub scouts) spent almost every day in high school with, and thought of his family as mine, and he the same.

I couldn’t believe it, but there it was in print in the newspaper where I worked. Written by a reporter friend. “Collision, fiery blast kills cyclist” I had heard about the accident the morning before, still didn’t believe it. There it was though, like a smack to the face saying, yeah, it’s true. It happened. 

Almost every day of 7th grade, at lunch, Jim and our friend Mike would duke it out at lunch to see who was toughest. It was funny, during the lunch period, it was war. As soon as lunch was over, just like before, they were the best of friends laughing and joking. That was Jim. Fiery spirit, but friend to the end with one heck of a sense of humor. No matter what.

As a motorcyclist myself, we had many conversations over the years about motorbike safety. He loved to race his motorcycle, fast. I wasn’t worried about his driving, but the other cars around him. I had once taken a spill on my bike, and since then was always a defensive rider. Jim was fast, but defensive. The accident that took his life would have been unavoidable for anyone. A car stalls on a highway, before you speed behind it without seeing it is hard to react. I later found out what caused the explosion from some of my police friends, but the end result was still the same. 

Once, when my tire literally fell off my car after someone at the shop where he worked supposedly fixed it, he knew I was shaken up, but said, “At least it wasn’t me that tried to kill you.” He later told me that he almost killed the guy that had worked on my car for almost killing his friend.

High school was no different than grade school or cub scouts. In high school we both decided we wanted to go to technical school. Jim to study auto mechanics and me art. Two weeks at home school and two weeks at tech school per month. We loved it. Jim was always into cars. And he was always the go to person if I ever had a question on how to fix something in my car. Could tell you the answer in two seconds. Always. We drove to school many days over those years. Listening to “Chicken Man” or the “DeBella Travesty.” I remember when he met his future wife, who was studying baking. Never saw him with a smile as big as that day. Well, maybe after his daughter’s birth. Another smile the size of Texas. 

“Run Jim, Run!!” It’s 11:30 am. We’ve just been let out of classes for the day. Every day, before we got our licenses to drive, Jim and I would run, full speed from Bishop Egan High School to the Levittown train station. 2 miles. We wanted to make the 11:55 am train that stopped in Cornwells Heights, which was maybe a mile from our homes. We did this for almost half a year. Raced each other to the train station. Never missed the train once. We cheered and encouraged each other not to slow down, but go faster. If we missed the train, the schoolbus wasn’t coming until 2:30PM. And we hated staying at school for any reason. So we would run as fast as we could.

On the fateful day, when I heard that my friend, at 27 years old, was gone leaving behind a wife and young 7 year old daughter I was in shock, disbelief and full of sadness. Jim was one of the people on this planet that I could see myself being friends with as long as we both lived. Saw it from 5th grade on. It, sadly wasn’t meant to be. 

In my life, I’ve made many friends over the years. 

Some friends come, some friends go. 

Some stick with you in your heart until the day you die.
To me, that is my friend Jim. He’ll be with me forever in spirit, but God, I wish he was still here.

27 years ago August 23 my friend passed away at 27 years old. 

Still feels like yesterday. 

Still hurts. 

Still makes me sad. 

Still makes me angry.

27 years after his death at 27 years old…

I still miss my friend.

Know Your Rights As A Photojournalist/Artist

Wow. Flabbergasted is what I am at this moment.

I posted the above image on a facebook group this morning and while most people (over 300) liked the image, a few small minded people had a problem with the image. They didn’t have a problem with the composition, color or anything but the fact that the subjects might be Mennonite and accusing me of violating the subjects rights when I photographed them on a public beach in plain view. The complaints did not come from the subjects of the image, but some small minded people who did not like the subject matter. They tried to tell me the image should be removed because Mennonites do not like to be photographed. As someone who has photographed Mennonite and Amish folks for that matter, I’ve never come across a problem with making pictures of younger folks. The older folks sometimes do take issue with being photographed, but these people certainly didn’t have a problem. They were on a public beach in plain view for all to see.

I made the image because it showed a group of friends enjoying the day and each others company a well as the beautiful Cape May beach. The colors popped in conjunction with the sky and the fact that they are small in the frame shows designed to imply the larger, and hopefully great things to come, in these individuals lives. It’s a pretty picture on a gorgeous day with nice color that merely documents the moment. 


