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Odds and ends

I’ve made mention to photos I’ve taken earlier this year that had not yet published. Well, now they’ve published.

Here’s a random selection of photos that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months.

Andrew Mendoza, 9, does a cartwheel over an obstacle Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Gymnastics Academy of Rockford South Trampoline Park in Cherry Valley. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

Jeremy Klonicki, owner of MainFraiM, is known for using Edison bulbs in his artwork. Photographed Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at the former Shumway Seed building in Rockford. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

Emily Cooke, Rockford Dance Company executive director, instructs dancers Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, during a pointe class at the dance school. Cooke, a Boylan High School graduate with a marketing background, took the position in November 2015. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

I took portraits of several bearded gentlemen for a story (and the cover art) for our 815 Magazine. I found a gritty backdrop in the paper’s old press hall. I set up my lights (my old faithful DIY beauty dish) and shot each guy as if they were going to be the magazine cover.

It was a different exercise for me as I usually try to shoot to fill the frame. This time, I had to shoot loose so we could crop for a magazine cover. I also would ordinarily try to create more variety between subjects, but the goal for this was to have similar lighting and poses.

Here are a few frames from the project.

Cory Bolduc of Winnebago on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at the Rockford Register Star. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

Brandon Malone, 25, of Rockford on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Rockford. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

Nathan Forrester of Machesney Park on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at the Rockford Register Star. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

Chad Pickens of Rockford on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Rockford Register Star. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM STAFF] ©2017

I was also working on a story about the high rate of gunfire in a particular neighborhood in Freeport. I first went out to get a feel for the neighborhood. I needed some scene setters of these particular streets. I went up and down the streets with a reporter and we talked to residents about their experiences.

Calvin “King World” Jones talks about the gun violence in his neighborhood Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at the corner of South Liberty Avenue and East Shawnee Street in Freeport. Jones, who lives on the block, washes cars at the corner for a living. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Cousins Camarii Barber (left), 8, and Miterriona Carter, 9, play basketball in the 400 block of South State Avenue on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Troy Brickhouse talks about being shot twice when he lived in Chicago. Photographed Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in front of his home in the 400 block of South State Avenue in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

A chained up dog sits in a backyard Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in the 400 block of South State Avenue in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Khaden Newton (from left), 10, Dahayvon Ishmon, 12, and Jaylen Smith, 12, play basketball in the street Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in the 400 block of South State Avenue in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

I knew these photos didn’t paint a complete picture. While we did have a few warm days in Feb., the winter months are quieter than the spring and summer months. Also, things tend to be quieter during the daytime. So I blocked off some time to ride along with the Freeport Police Department one evening.

I met Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson at the station and we headed out on patrol. Shortly after, he got a call that took us to the far opposite side of town on a domestic violence call.

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson acknowledges on his radio that he is responding to a domestic violence call Thursday, March 2, 2017, on Sheffield Drive in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

I knew this had nothing to do with the story we were working on as it was not only not a shots fired report, it was not in the neighborhood we were focused on. But as long as I had access, I kept shooting pictures. It’s always better to have photos and not need them than need them and not have them.

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson talks to a man while on a domestic violence call Thursday, March 2, 2017, at an apartment on Sheffield Drive in Freeport. The man was arrested for disorderly conduct. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Freeport Police Officer Steve Oldenburger (right) and Cpl. Ben Johnson place a man in handcuffs while on a domestic violence call Thursday, March 2, 2017, at an apartment on Sheffield Drive in Freeport. The man was arrested for disorderly conduct. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF]

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson takes notes while talking with a neighbor after responding to a domestic violence call Thursday, March 2, 2017, at an apartment on Sheffield Drive in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF]

Next, Cpl. Johnson went back over to the neighborhood that was the focus of the story to back up a K-9 officer on a traffic stop. The officer had pulled over a vehicle for expired tags. The officers told me that the harder they work, the better results they get. So they may stop a vehicle for a minor violation and subsequently find weapons, drugs, etc. In this case, the K-9 altered to the presence of drugs.

K-9 Officer Matt Anderson takes Otto out of his squad car to sniff a stopped vehicle Thursday, March 2, 2017, while working a traffic stop on East Winneshiek Street and South Carrol Avenue in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

The passengers were told to get out of the car and handcuffed while officers searched the vehicle. Nothing was found and the men were released.

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson (left) and Officer Steve Oldenburger search two men after the K-9, Otto, alerted to the presence of drugs in their vehicle Thursday, March 2, 2017, while working a traffic stop on East Winneshiek Street and South Carrol Avenue in Freeport. After a search of the vehicle, nothing was found and the two men were released. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson works on his computer Thursday, March 2, 2017, after working a traffic stop on East Winneshiek Street and South Carrol Avenue in Freeport. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

Toward the end of our evening, Cpl. Johnson pulled over a vehicle for running a stop sign.

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson talks to a driver on South Carrol Avenue near South Galena Avenue on Thursday, March 2, 2017, after pulling him over for running a stop sign in Freeport. The man was arrested for driving with a suspended license. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

The man was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Freeport Police Cpl. Ben Johnson (left) and Officer Steve Oldenburger place a driver in the back of a squad car on South Carrol Avenue near South Galena Avenue on Thursday, March 2, 2017, after pulling him over for running a stop sign in Freeport. The man was arrested for driving with a suspended license. [MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM & THE JOURNAL-STANDARD STAFF] ©2017

I wish I had more time to spend in the neighborhood to paint a better picture of the gunfire problem.

Favorites from the last few months
Illinois Associated Press Media Editors 2016 contest
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