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.
(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)
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)
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!
Back in 2001, on this date as a matter of fact, I had the coolest assignment to photograph Jan and Stan Berenstain, creators of the “Berenstain Bears” childrens’ books.
I was even able to have stuffed versions of Sister Bear, Pappa Bear, Momma Bear, and Brother Bear in the image for fun.
What was supposed to be a 30 minute shoot turned into a 3 hour gab fest. We got to chatting and I mentioned that I had actually studied illustration and painting at University of the Arts, and it turned out that they had gone to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art with my old high school art instructor, Ed Smith. If not for Ed Smith, i may not have been accepted to the school. He wrote me a hell of a recommendation when I applied and also helped me receive a partial scholarship. They told me old stories about their days with Smitty at college and what the school, which eventually became Philadelphia College of Art and inevitably The University of the Arts of today. What a day. What glorious people. Sadly, the Berenstains have both passed on, but their son continues the family business.
As for Smitty. Well, he’s still around. Probably making someone laugh, listening to the Grateful Dead and sketching.
I believe this image is from some time in the mid 90’s. I was assigned to shoot an Iamy, or David Iams society assignment. The event was at the home of #Chef George #Perrier (2nd from left). It featured some of the greatest chefs in Philadelphia history cooking on the grill. The one I most remember though, is Chef Tell (left), born Friedman Paul Erhardt who owned Chef Tell’s Manor House in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. It was a place that my wife and I frequented often and got to know Chef pretty well. He was a wonderful, jovial fellow always looking to put a smile on your face as well as feed your tummy. I recall one assignment where he was teaching a grilling class at his restaurant. He was showing the folks how to grill steaks. While I was photographing him, after one demonstration he handed me a fork full of steak and wanted me to taste it. As politely as I could, I declined because I don’t eat red meat. He snickered, then put his massive hand upon my shoulder, and squeezing the back of my neck said, “You’ve got ball my friend. No one tells me no.” Uh, oh!! I thought. Scared to death because he was a big imposing fellow. Then he busted out laughing. Received that he didn’t kill me, so did I. He never let me forget that night. Teased me whenever I stopped by.
I have to tell you. I always had the best doing experiences at his place and wish he was still around today. What a nice dude. To this day, I miss that guy.
That said, I can’t recall who the other chefs are in the photo. #cheftell #erhardt #perrier #dining #masterchef #genious #cook #dine #philadelphia #restauranteur #legend #manorhouse #greatfoodgreatcompany #easterbrunch #grill #barbeque
This is from an unpublished photo essay I worked on in 1989 at the Infectious Disease Clinic at Temple University. I spent a few days following around Dr. Michael Glick, who had started the IDC a year earlier. No one in the Philadelphia region was offering dental care to HIV patients at the time. Click and his staff were the only ones doing so that I had found at that time. Here are some archive images, from way back then.
Long before Teen Mom hit MTV screens, way back in 1989, while working for the Philadelphia Inquirer I spent a few days at William Tennent High School in Warminster, Pennsylvania making pictures of a program geared to keep Teen Moms in school. The school, and mostly, Centennial School District, set up a day care program so young women that had children while in high school could keep on attending school and get their diploma. It was pretty simple. The girls would drop of their child before classes started, then go to school. They could come back to visit the children any time during the day. Then would pick them up after school and in some cases, actually do their homework in the day care while waiting for the bus ride home.
Here are some of the images from the package I did in 1989. Images were shot with Tri-X film and probably pushed to 1600 ISO in most interiors with Nikon F3’s as camera of choice.
A teen mom does her homework while her daughter has a snack.
Teen mom and her daughter leave for school as her mother says good bye.
Teen mom and her daughter play during lunch break.
A group of teen moms share a laugh in the lunch room.
During lunch, a teen mom sets her daughters hair.
A young boy and girl play in the day care area of the high school.
Diaper changing time for a young child of a teen mom.
Teen mom drops off her daughter at day care at the school.
Lunch time in day care.
While her daughter is in day care, a teen mom chats in class with a friend.
A teen mom pours milk into her daughters cereal before leaving for school.
A child kisses her teen mom goodbye after being dropped off for day care.
Over the last few days I’ve photographed a few baseball games. It’s actually one of my favorite sports to photograph. Mainly, because of the love I had playing the game in my early 20’s. Although, I pretty much rode the bench, except for that one time….