To anyone who has a problem with this image, sorry you feel that way. As a photojournalist and artist, it is my right to make an image of anything I choose as long as it is in public view (which these people are). No laws are broken. No one’s rights have been violated (especially since the subjects are not identifiable). Well, maybe mine with the rude statements of some small minded individuals. The image is not being used commercially, but I do have every right in the world to use it editorially. And let me be clear, even if the subjects of this image had objected, I am well within my rights to make that picture and use it editorially. That said, if the subjects did object, I might not use the image. Did you read that? “MIGHT not.” Why? Because I am well within my rights whether those folks like it or not. 

You have no right to violate my rights as an artist because you don’t like the subject of an image I made that breaks no laws.

If you have a problem with it, that is YOUR problem, NOT MINE. 

Fifteen Years Later, Still The Same Nazi Idiots

VALLEY FORGE, PA – SEPTEMBER 25: An family of American Nazi party members arrives for an American Nazi rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of American Nazis from around the country were expected to attend. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Over the years I’ve photographed some sick stuff and strange people. One of the most haunting events I ever covered was an Anerican Nazi Party rally at, of all places, Valley Forge National Park in 2004. The hatred in these people makes no sense to me. To me, people are people, I don’t care what color or religion or political party. People are still just people. Not sure I can categorize these folks as people though. The first image with the kid on the fathers shoulder is just plain haunting. EVerytime I look at the expression on the kids face I think of Damien, from the Omen films back in the 70’s. I wonder if this child, who’d have to be at least 18 years old by now has learned top spew the hatred that his parents taught him. And I hope, he hasn’t become that way and learned to see people as people. My gut tells me he probably didn’t and the cycle of hatred continues.
The story behind my getting this pic is that I had to use the bathroom. For some reason, I left me camera around my neck. The park rangers kept us pretty much away from the activities that day, but I really had to take a leak. One of the rangers “escorted” me to the restroom. These idiots arrived late for the rally. Bam, I had my pic that represents the sadness I see here.
The second pic is just annoying. These people started to praise Hitler. And the dude started throwing his arm out. I got in his face and shot wide. Another crazy piece of madness.
Third shows some idiot holding a Nazi flag.
Sadly, this still exists today. Some day, maybe the world will grow up. And we can all live peacefully, in harmony. Roddenbery had a great idea, too bad we haven’t been smart enough to live that way. Some day…maybe. I hope. No, I pray….

VALLEY FORGE, PA – SEPTEMBER 25: A members of the Ku Klux Klan salutes during American Nazi Party rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of American Nazis from around the country were expected to attend. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)


… 📷:@cainimages #philadelphiaphotojournalist #photojournalist #photojournalism #pennsylvania #photography #photographer #portraits #editorial #documentary #reportage #americannazi #nazi #hatred #kkk #scary #peace #rally #sad

VALLEY FORGE, PA – SEPTEMBER 25: An American Nazi party member arrives carrying a Nazi flag for an American Nazi rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of American Nazis from around the country were expected to attend. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

One of the coolest..

One of the coolest things about being a photojournalist is the fact that I get to meet so many people from all walks of life.

While making picture of the sun setting over the Delaware Bay, a couple who had just moved into the neighborhood by my family’s home in Villas, NJ. They were trying to make a self portrait with an iPhone and the flash, to me, was obviously not powerful enough to overcome the light of the sun setting to light them in the foreground while still capturing the colorful sunset. Watching them, I had to interrupt and offer to make the picture for them. I tried using the iPhone, but as I thought the flash couldn’t cut it. So, I grabbed my Nikon D800, which had a much more powerful strobe on it.
So, I made the pix using my camera and flash thus filling in the foreground with enough light to cover them and still capture the light from the sun. Sometimes it helps to run into a professional.

How do I know they just moved in? I ask questions. Always asking questions. I can be very nosey, but that information helps me when making portraits of a subject that I do not know of understand. The reason that I do ask questions I so I can better tell a story. Anyhow here’s the pic.

RIP David Montgomery

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 31: Philadelphia Phillies President Dave Montgomery hold the World Series trophy during the World Championship Parade October 31, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first World Series in 28 years. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)


This is the way I remember Dave Montgomery. 

Looking happy as could be while holding that 2008 World Series Championship trophy after the Philadelphia Phillies defeated Tampa Bay to win their first championship since 1980. Montgomery, who in 1997 became the first home grown kid in over 60 years to run the team as president, deserved it. 

A class guy, well respected, wonderful man. He was always a pleasure to be around and always made us in the media laugh.

Sadly, Montgomery passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. 

