Dalton, New Hampshire
By Jessica Rinaldi
Every year for the past ten years “The Dalton Gang” has held a primitive biathlon at their shooting club in Dalton, New Hampshire. If you’ve never heard of this before, here’s the rundown.
A primitive biathlon is what happens when you strap snowshoes to your feet and grab a muzzleloaded weapon (rifle or pistol) and race around a track through the woods, in this case 1.75 miles long, to different stations where you load the weapon and shoot at the target. You are scored by how fast you can make it around the track and how accurately you can hit the nine targets spread out across the four different stations scattered throughout the course.
By Jessica Rinaldi
Imagine a mountain, the type of thing that you might go skiing on in the winter. Now picture yourself running up and down said mountain for nine miles and just for kicks why don’t you throw in some really sadistic obstacles? Things like fire and mud and just to make it more fun why not throw in some live wires? Yeah, live wires. You know just string them over that mud pit there so that you’ll get zapped as you’re trying to get across to the other side. We’ll call it the electric eel. What’s that you say? You’d like a dumpster full of ice cubes to jump into as well? Done. Congratulations you’ve just entered the world of the Tough Mudder, an event so intense that in order to compete you must sign a waiver releasing the planners from liability should you happen to die somewhere along the course.
SLIDESHOW: ONE TOUGH MUDDER
Let me be clear, this event is a sports photographer’s paradise. The mud alone would be enough to combat every extra inning baseball game you’ve ever shot (what’s that you say, 17 innings and not a single good picture?) but then throw in the ice cubes, the fire, the electrified wires, and a bunch of contestants so focused on getting through the thing that they have no idea you’re even there and well… you get the point.
By Jessica Rinaldi
Every four years we photographers load our suitcases with layers of warm clothes and head to the Granite State to photograph the political frenzy that is the New Hampshire Primary. New Hampshire and Iowa are considered by many to be retail politics at their best, the states where candidates get on the ground to talk with voters, and local residents have the unique chance to see who the candidates are. It’s an opportunity for the candidates to test out their talking points and fine tune their campaign strategy, to see what floats.
While all of that is well and good in the warm summer months at the beginning of their journey, by the time that chilly spotlight turns from Iowa to New Hampshire they tend to have already become well-seasoned politicians. It is with that knowledge that we head to New Hampshire, where we know that we will be composing other photographers in or out of our shots depending on the story and jostling for position in front of the diner booth, factory worker, rotary club member, or veteran that happens to call to us at one of the many campaign events we shoot throughout the day. At least, that’s what I had figured I would do this time around.
I stumbled across the Yoga For Vets, NYC website while doing some research for another story. The tag line on their site says, “Taught by a veteran, for veterans, Yoga for Vets NYC is FREE for all veterans, family, and providers.” I kept clicking. The site went on to talk about how the program offered both yoga and meditation classes. It said the classes were designed specifically for veterans dealing with injuries or trauma. The program was started by Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine who found that yoga had helped her with aspects of service-related injuries that the VA Hospital could not. It all sounded pretty amazing. I emailed Anu asking if I could come by and photograph her class, then crossed my fingers.
Anu was kind enough to allow me to photograph her class, and generous enough to speak with me about the experiences that led her to start the program in the first place. I knew that without her words I would risk coming away with pictures that didn’t really distinguish this yoga class from that of any other in the city. It’s a problem that visual journalists often face when stories turn towards topics that are largely invisible. How do you tell a story about trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when everything appears to be normal on the surface?