No Win, Just A Copyright Resolution

Not sure I’d call it a win. Maybe resolution is more like it.

Almost two years ago I photographed an assignment for a client. Those images were then published with a feature story by the client.

Well, the subject of that feature story in turn took those images and used them on their blog. 

I had no idea.

Monthly, I do a search for my images online to find unauthorized uses. Generally, I don’t have issues, but most folks don’t realize that the copyright information is embedded into the actual images which make it easier to find when people use our work online. 

Seventeen months after the photo assignment I was doing my monthly search and found a blog post with my images on this company’s website. Seems that the basic info had been stripped away from the images making them a bit harder to find in a basic search. 

So, here I find two of my images on the site in a blog post as well as one of those images being used as the featured post photo. The site also included the reporters feature story without permission. Once I realized it was unauthorized I made a frame grab. Why? To make note of the date and to show my work on their website. That’s potential evidence. For down the road…if necessary in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

From wikipedia, the definition of copyright infringement is “the use of works protected by copyright law without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.”

That is exactly what happened in this case. Company B took my images from Company B, who paid me to make pictures at Company A and placed those images on Company A’s website. It’s a clearcut violation and easy to prove. Remember, I have evidence in the frame grabs.

If the copyright is registered with the US Copyright office before the infringement or within three months of first publication, the owner of the copyright may be eligible for up to $150,000 per image in statutory damages and attorney’s fees from the copyright infringer. Remember that! $150,000. Per. Image.

So, I reach out to these folks via email. In the email I explain that my work is on their website and if they have purchased a license to use the images on the site to please provide that proof. I already know that they did not purchase a license since it would have to go through me. So, I hit send. Email sent.

No response.

A week later I try again via email.

Again.

No response.

I then found the Facebook page for these folks. Reach out then by Facebook message.

Finally a response.

They did apologize for the unauthorized use and ask that I send them an invoice. I do send them an invoice. Although since the work had been online for over a year and a half the price for the unauthorized usage was substantially more then it would have been normally. After sending the invoice, I wait. And wait. And wait.

One month goes by, then another. All the while, I’m emailing these folks and getting blown off. Sending invoice reminders. Nothing. This goes on about 6 weeks. I then email them and let them know I’d like to resolve this without taking them to court. Again…nothing.

About three weeks later, I start preparing myself for the court battle. Gather all of my evidence, which had been frame grabbed as soon as I first saw the images on the site without permission. My plan at this point is to reach out to the NPPA legal team and see where they can help with this issue. They would usually be able to recommend a copyright attorney in my area.

That didn’t happen. It wasn’t necessary.

In a last ditch effort, I had emailed the contact person at the company that had used the images without permission. It said, “Are we going to resolve this, or will I have to take legal action?”

In a matter of minutes, I received a response that claimed the email had gone to spam. They’d like to take care of this as soon as possible. Can they send a check?

I sent an address with instructions on who to make the check payable to to make sure they had the information needed. Three days later, I have a check in hand for the amount that I had been requesting for 3 months. Now, if they were having trouble receiving my email, they sure hadn’t had an issue receiving the invoices. The amount was correct. Leading me to believe that what happened in the past three months is that they must gave spoken to their attorney and found that since my images were registered with the copyright office I could seek up to $150,000 in damages for each infringement. Now that is something I was trying top avoid. Sure, $150,000 per image sounds great, but my goal was to be fair.  They, as well as myself, are small businesses. I didn’t want to hurt a small business. The other thing is it very well could have been a long drawn out court battle, which no one wants. Especially me. I want to make pictures not battle for the rights to images.

The good news is that I was paid. The bad news is that it keeps happening. Most people don’t or can’t understand that they can not just take someone’s work and post it on their website without permission. 

We need to educate folks about copyright law.

This has happened to me before, and is one of the reasons that I do look online once a month to protect my rights. I don’t like doing it, but it has to be done. I love making pictures, but do not want to be giving the work away for free when my daily cost of doing and staying in business is as great as ever.

Most times I walk around with $5,000 worth of gear just to make a single picture. That doesn’t even begin to address other costs of doing business. There’s health insurance, liability insurance, vehicles, insurance, computers, software, etc… The list is almost endless.

Granted the company finally paid for the unauthorized use, but I had to invest so much time and effort into protecting my rights I don’t really feel like a winner.


I just want to make pictures and not have to worry about protecting my copyright. Problem is that in this day it is almost impossible.

They key here for photographers is to make sure you register your copyright. It gives you a lot more ammunition if an infringement ever happens to you.

Know your rights. Protect your copyrights.

So, instead of a win I’ll just call it a resolution, until next time.


US Copyright Office
https://www.copyright.gov

NPPA Article by Attorneys Alicia Calzada and Mickey Osterreicher
Suing for Copyright Infringement? 10 Things to Consider
https://nppa.org/magazine/copyright-infringement-10-things-consider

PPA Copyright Resources
https://www.ppa.com/benefits/resources/copyright-resources


Show A Bit Of Respect!!

A few days ago, someone in a Facebook to which I belong needed assistance with Photoshop for a project they were working on for their business. I offered, and did help the person. She wrote me a very nice thank you note in that group. She posted it and tagged me along with a link to my website. All of which is much appreciated and very kind. (SEE BELOW)

So, the link to my website shows a main image that someone commented on. The person wrote, “Look it’s Zorro!” Well, considering the image is from a funeral for a veteran who had no one to attend his burial and a health care worker helped get hundreds to attend the vets funeral, I was a bit perplexed. Strike that mostly, I was fucking annoyed. There is a time and place for humor. And, if the woman was trying to be funny, A. I don’t get it. B. Who the fuck are you to make some dumb ass comment like that. Be warned, I am very, very protective of my photographic subjects. Even in death.

As a photojournalist, we develop a certain trust with our subjects, and their families…and their friends or colleagues. Our goal is never to harm someone, verbally or by showing them in a sad light. If someone negates a subject of one of my images, I AM PISSED.

I wrote the above under her comment.
Her response was that a very dear friend is in the photograph. OK. Well, if that’s the case why write such a dumb thing? I wrote again to ask if that person was who she refers to as Zorro. Never hear back and the woman coming now seems to have deleted the comment.

HOW ABOUT NEVER WRITING SOMETHING SO DUMB IN THE FIRST PLACE!!?

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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.?:@cainimages #baseball #phillies #mlb #philadelphiaphillies #photojournalist #philadelphiaphotojournalist #pennsylvania  #philly #photooftheday #photographer #photography #photojournalism #color #nikon #professionalphotojournalist #professionalphotographer #anydayicanwakeupandmakeapictureisagreatday #itswhatido #sports #sportsphotojournalist #montgomery #rip @gettyimages #mygettyoffice #obituary @phillies @mlb 

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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?:@cainimages #usabasketball #Olympics #wnba #coach #usatiday #photojournalist #philadelphiaphotojournalist #pennsylvania #philly #photooftheday #photographer #photography #photojournalism #color #nikon #professionalphotojournalist #professionalphotographer #anydayicanwakeupandmakeapictureisagreatday #itswhatido #sports #sportsphotojournalist @usatoday

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