I found out about his passing after this image I made while covering the parade in 2008 popped up on Facebook as his obituary photo. 

It’s an appropriate way to remember him. 

He loved baseball. 

He loved his Phillies. 

He loved Philadelphia. 

And we loved him. 

RIP David

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Sad news…

Very sad to just find out that Anne Donovan, women’s basketball hall of fame player and head coach, and wonderful person passed away last year of heart failure. Last time I had photographed her was for a USA Today sports feature in Beach Haven, New Jersey where she was spending time with her family before the start of basketball season. One of the things the assignment called for was a family portrait of Anne and 20 or so family members. She came from a very large tightly knit family. For years they would spend the same week at the beach together in their summer home. We had kept in touch for years after that shoot via email. I would hear from her at Christmas via an email card. Well, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from her last Christmas and today found out that was because she passed last June. Very sad news.
At Christmas of 2017 we exchanged Christmas email cards and I had mentioned to her that I was thinking about them that past summer when I was photographing a boot camp beach yoga story in Beach Haven.
She responded with, “I’m so humbled that you remember the Donovan Clan! We all have your photo blown up and framed in various places in our homes. So you are always close in spirit!” I wrote her back that the thought of the family having my images hanging on their walls put a smile on my face from here to Texas. Still does.
In all my years making pictures I had never met a more kind and professional coach. She always went out of her way to help with whatever my photo assignments called for an for that I will forever be grateful.
More then that though, I will never forget her friendship. A wonderful woman gone far far too soon. RIP my friend. You are missed.
Above is one of the portraits I made of her and her family. .
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Is Justice Really Served?

Jacob Patrick Sullivan, 44, of Horsham, arrives for his arraignment on 19 charges, including criminal homicide, rape, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and a number of related conspiracy counts Sunday January 8, 2017 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He is accused of conspiring with Sara Packer, Grace’s mother, to rape and kill the teen, dismembering her body and dumping her remains in a wooded area of Northeastern Pennsylvania, some 100 miles from where Grace lived in Abington Township. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/CAIN IMAGES)

In all of my years as a professional photojournalist, this, was the most horrific story I ever had to cover.

The morning of January 8, 2017 was very cold. Since 10 pm the night before, we waited outside freezing our butts off until 3am when police brought the guy in for his arraignment. The person arrested was Jacob Sullivan, 44, of Horsham, on 19 charges, including criminal homicide, rape, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and a number of related conspiracy counts. He was accused of conspiring with Sara Packer (who was arrested later that day, apparently without shaving her face), Grace Parker’s mother, to rape and kill the 14 year old, dismembering her body and dumping her remains in a wooded area of Northeastern Pennsylvania, some 100 miles from where the girl lived in Abington Township.

After months of investigation this monster was brought to justice.

Today, justice was served when a
jury sentenced him to death. My first thought upon hearing the sentencing was that it isn’t enough. A monster like that should have to suffer the same way his victim suffered. Then again, that’s not even enough. I wish there was a fate worse then death, and that this person had to suffer through it. Sadly, he will probably sit on death row for years before the execution ever takes place.

Although, I keep questioning if justice is really served. A young girl who, if she had lived, should be spending this spring deciding upon which college to eventually attend or thinking about summer vacations is no more. Dreams snuffed out for no reason other then some moron liked killing are gone. A hole is left in grandparents and friends lives that will never be filled.

Is justice really served? Is it?

Sister Josaphat Slobodian Creates Ukrainian Easter Eggs with Pysanky

Sister Josaphat Slobodian dyes an egg while she does Ukrainian eggs, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian dyes an egg while she does Ukrainian eggs, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

In May of 1990 I was working on a feature story for the Philadelphia Inquirer about the fact that nuns were getting older and new nuns were not taking their place. The 132 acre province was home to the dwindling order of Sisters of Saint Basil The Great in Glenside. I believe I spent a day and a half there making pictures. It was a time when newspapers would give a photojournalist the time needed to capture images that would illustrate a story and do it justice. They also allotted a good amount of space for it with the Neighbors sections.

