May First

May_First01    May First is tradition rooted in upholding principals of labor and respect for workers in Seattle and globally. This year people marched for worker’s rights in Mexico at the Driscoll Berries plant, for an end to police violence, and for curbing deportation in battleground states. It was a vibrant, positive march downtown, but as the daylight disappeared, the divide between police and civilians widened. Around 9pm I witnessed a young man named Samm (yes, with two m’s) stand between a crowd of young people and a wall of officers on bikes, and take a megaphone from a young woman yelling aggressive, accusatory things at the unmoving officers. “We have to stand together!” He yelled. “It isn’t us against them, it’s all of us trying to thrive in a system that is against us.”                                                                                                   The crowd rebuffed him, then as his acuity became clear, they listened, and the mood changed. The police walked away, and the crowd dispersed into the lively streets of Capitol Hill. Regrettably, I didn’t have my camera at this point. I did approach Sam as he left his sidewalk stage and walk alongside him for a while. He told me that growing up,he was embarrassed when he had to tell friends that his mother was a police officer, but that he”s sick of that and it shouldn’t be that way. We are individuals. Some of us will abuse our power, and that needs to be addressed, but others are there to protect, there to serve, or maybe just there for a job. It is worth remembering. that there is never one side to a story that merits listening. May_First02 May_First03 May_First04 May_First05 May_First06 May_First07 May_First08 May_First09 May_First10 May_First11 May_First12 May_First17 May_First13 May_First14 May_First15 May_First16 May_First18 May_First19

MLK March

MLK_Post01Last Monday, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., more than 1,000 Seattleites marched from Garfield High School to Downtown Seattle chanting phrases such as “Who’s lives matter? Black lives matter?” and “No justice, No peace, No racist police!” The march paused in front of the downtown municipal building and the juvenile jail where speakers made the street their stage. Key topics were reforming police brutality and addressing the inherent racism present in the courts and the prison system at large. Rejecting the proposed building of a new “Mega-Jail for children” was one of the more Seattle-specific concerns voiced throughout the march. In one of the final speeches, Gerald Hankerson, the president of the NAACP Northwest put forth a call to action to attendees,

“I’m calling on all of you today, to as you walk away thinking about why you celebrate MLK 2015, think about this, what has happened differently since 2014 when we were down here? What has happened differently since 2013 when we were down here?  The question before you is, what is going to happen in 2016 if we don’t do something different?”

“We’re putting our police officers on notice right now, if you break the law, we’re going to hold you accountable just like you’d hold one of us accountable, and if the law can’t protect us, it damn sure can’t protect you!”

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Our Better Half

A few weeks ago I did a project for Fractl Media that included my visiting public spaces and interacting with dogs and their owners. I asked them 2 questions, “What do you love about having a dog?” And “What makes your dog happy?” Here are some of my favorites. Fractl_Dogs01Justin Chico Smith and Arkish – Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill – “I love my dog because she’s amazing. Dog’s help you with pretty much everything when you’re living how we live, when you travel. Dog people will sometimes just help me out when I’m having a hard time making enough playing music. They provide for themselves completely when you’re living on the streets. A lot of them are service animals for different reasons. When you don’t have a human friend around it’s nice to have a furry friend who will you know, bark if you have a seizure or anything like that.”

MRMelissa Crosetto and Lola – Beacon Hill, Seattle – “She’s been with me through thick and thing, she’s a good girl. It’s good to have someone that’s always there. She’s great to cuddle with, the keeps me warm. I had this tattoo done of her when she was two, five years ago. I love her. She’s happy when she’s tearing up pillows and wreaking havoc in my house.”

Rod Butler – Seward Park, Seattle – “I love having a dog because he’s a great addition to my family. And I enjoy training him. Right now we’re starting to have him trained to sense blood sugar so that he can work with people with diabetes.  I think he’s happiest when he knows he’s making us happy. He’s a people pleaser.”Fractl_Dogs05Maura Shapley and Cici – Beacon Hill, Seattle – “She’s a fabulous companion dog. She’s always there, and she’s always sweet. Before she went deaf she’d tell me if anyone was coming past my door. She kept me alert and aware of people’s coming and going around my shop, and that’s important because I’m there alone a lot.        What makes her happy? Me. She just hangs around with me all the time. She sleeps by the bed. She is not a very intrusive dog, she doesn’t try to interrupt me too much, she’s very content to just sit nearby and lie down nearby, she’s a pretty old dog so she lies down a lot, but she still just loves people.   And, food makes her happy. She’s a food – motivated dog. She eats the lemon cucumbers out of my garden!”JRRyan Peterson – Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill – “They get us outside, even when the weather’s bad, in the winter especially. Being outside with us, and with tennis balls makes them happy.”

Julianne Bukey – Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill – “I love that they are just the most joyful creatures and are equally excited to see us whether we’ve been gone all day at work or for 2 minutes in the bathroom. Being with us makes them happy.”Fractl_Dogs09Brad Ruis and Susie – Genessee Park, Seattle – “I love the companionship of having a dog. He loves coming to the park, and chasing balls, and just going out in general. Hanging out with cats.”12_Patricia_ClevengerPatricia Clevenger and Poppy – Seward Park, Seattle – “I was looking forward to getting a dog for years and years and finally got Poppy here in May from the Seattle Humane Society and since then she’s brought us lots of joy every day. She’s cute and fun.   I think running around in the grass makes her happiest.”VPJeff Miller (and Kiki) – Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill – “What I love about having a dog is that they are such faithful companions. And what really makes her happy is go out and sprint, and being a runner myself, I really like to watch her just tear out, and just really go for it. It’s a lot of fun. She requires a lot of exercise. She’s a bit needy, she always has to be right beside me.”

