RE: Feb. 19th, 2011

The 40th Anniversary President's Ball at the Renaissance Ballroom, hosted by The Imperial Sovereign Court Of Seattle and The Olympic & Ranier Empire, is a night I'll never forget. I remember being amazed and wide eyed at the prospect of being the only photographer in the room, even though I'd only had a camera for almost two months. Jose Julio Sarria, known as Empress Jose I, the Widow Norton, was present for the occasion, and at the time I didn't know the great significance of that, just that she was of really old age for a drag queen. Two-and-a-half years later she passed away at the age of 91 and The Advocate and Huffington Post ran my only frame of just her (top image) alongside her obituaries, which I highly recommend checking out.

I sometimes regret having shot everything at 6400 ISO and in JPEG format, but then again I don't, because if anything had happened differently that evening I wouldn't have caught MC Jack-e Edwards, of Reno, giving Mike Dumoulin, of Vancouver, Wash., that bewildered look (2nd image down). The black-and-white version (which I prefer) was later included in American Photography 28, selected as Vogue Italia's Photo of the Day, and was published in Photo District News' 2013 Photo Annual. It remains my favorite image, and it's interesting to me that I've spent the last four years getting better with a camera but still trying to top a picture that was made when I didn't know what I was doing. In my mind I'll probably never top it.