Sister Josaphat Slobodan heats up an egg to melt wax while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysnaky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodan heats up an egg to melt wax while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysnaky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) 

 

While I was wandering around the motherhouse grounds I met a few nuns that were kind enough to allow me to hang with them as they went about their day. One sister tended to horses, another maneuvered a tractor across the lawn, one nun was tending her garden and yet another was washing outdoor furniture. Some of the nuns taught at St. Basil Academy. The one I have never forgotten is the sister I met in one of the buildings of Manor College. Upstairs far above the classrooms was an attic which Sister Josaphat Slobodian used as her workspace. There, every Easter, she made Ukrainian Easter Eggs with a technique referred to as “Pysanky.” According to pysanky.info, Pysanky is an Easter egg decorated using a wax resist (aka batik) method. Its name derives from the Ukrainian verb “pysaty,” meaning “to write. Design motifs on pysanky date back to pre-Christian times–many date to early Slavic cultures, while some harken to the days of the Trypillians, my neolithic ancestors, others to paleolithic times.”

 

Sister Josaphat Slobodian places wax on an egg while doing her Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian places wax on an egg while doing her Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

It is a really interesting process to watch. Sister Josaphat allowed me to hang around while she made the eggs. Some of the details in the eggs must have taken her hours to finish. They were so detailed with indicate patterns. I must say, it was some of the most inspiring art work I had seen in a while.

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sadly, Sister Josaphat passed away a few years ago. I just found that information out a few days ago. But with Easter coming, I thought it appropriate to share some of the images I made while she created her Ukrainian Easter Eggs May 1, 1990. A few days after I made these images, a small box showed up in the mail at the office. It held a very cool Ukranian Easter Egg that Sister Josaphat had made. It was one of the finished eggs in her collection that she noticed me admiring the day I was at the Motherhouse. In the box was a nice thank you note.

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Sister Josaphat Slobodian draws a pattern on an egg while doing Ukrainian egg decorating, or pysanky, Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Twenty eight years later, I still have that egg. It rests on my mantle.

Every time I look at it I think of Sister Josaphat.

A batch of finished Ukrainian Easter eggs created by Sister Josaphat Slobodian are shown Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

A batch of finished Ukrainian Easter eggs created by Sister Josaphat Slobodian are shown Tuesday, May 01, 1990 at Sisters of Saint Basil The Great motherhouse in Glenside, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

 

Last Days of Visitation at the National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

Like any residents in the Philadelphia area who know of Mother Katharine Drexel, I too made the pilgrimage in the last days of visitations before the closing of the shrine. The grounds of Saint Katharine Drexel will be sold in the near future, and I am told sale is imminent. They are now awaiting approval from the pope. I walked into the shrine from a bitter cold winter day and made my way through the chapel to the downstairs shrine. The first thing I noticed was how much warmer it is in the shrine area. Not sure if it is just because of all the people who have been frequenting the shrine since the announced sale and closing over a year ago. Or maybe it was the feeling of overall spirituality that overcomes you upon arrival.

The people I spoke with seemed upset at the closing, but understood why it has to happen. You see, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are older and pretty much dying off one by one. The large residence and shrine is 42 acres and costs a lot of money to maintain. The sisters are also selling 2,200 acres in Virginia. Many of the nuns left the Drexel home as of this past May. The ones that remained were part of the day to day operations.

While I’m sad to see the shrine and property go, I wish the sisters a happy retirement.


Dreaming Of Affordable Housing

In 1992, I spent a few days working on a story about the lack of affordable housing in the Philadelphia suburbs of Bucks County. The other day I read a post on Facebook about how a community came together to help place a family into an affordable home since they were about to lose their residence and it was so close to Christmas. I made the following images in June of 1992. Seems to me that there was a problem way back then that still exists to this day and folks need housing 365 days a year. Not just because it’s Christmas. It’s great that people banded together to help that family, but don;t forget that there are another 364 days a year that people in the Philadelphia region go homeless. So much more needs top be done.

Here are some of the images.

Gwen Thomas, 24, combs her 4 year old daughter Dionna's hair the George Washington Motor Lodge Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Gwen Thomas, 24, combs her 4 year old daughter Dionna’s hair the George Washington Motor Lodge Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

 

4 year old Dionna Thomas looks out the door at the George Washington Motor Lodge, where she and her mother are living Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

4 year old Dionna Thomas looks out the door at the George Washington Motor Lodge, where she and her mother are living Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

 

Stevie Nicole Painter, 3, clings to her mother Debbie's leg as her she holds son Brandon, 7 months at the George Washington Motor Lodge, where they are living Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

Stevie Nicole Painter, 3, clings to her mother Debbie’s leg as her she holds son Brandon, 7 months at the George Washington Motor Lodge, where they are living Tuesday June 23, 1992 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Philadelphia Inquirer) (William Thomas Cain/Cain Images)

And here is a few clip from the Inquirer, 1992.