Madeline Kass – Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill – “They are the greatest companions and they love you no matter what.  What make him happy is chasing other dogs here at the park. Running free. That’s his favorite thing. He doesn’t even chase the ball, he just chases the other dogs chasing the ball.Fractl_Dogs13Cassidy James and Gypsy Rose – Genessee Park, Seattle – “I like having a dog because she makes me laugh, especially when she finds a patch of grass she can roll around on.  Patches of grass make her very happy.”beachJesse Kim & Gus (short for Dingus) – Genessee Park, Seattle – “I love the companionship. I think it’s as close to unconditional love as we can ever get. What makes him happy is being as close to me as possible and causing trouble with other dogs.”

Katherine Hitzman Carter & RJ – Martha Washington Park, Seattle – “I always had a dog, all my life, they’re part of my family.  What makes RJ Happy is being with his people and chasing his car. I use a remote control car that he needs some space to chase because his breed should ideally run 30 miles a day. That’s his job.”Fractl_Dogs16Carolyn Le and Nina – Martha Washington Park, Seattle – “I love having her because she get’s me in the world, talking to people. I’m really active, she’s really active. She’s the sweetest, and people want to meet her so she’s kind of an ambassador. And she helps me meet cute girls. Hands down, she’s happiest swimming and being with people. She’s a Pitbull so she needs that companionship.”JKPat Farell and Blue – Genessee Park, Seattle – “The reason I like having Blue, is that there is something about the relationship that keeps me as honest as I can be. I can’t kinda screw around with a dog, you can’t fool them and trick them, you just have to be really clear with them, and straightforward, and I really enjoy that.  I think the dog park makes her happiest, she loves to be over here harassing all the other dogs.”

Pete Marlow and Odin – Genessee Park, Seattle – “Why wouldn’t you love having a dog? They’re awesome, and they’re always there. It’s unconditional love, you know.  Coming to the dog park makes him happiest.”Fractl_Dogs19Karen Shay and Pebbles – Genessee Park, Seattle – “We just got dogs after having 5 cats, so we are now a 2 dog home. We wanted a dog to have more fun outdoors, even though she’s hairless..    Snuggles make her happy. She’s very affectionate.”

What Makes You Feel Beautiful.

I recently did a freelance job that I enjoyed immensely. The project was about diverse visions of beauty, so I went to the streets in Seattle, mainly downtown and Capitol Hill, and took portraits of passers by and asked them the question, “What makes you feel beautiful?”

Here are a few of my favorites. 

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Jesse Duvall – Whatever is going on in my head makes me feel beautiful. (Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Kenneth Loiseau – Acceptance of weirdness makes me feel beautiful.                            Annabelle Petry – Brushing my teeth makes me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Lady Krishna – Externally accessories make me feel beautiful, like this hat and my glasses. Really, my internal self makes me feel beautiful, my inner life.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)James Smith – What makes me feel beautiful is my personality.          Calen Osara – What makes me feel beautiful is when I’m complemented.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Elsa Bloedon – Being in the sun makes me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Stella Constellation – The thing that makes me feel beautiful is my contour. And my heels, a girl always feels pretty with a contour and some heels.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Amanda Sloan – My outfits make me feel beautiful. I design my own stuff, so I like to design things to fit my body, and it makes me feel comfortable.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Dennis Saxman – The absence of a mirror makes me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Julius Haywood- What makes me feel beautiful is my nice teeth and my hair.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Antoinette O’neill -What makes me feel beautiful is my accomplishments, big and small.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Dean Stepanek – My wife makes me feel beautiful. My beautiful wife, every day.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Kasey Atabniki – Feeling strong and comfortable makes me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Vanitti Fair – My friends make me feel beautiful. I think the attitude of the people you surround yourself with can either make or break a person.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Yuya Izumi – I am a Buddhist, I think feeling empty makes me actually feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Rebecca – My shoes.                                              Somaya – My surroundings make me feel beautiful. I try to find something beautiful wherever I am.                                 Shelby  – My shiny earrings make me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Breckenridge Lanning – A theme to an outfit makes me feel beautiful, like dressing to go to school and wearing glasses, superfluous glasses, but wonderful none the less.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Reiko –  I feel beautiful when I’ve had a few beers with my friends.                                                                  Mio Sei – Music, I feel beautiful at concerts

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Tracy Healy – My red hair makes me feel beautiful.

17James_GrattonJames (Jimbo) Gratton – Being acknowledged makes me feel beautiful.

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Chase Roselli – What makes me feel beautiful? Her.                        Sam Buchanan – Clean teeth make me feel beautiful. I have a thing about teeth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Chase, “Oh yeah, that’s her to a T.”)

(Photo by Viola J. Gaskell)Nate B. – Button up shirts make me feel beautiful because I feel clean and ready for the day, like I can get things done.

Seattle Lately


I’ve been living in Seattle for six months now, and it’s high time I posted pictures of a few of my favorite visuals around the city. Easter Sunday, Pike place, the Convention Center, and of course the bus. It’s a lovely place to be so far, especially now that Summer is here! Happy Solstice!