Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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The 231 Project Photographer captures women of the 231 area code

Rick Coates - September 5th, 2011
The 231 Project: Photographer captures women of the 231 area code
By Rick Coates
Sarah Armstrong hurries home after work and grabs her camera bag and heads
out the door for her next shoot. A media consultant by day and
photographer by night, Armstrong is on a mission to photograph 231 women
from Northern Michigan for a new book and social media project.
Armstrong is not looking for societal supermodels for her project, just
women who who want to express their beauty regardless of size, shape or
age.
“I believe pictures have a way of capturing one’s beauty that a mirror or
societal expectations can’t,” said Armstrong. “That is my goal with this
project -- to let women be beautiful for who they are not what they are
told they need to be.”
At 24, Armstrong has been fascinated with photography for years. A friend
of hers launched a similar project in Battle Creek that was a huge
success. There is no cost to participate and Armstrong hopes the project
will introduce people to her newly launched photography business.
“I agree to provide a photo shoot and all the photos to everyone who
participates at no cost to them. For me it is an opportunity to network
and introduce myself as photographer to the Northern Michigan community.”

SHE’S BOOKED
The concept seems to be working as word has been spreading quickly with
Armstrong booked almost every night and most weekends.
“Right now most of the women that have heard about this project are in my
immediate circle and from Traverse City or the surrounding area. But I
want to reach out to the rest of the 231 area code.”
She also wants to expand her age demographic as well with the final
product reflecting the wide-ranging body styles of the region.
“The 30 women I have photographed so far are between the ages of 21-35 and
I want to expand that to include all ages; this project is about
reflecting all the women of the 231 area code,” said Armstrong. “The same
goes for size. I just photographed a bigger-boned woman and it was one of
my best shoots. She opened up during the shoot she let her inhibitions go
and it was a lot of fun.”
For Armstrong, seeing women let their inhibitions go is an important part
of the project.
“It is so rewarding when I show them the pictures and sometimes they tear
up and say ‘I am beautiful.’ See, they have have let magazines and movies
define their beauty,” said Armstrong. “I ask them what they are
self-conscious about and I steer clear of those features. I love to see
their reactions when I show them the photos as I take them, and they are
like, ‘wow that is me-- how did you do that?’ I chuckle and say it’s not a
magic wand, this is how you look.”

A GO-GETTER
Armstrong grew up in Battle Creek and had visited Traverse City. She saved
some money and moved here figuring she could work as a server until she
got on her feet.
“I have always been a go-getter, so I got a media sales job and that has
been going well. But becoming a photographer has always been on the back
burner for me until my mother passed away last year of leukemia. She was
55, I just knew it was time for me to pick up a camera and learn how to
use it. Since that time I have just fallen in love with photography, my
camera is always at my hip.”
As for including only women, Armstrong says they are just easier to
photograph than guys.
“Funny thing, people in general don’t want to look at photos of guys,”
said Armstrong. “But both men and women like looking at pictures of
women.”
Armstrong uses a Sony SLT -- a single lens translucent which enables her
to have a live view of each shot before taking it. Her goal is to have the
book out next year with supporting photos of each subject on her Facebook
page. Anyone interested in participating in the 231 Project may contact
her at 231-360-8702 or messaging her on Facebook.
 
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