Best of 2016

I hate this time of year. This is the time when photographers pull together their best frames from last year. The solid daily frames are tossed aside and we’re left with an internet that is overwhelmed with the best of the best. It’s an amazing thing to see.

But I hate it.

Photographers make connections with their pictures. Sometimes you make a killer frame. Sometimes the story behind making the image is better than the image itself. That is something a viewer wouldn’t necessarily see.

Photographers also grow throughout the year, constantly refining skills and techniques. Looking back at a years worth of images, we see things we wish we would have done differently. There is always something you could have done better.

So while it’s nice to look back at some frames I’ve connected with, I always see the flaws.

I know I say something like this every year, but it rings true each year. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the work I do. And honestly, if I ever did plateau, I probably wouldn’t enjoy this line of work. I get satisfaction out of making photographs. Looking back on them, not so much.

So without further ado (and in no particular order), here are some photographs that I enjoyed for one reason or another this year.

The congregation stands as the casket of Bishop Thomas Doran is brought into the sanctuary Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, during his funeral mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Police detain a man Sunday, May 22, 2016, after a report of shots fired in the 900 block of Grant Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Jeff Leuenberger feeds an alpaca a treat out of his mouth Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at Mystic Ridge Alpacas in Stillman Valley. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Rockford Police and the Winnebago County Coroner’s office remove a trash can containing human remains from an apartment Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in the 600 block of Market Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Lawrence Albert, 40, pulls up white oak flooring Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in a 1907 mansion at the corner of North Main and Whitman streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Hononegah’s Gabby Bauch (1) celebrates after winning a point Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during a volleyball match at Boylan High School in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Beth Blunt

Lisa and Terry Blunt kneel by a memorial tree for their late daughter, Beth Blunt, on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, on the front lawn of Blanchard Hall at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. Lisa said Beth used to ask to go to work with Terry, a 26-year employee of the college, to see “the castle,” what Beth called the tower of Blanchard Hall. In recent years, Beth had mentioned to Lisa that she wanted to be a tree when she died. Beth died of an overdose on May 25, in Sycamore. She was 22. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Auburn quarterback Nathan Jarrett, 17, on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Auburn High School in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

People fill the State Street bridge to watch the firework show over the Rock River on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, during the fourth annual Stroll on State in downtown Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Bishop David J. Malloy leads Easter Mass on Sunday, March 27, 2016, in an empty housing block at the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Easter in jail was a really interesting assignment. See more frames on this blog post.

Catherine Brown, 65, on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, at the Rockford Register Star studio. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The image above is from a series we did on race and microaggressions. I shot a series of portraits and video interviews with several community members. If you’re interested in seeing the rest of the series, click here to the Rockford Register Star website.

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Aurora Perez (from left) and Toni Ruiz embrace as Sheri Perez cries Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. Ramos, affectionately known as “Junior,” was fatally shot Friday night while riding in the back seat of his father’s car. He was 5. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Seniors McCathran Andrew (left) and Abby Berg use a cell phone light to read their art IV class syllabus while their teacher, Sarah Wolfe, goes over the art III syllabus with the rest of the class Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, during the first day of school at Lutheran High School in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Glenn Lego, 69, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, dreads fireworks which can trigger memories from Vietnam. Lego served in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1970. Photographed on Thursday, June 30, 2016, at his home in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Carson Racich hits out of the sand on the tenth hole Friday, July 15, 2016, during the championship round of the Rockford Women’s Classic at the Rockford Country Club. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Principal Kevin Finnegan brings students into his office on their birthday to read them a book and let them sign his office wall. Photographed in his office Thursday, July 7, 2016, at Prairie Hill Elementary School in South Beloit. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The cross in the sanctuary can bee seen through a fire-damaged window Sunday, July 24, 2016, at Zion Community Church in Pearl City. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

A pass slips through the fingers of Belvidere’s Dalton Vaupel (38) on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, during a game at Hononegah High School in Rockton. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Belvidere North’s starting doubles team, Leraaen Abbott (left), 17, and Kayla Vittore, are undefeated in conference play this season. Photographed Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, on the tennis courts at Belvidere North High School. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

RU memorial

Bryson Bailey, 18, buries his face in his hands Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, after a memorial service for Desiree Wease and Demonte Wigfall at Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel. Bailey was roommates with Wigfall last semester. Wease and Wigfall were killed Tuesday night in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 90, near the Boone-McHenry County line. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

D’Mari Bell puts her backpack in her locker Thursday, July 21, 2016, on the first day of class at Haskell Year-Round Academy in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Forreston’s AJ Christensen (41) and Joseph Fiorello (46) break up a pass intended for St. Teresa’s Zach Jarrett (21) on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, during the Class 1A state championship game at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Hononegah’s Arianna Contreras (8), Gabby Bauch (1) and Hannah Popa (13) celebrate after a point Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, during a match against Boylan at Hononegah High School in Rockton. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Allen Pang talks Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at his home in Rockford about his time with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Pang was about a mile from Pearl Harbor studying at the University of Hawaii when the attack began. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Here’s the video of Allen Pang talking about his experience as a bombardier navigator in WWII.

Forreston players celebrate on the field after defeating Le-Win on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in the Class 1A quarterfinal at Lena-Winslow High School in Lena. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Angel Martinez, 16, of Rockford, won the U.S. Boxing Championship in the 108-pound youth division. Photographed Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at Patriots Boxing Club in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

There are MANY more frames that I’ve shot and enjoyed. I was better in 2016 about sharing many of those on my Instagram page. And if you made it this far on this post, you should probably go ahead and follow me on Instagram.

To see more pictures of mine and those of my colleagues at the Rockford Register Star, check out the gallery on the paper’s website.

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