Every Picture Has a Story: Marie Noe

Marie Noe arrives at her home in Philadelphia, Monday, June 28, 1999. The 70-year-old Noe plead guilty Monday to smothering eight of her ten young children under a plea agreement with prosecutors in a case that dated back to 1949. Under the plea agreement, Mrs. Noe will serve no jail time in exchange for pleading guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder and will be sentenced to 20 years of probation. (AP Photo/William Thomas Cain) (WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN/AP)

Marie Noe arrives at her home in Philadelphia, Monday, June 28, 1999. The 70-year-old Noe plead guilty Monday to smothering eight of her ten young children under a plea agreement with prosecutors in a case that dated back to 1949. Under the plea agreement, Mrs. Noe will serve no jail time in exchange for pleading guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder and will be sentenced to 20 years of probation. (AP Photo/William Thomas Cain) 

Every picture has a story behind the making of that image.

It’s June 28, 1999. A warm summer day. I pack up a single Nikkormat that had a busted light meter and an 85mm 1.8 lens along with a half a roll of film, hop into my Jeep Wrangler. No doors. No top. Warm air. Dreamy summer day for a drive into the upper parts of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’m envisioning a long cruise with the radio on.

I leave the house. Head up Rt. 263 to Rt. 413. Make a left. Next thing you know I am in Bedminster. It’s about 11 AM.
The phone rings. It’s Bernadette Tuazon, who at the time was the Pennsylvania photo editor for the Associated Press. She asks if I’m available. I said yes, but all I have with me is a Nikkormat and two lenses along with a half roll of Fujicolor Film. It doesn’t matter. No one else was around. She asked if I can get to North Philadelphia…as soon as possible. Of course, I say yes. Apparently, Marie Noe, the 70-year-old woman who plead guilty to smothering eight of her ten young children was headed home for house arrest. I never in a million years thought I could get there in time and was very leary of the fact that I didn’t have much film (yes, this was way back when we shot film).

Somehow, in 60 minutes I made it from Bedminster to Noe’s home on American Street in Philadelphia. I arrived just as she was about to enter her home. I left out of the Jeep with my camera in hand. Luckily, it was loaded and ready to go. As I ran closer to the door setting my exposure. Remember, the meter did not work. I had to guess at the exposure. Overcast day, 400 ISO = 2000 @f5.6.

 

 

Luckily, she had a rough time with the lock. Her face was looking straight at the door, until Matt O’Donnell (God Bless Him!) from 6ABC in Philadelphia blurted out her name a few times. By that time I was standing next to Matt. I was able to make one image, turn the camera to the next frame and then one more click. She looked right at us with a scary look that I have yet to forget. At that moment, I knew I had the image I needed.

I then went and process the film. All two frames were perfect.

Nikkormat with 85mm 1.8 lens

Years before, one of my old Philadelphia Inquirer colleagues, Akira Suwa, said to me at lunch one day that I should be able to feel the light. He then quizzed me on the different exposures and ISO’s in certain situations. I did get them all correct, but I never thought anything of that conversation until the moment when i was guessing the exposure for Marie Noe’s image. Boy was he correct. That lesson at an every day lunch made me think. I’ve never forgotten that and always try to guess at the exposure before I use my light meter to this day.

That said. Here is the image of Marie Noe. It is with thanks to Bernadette Tuazon, Matt O’Donnell and Akira Suwa.

 

 

 

[a once and a while series telling the story behind the image]

Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania


In May of 1990 while working for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I spent some time with the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great who founded St. Basil Academy in 1931. The sisters also established Manor College in 1947. What I photographed in the times I spent at the school was the sisters at morning prayers and then followed them through their teaching day at St. Basil. I also was able to photograph some of the retired sisters as they worked on the farm, gardened, cleaned furniture and did some crafts.

The sisters were very open about their lives on the campus and pretty much allowed me to make images showing whatever I felt was necessary to tell their story . You see, their numbers had diminished from about 50 strong in the early days to 35 when I visited them.

John McCain Receives 2017 Liberty Medal

Last night I photographed John McCain receiving the 2017 Liberty Medal from former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Embed from Getty Images

Neshaminy Defeated Central Bucks South In Overtime 21-14 At Warrington

In overtime on Friday, Neshaminy defeated Central Bucks South 21-14 at South in Warrington to move to 6-1 on the season while Central Bucks South drops to 5-2.


