Author Archives: rkchurchill

About rkchurchill

I am a freelance photojournalist working in Sin City. I live to photograph the weird & wacky, and believe me, there is plenty in this town. You can see samples of my daily work for national newspapers, wire services and commercial clients at: www.rondachurchill.com or by simply typing my name in a search engine. Page views, reposts and comments are always welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for viewing my slice of images that made the cut.

Hallowow

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I met Jeff at a part-time job I took to supplement my photojournalism income.

Jeff is amazing, to say the least. First of all, he is a recovering alcoholic with over two years sobriety, which I think takes a huge amount of courage. He is a survivor of a many things, including a gay bashing assault.

He is hilarious. On my last week of work, he brought me bags of candy (we both love the sugar) and a balloon with the word Princess on it. “Here,” he said shoving the whole lot into my hands, “They didn’t have one that said ‘you’re an asshole.’”

Lastly, he is quite the seamstress. He designed and sewed his entire octopus Halloween costume. It took him roughly 60 hours and 20 yards of material. Last year, he was a mermaid. The underwater theme is kind of his thing.

Thanks friend for keeping me sane while on the clock. People really are awful, and I think everyone should have to serve tables at some point in their lives, sooner rather than later. Moving forward in my career, I hope to be as fearless and fabulous as you.

 

Ronda Churchill is a freelance photojournalist available for hire worldwide. You can follow her on Instagram @rondachurchill

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“Unknown”

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I have always been drawn to cemeteries.

Perhaps the often-photographed location of a cemetery has always been ingrained in my photographer’s blood. Maybe the lure to explore them stemmed from my childhood memories of my mother speaking to her parents’ graves while we visited the quiet, tranquil space and my younger siblings and I examined the rows of nearby headstones. Above all, the way a community documents and celebrates the resting place of their loved ones is quite telling of the culture of its living population, and I always find myself  documenting these plots of lands.

Last week, forecasted rains dampened my Memorial Day weekend camping trip in Southern Utah. Before heading back to town, my husband and I stumbled upon a little cemetery near Mormon-settled St. George in the somewhat ghost town of Silver Reef. It was there that we found the town’s Pioneer Cemetery, a small cemetery declaring the land to have graves of both Catholic and Protestant faith. Inside the divided cemetery, among weathered headstones and blunt grave markers were 32 graves marked “unknown.”

I jumped out of the truck with my camera as wind whipped around us and dark clouds moved in upon the small plot nestled at the foot of a mountain and sprawling country homes built over a 19th century silver mining town.

Sadness was palpable as I shot frames of uniform white crosses with unidentified bones buried beneath them. The hand-crafted markers were a small forest in an ordinary field. I took my time and moved around the land, while my husband walked our dog along the perimeter, knowing I needed space.

Although only a couple frames made the cut, I would like to think of these images as a small tribute to the miners and their families that lay below.

“Unknown” is a part of an untitled and ongoing series. Follow photojournalist Ronda Churchill on Instagram @rondachurchillblog3road

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Fertility/Neplodnost

I have been silently struggling with infertility for the past 3.5 years. This sentence is hard to write.

Making images is easy. It keeps my world right.

The following frames were shot within several days of traveling and hiking in Croatia in January. The cost of hiking a bucket-list national park is minute compared to the colossal cost of treatment.

These images reflect my feelings with my fertility struggle.

004 copyPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/NeplodnostPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/NeplodnostPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/NeplodnostPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/NeplodnostPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/NeplodnostPhoto by Ronda Churchill
Series: Infertility/Neplodnost

Free admission

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Free Admission

A decayed water park
thirsty in the searing California desert,
is quenched by spray paint

Applied color,
of lines and shapes conveying
love, hate, pain, politics,
reside on the sun fun skeletal remains
a slide with no slide
a pool with no pool

“Freckle face”
“I’m a nurse; I do crystal meth”
“Leon loves Heather”
It’s a community poem,
the common thread: expression
I take my piece too
for my little blog post

The smell of spray paint hangs in the air
I am alone in this charged space
later frightened by an artist then two lovers
we find ourselves on this ride

Lake Delores Waterpark that once was wet
now flows with an artsy, niche vibe
where lovers and haters gather
to leave behind a permanent mark
on an impermanent, changing space

 

Lake Delores Waterpark, with slogan, “The fun spot in the desert!” closed its doors permanently in the late 1980s. Ronda Churchill is a freelance photojournalist available for hire worldwide. http://www.rondachurchill.com
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Intergalactic Art Car Festival

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On a very windy Saturday evening, a vacant lot in downtown Las Vegas was transformed into a futurist light and fire show. Members of the community were drawn to the event like bugs are seduced by lantern light on a dark, summer night.

For one evening, we had our own little Burning Man in the desert. Decorated cars and sculptures suddenly transformed and moved, all seemingly fueled by the surrounding upbeat techno music. Children laughed and pointed as parents and young lovers alike took photos and danced. People came as they were and left with a smile in their heart. That’s the funny thing about art; it moves you.

Photographer note: All images shot on iPhone X. Ronda Churchill is a freelance photographer based in Las Vegas available for hire worldwide.

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Grandma’s Camera, part 2

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Charlene Cecilia Wolf

(March 22, 1928- April 22, 2018)

Charlene, beloved mother of 6, grandmother of 13 and great grandmother to many passed away peacefully with family at her side. My mother, whose own mother passed away very tragically in a car wreck, was with Charlene as final breaths were taken. My mother knew her mother-in-law longer than her own mother. Charlene was “mom” to many.

Weeks ago, I wrote an unpublished blog post when I returned from Illinois after spending quality time with my grandmother. I have saved those words and will revisit them at a later time.

In Illinois, I photographed my grandmother on a day that she felt well. We looked at my prints from a previous trip that I exposed with her mother’s camera, ate popcorn, talked about grandpa and his visits in her dreams, and exchanged stories about his “pennies from heaven.” I even witnessed my grandmother’s very first manicure. She chose an electric teal that a nurse named “I’ve-never-done-this-before Blue.”

In the photograph, one of two frames I took on the 100-year old Brownie, tiny paper hearts hang in a tree behind her. The hearts revealed handwritten notes to loved ones of past and present and were left over tokens from Valentine’s Day at the care center.

In the image, my grandmother wears one of her favorite shirts, her hair is full, her nails are painted, and she has a slight smile. I know today that her smile is huge because she is no longer in pain, is not afraid, and is reunited with the love of her life.

Thank you, grandma, for being you. You will be missed by your big family.

Author’s note: See previous blog post for Grandma’s Camera, part 1