If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of food — Eating it, cooking it, photographing it. Whatever.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that I took to my assignment to photograph Theo Friedman, a recent Tufts graduate who’s been making a name for himself with various pop-up dinners around town, with much enthusiasm.
Theo had graduated just a few days before I stopped by his apartment two blocks off campus in Somerville, and had unfortunately packed up most of his things. That didn’t stop him from whipping up a small plate for me to photograph for a profile the Tufts College of Arts and Sciences was writing about him. Theo doesn’t have any formal training in the culinary arts, but his creativity was on full display with notes for the tasting menu from his most recent pop-up taped to his walls.
It was a delight to pick his brain a little bit while he was working to see if I couldn’t leave with a few tricks for myself.
05/20/2015- Somerville, Mass. – Theo Friedman, A15, poses for a portrait in his apartment kitchen on May 20, 2015. As an undergraduate, Friedman would prepare a variety of dinners for his friends and other guests. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
05/20/2015- Somerville, Mass. – Theo Friedman, A15, prepares a beet salad in his apartment kitchen on May 20, 2015.
(Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
Most serious athletes have some type of ritual that they go through on game day. Sometimes it’s clothing, like a lucky sock. Wade Boggs was famous for eating a whole chicken before his games. Even for me, during my high school soccer days, I would eat two McDonald’s cheeseburgers before games.
This past Memorial Day weekend, I was on the road once again with the Tufts men’s lacrosse team as they sought to defend their national championship title from last year. I decided to try something different for pregame this time around, having shot a bunch of the guys applying eye black in the locker room last time. While the guys were going through their pregame routines, I snapped a quick headshot portrait of each of the guys who wear eye black as they were getting themselves in the zone. Lacrosse helmets being what they are, pregame is really the only opportunity to see any faces before the whistle blows.
Each one of their faces was slightly different with their designs. Some listened to music, others paced the room, and some just sat in quiet meditation at their lockers — Whatever it takes to get mentally prepared for the biggest game of their college careers.
I guess it worked, because this time, the Jumbos won big time, 19-11, in a national championship game that was only close for one half of the first quarter. More on that in a later blog post. In the meantime, check out these portraits.
09/20/2014 – Somerville, Mass. – Tufts OL Justin Roberts, A16, celebrates on the field as fans storm the field after Tufts' 24-17 win over Hamilton at Zimman Field on Sept. 20, 2014. The win snapped a 31-game losing streak. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University) (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)
Losing is no fun. A losing streak is even worse.
A 31-game losing streak? Well, that’s another thing altogether. In the case of the Tufts University Jumbos, it was an embarrassing reminder of a mountain they needed to climb in order to gain the respect of their peers.
I had spent all of last season covering every game at home and on the road in the hopes that they would finally break the streak that had been haunting the program for so long. It was a long and frustrating season for everyone involved, myself included, but the team showed signs of improvement, keeping most of the games competitive. Of course, there’s no such thing as a moral victory in sports, especially with the longest active streak in college football on everyone’s mind.
This season, however, there was a buzz in the air as Tufts was set to open the season against Hamilton, a NESCAC rival that gave up the last Tufts win all the way back in September 2010. Thanks to the access granted to me by head coach Jay Civetti, I was able to spend a few days with the team as they prepared for the season opener.
As an institutional photographer, it’s my part of my job to highlight the program and to show off the hard work and dedication that these student-athletes put in to their sport that their classmates might not otherwise see or even be aware of. In this case, the pressure was apparent. Everyone knew what was at stake.
Building on the foundations and work ethic they had set the previous year, the Jumbos stormed out to an early lead and never let go. When the game clock ticked down to zero, it was like a champagne cork going off, as the pressure that had been building up over the past 4 years finally let out. An effort well earned, no doubt.
You can see a loose edit of my coverage below, and to see full team coverage, be sure to check out Tufts Athletics.