Purchase prints at http://cainimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Neshaminy-at-Central-Bucks-South-Football/G0000j8c0mxSPDOs/C0000A6_tA8BOb6M

Santa Workshop Experience Photo Sessions (ONE DAY ONLY)

Come and visit with Santa Claus at this revolutionary photo experience, where we step outside the box of the traditional “sit your children on Santa’s lap” photographic session. Santa will interact with you and your family during a 30 minute appointment.  The dates available are November 18 from 10am until 2pm.

Santa Claus can check your children’s Christmas list at his workshop table, check his naughty and nice list, share cookies and milk, read a story, decorate the tree, and if time permits, he will even pose for a traditional portrait session. The goal for you and your family to have an interactive and pleasant experience with the jolliest of all elves. Our goal for us is to provide you with the highest quality of photojournalistic images for you to enjoy for years to come.

This special photo session comes with a print package. You will receive (1) 8×10, (2) 5×7 and (16) wallet sized custom color prints of the same image which your can choose in an online gallery.

We are also offering USB drives of all images made for you to print as many times or sizes as you like for a special early booking price of $250 ($150 reservation and $100 for the USB). On the day of the shoot those USB drives will be available for $200 for a total cost of $350.

Delivery dates for prints and USB drives will be as follows:
Tuesday November 28th 7p-9p (Yardley)
Thursday November 30 12p-2p (Yardley)
Saturday December 1 11a-2p (Yardley)

After the session, all images will be available in print form only as individual prints or packages.

Reserve your appointment time now. (Click Here To Reserve Your Time)

Writing From Personal Experiences

(Recently, I wrote about Spring Village at Floral Vale for the Bucks County Courier Times Best of Bucks 2017. Since I have been there many times over the past few years on photo assignments, I decided to write from my first hand experience of the facility. A few pictures are included.)

Elizabeth Marion (L) shares a moment with her daughter Marguerite Marnien of Levittown, Pennsylvania during a Mother's Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)

Elizabeth Marion (L) shares a moment with her daughter Marguerite Marnien of Levittown, Pennsylvania during a Mother’s Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)

As a photojournalist, I get to see and photograph a lot of different things. When I see an assignment for any kind of event at Spring Village at Floral Vale, I get very excited. This is a great place. The staff is extraordinary with all of their residents. Every time I photograph an event here, everyone is always happy, from staff to residents this place is top notch.

As their website explains, “There is a place where the best care along with a home-like and quaint environment come together to provide memory care at its best. One visit to Spring Village at Floral Vale and you will understand why our community is the number one choice of families seeking secured memory care.”

They provide individualized care and the entire community is the resident’s home. The residents here are not confined to an area or locked behind closed doors.

The family atmosphere is also amazing.

That starts with leadership.

Spring Village at Floral Vale for the last eight years has been under the leadership of their Senior Executive Director, Deb Bodnar. Her experience in senior care, insight and insistence that this community be ever-ready to change with the needs of their residents, is the driving force of the community goals. Deb and her department head team understand the responsibility that is part of the privilege and honor given to them as a family chooses Spring Village at Floral Vale.

Participants enjoy each other's company during a Mother's Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)

Participants enjoy each other’s company during a Mother’s Day luncheon on the grounds of Spring Village at Floral Vale for their patients and their families Saturday May 9, 2015 in Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)

A while back I had the privilege of photographing a Mother’s Day brunch outside on a beautiful spring day. The families arrived first and were seated under an enormous tent. What I witnessed and photographed next was amazing. It was a parade of residents escorted by the staff out to the tent to meet with their loved ones. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces, or witnessed so many hugs and kisses in my 30 year career as a photojournalist.

And the hugs and kisses weren’t just for the family, but staff as well. The staff and residents at Spring Village at Floral seem to have a bond that is equal to family. The care and comfort I see there amazes me. It was an experience that actually brought a tear to my eyes as I was making pictures.

“Spring Village at Floral Vale has a commitment to actively recruit and retain staff with “Serving Hearts”. This is the key to good memory care. Anyone can give care, a “Serving Heart caregiver stands out. They are proud of their work. Each and every day they know they have made a difference for our residents.

We never stop our search for Serving Hearts.

“The disease of Dementia/Alzheimer”s is a reality in our world. We don’t apologize for it but rather work instead toward having each of our residents validated, affirmed and understood. It’s a challenging job but our staff at Spring Village regularly receive hands-on training in safety, care and progressive communication techniques that set us apart.”

Visit them and you’ll see why we they are the best of the best!