Picture it: 1987. I’m at the plate. First at bat ever in organized baseball. Take a called strike. Then take another. Count is zero balls and two strikes. And just before the next pitch, the umpire calls the game due to darkness. And that was that. Never played again. It took me a year to make the team, and finally got a shot and it was gone like that.
Anyhow back to shooting. Here is some video and stills from the past weekend. Slide shows and videos.
Last weekend I photographed the Odyssey of the Mind competition in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania at Pennsbury High School. The Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.
The competitors solved problems with great presentations.
Here are some clips and the actual images from the event.
Watermarks. I’m not a fan and really don’t like using them. But, when it comes to protecting our copyrights, incidents of late have made me rethink our whole policy.
While I can appreciate the fact that someone likes and wants to share an image, I can not allow theft of our images. There are sharing icons under an image for just that reason. If a person shares our images via one of those links, they and I can be assured that whomever sees the image will be viewing it as intended and that our copyrights are protected. One of the features of our host for galleries is those images can not be downloaded. In the past that was enough of a deterrent.
Recently, someone that we photographed made a frame grab of an image on one of our galleries and uploaded it to Facebook. They didn’t attribute the image, just posted it. Aside from the fact that the person did not have permission, one of the problems I have is the fact that the frame grab is not a finished product and totally misrepresents our work. The image file size is at least 3,800 pixels wide when I upload to my site. Most times when viewing on my site the image will display at at least 900 pixels wide. Those images are optimized for viewing on the site at that size. Then someone views the image on their iPhone and makes a frame capture of that picture. That image size is roughly 400 pixels wide. When posting the image on Facebook it looks nothing like we originally intend or want.
When we do find that someone has posted one of our images on Facebook without permission, we immediately report it and have it removed from Facebook.
There is a huge expense in producing high resolution images. Each camera costs at least $3,000 and then you factor in travel time, fuel, tolls, insurance, car insurance, etc., it adds up quickly. We can’t allow people to STEAL images from our site and post them somewhere without our permission.
We reserve the right to control how an image is reproduced because that is how we stay in business.
It seems that people generally do not understand that when we make a picture, we own the copyright of the image as well as the right to reproduce that image any way we see fit. We may chose to have an agreement, in writing that the client can reproduce the image, but that is at our discretion. And the client NEEDs to have permission via a written LICENSE to reprint pictures.
So, for those reasons, you may see some of our gallery images now feature a watermark like the one above. Proof CD’s will also now come with watermarked images.
Print orders will not be watermarked.
I spent the afternoon last Friday photographing Marie-Helen & Stephane’s wedding in historic Newtown, Pennsylvania. The ceremony was performed by Mayor Dennis O’Brien in the borough council chambers. After the ceremony we wandered around Newtown a bit making some pictures of the couple sharing the joy of the blessed event. Both are from Montreal, Canada, so I was a bit hesitant to make pictures in front of the borough council chambers because of the American flag bunting surrounding the building. They didn’t have a problem with it though, Stephane said, because they’d been living here for 10 year and appreciated the visual. After the burough, we stopped by a little league baseball field in town with…more American Flag bunting. There the couple had a laugh and some champagne to celebrate. Then off to a weekend honeymoon in New York City, New York.
With WMMR‘s 45th anniversary this month, I’ve been thinking of doing a series of limited edition prints. The first would be the view from the old studio at 19th and Walnut in Philadelphia overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Let’s preface this by saying that from about 1985 to 1987, I worked as one of the radio station photographers and made pictures of various station events. This was long before the internet, so, what the station did was publish a “Survival Guide” for listeners. Pictured here is the cover of the 18th Anniversary edition. It featured some interesting stories, bios, and photos.
A few months ago my wife and I stopped by to have a look at some of my old work that hangs on the walls at the station. The most prominent is a 20×30 print that hangs in the air studio of the view looking over Rittenhouse Square that was shot in 1992 when the station was leaving for it’s new home at 5th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Pierre Robert had asked me to stop by and make the image, because he wanted to always remember the view that was so much part of the radio station’s history. Over the last 20 years the image has faded from the sun sreaming into the studio directly onto the print.
So, here is my problem, I am in the process of replacing that print and am trying to decide which image to go with. Question is, should I show the window framing or just the view through the actual window? The plan is to replace the print hanging in the studio with the first of about 50 limited edition prints to be available through this site.
Here are some of the other images from that time period: