The Photo Dork

Minneapolis freelance photojournalist Tom Baker likes to share stories about the stories he shoots. This photo blog is where he'll say a few words and share some photos about the work he does.

2016 Retrospective

As the saying goes, better late than never. Here are a handful of favorite images from 2016, the majority of which I shot while working on stories primarily for Minnesota Public Radio. Granted, I already posted some of these images in a previous blog post, but after editing through work from the past year I enjoyed revisiting them and decided to include them as part my favorites from the collective body of work from 2016. But in reviewing my work, I realized I didn't pursue enough personal work and therefore my goal for 2017 is to do more personal projects and photo stories. 

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

Mohamednour Aded, 38, poses for a photo in the hallway of former Garfield Elementary School, which is now a mosque that was started by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Minn. Aded came to the United States in 2013 and was injured while working at American Food Group. While working at American, Aded had to pray in the bathroom after he was denied to take prayer breaks.

From left, organizers for Working America Alisa Tennessen and Tara Johnson, both from Minneapolis, take a selfie with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison before the start of the Regional Worker Voice Summit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday, February 9, 2016. United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was the keynote speaker at the summit, and Johnson spoke on a panel after the summit concluded.

From left, organizers for Working America Alisa Tennessen and Tara Johnson, both from Minneapolis, take a selfie with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison before the start of the Regional Worker Voice Summit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday, February 9, 2016. United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez was the keynote speaker at the summit, and Johnson spoke on a panel after the summit concluded.

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

A fan pays his respects to Prince at an impromptu memorial for the musician that was set up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn., by mourners the day the musician died, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (visit my multimedia page to see a video I did covering the reaction of fans to Prince's death).

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne, Minn.

Blue Mounds State Park, Luverne, Minn.

Thunderbird, Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site, Comfrey, Minn.

Thunderbird, Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site, Comfrey, Minn.

A young man wears a rainbow flag in his pony tail while among hundreds who came out for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

A young man wears a rainbow flag in his pony tail while among hundreds who came out for an emotional vigil to show their support for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., at Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Members of the Lawn Mower Brigade from left, Irene Opsahl, Erin Stutelberg, Megan Tracey, Joan Maland, Chuck Tracey, Elizabeth Clark, and Jonathon Carter perform their routine on Knapp Avenue during the 4th In The Park Parade in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn., Monday, July 4, 2016.

Members of the Lawn Mower Brigade from left, Irene Opsahl, Erin Stutelberg, Megan Tracey, Joan Maland, Chuck Tracey, Elizabeth Clark, and Jonathon Carter perform their routine on Knapp Avenue during the 4th In The Park Parade in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn., Monday, July 4, 2016.

Malik Curtis performs his poem “Cut From A Different Cloth” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Curtis’ powerful poem ended with the lines, “I’m cut from a different cloth! I’m cut from a different cloth! Dear America, you have locked our bodies but you will never lock our minds. I love all people, but my blackness will never be a crime.”

Malik Curtis performs his poem “Cut From A Different Cloth” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Curtis’ powerful poem ended with the lines, “I’m cut from a different cloth! I’m cut from a different cloth! Dear America, you have locked our bodies but you will never lock our minds. I love all people, but my blackness will never be a crime.”

Overcome with emotion, poet Ashley Oliver performs her poem “Blank” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. “And then there’s John Crawford, 20 miles up the dusty Ohio roads that I call home,” she recited. “Wrongfully accused of brandishing a gun at customers, the police ran up behind him, he’s on the phone, back turned, bullets shot, bullets shot, bullets continued to be shot, as his girlfriend and father are on speaker phone listening. Until the resounding shots stop. The cacophony ceases. And the airwaves went blank.”

Overcome with emotion, poet Ashley Oliver performs her poem “Blank” during Black Poets Speak Out at the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, July 13, 2016. “And then there’s John Crawford, 20 miles up the dusty Ohio roads that I call home,” she recited. “Wrongfully accused of brandishing a gun at customers, the police ran up behind him, he’s on the phone, back turned, bullets shot, bullets shot, bullets continued to be shot, as his girlfriend and father are on speaker phone listening. Until the resounding shots stop. The cacophony ceases. And the airwaves went blank.”

Flamenco dancer Sachiko Nishiuchi practices her routine at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis, Minn., in preparation for an upcoming audition at the Walker Art Center, Sunday, July 17, 2016. Nishiuchi is originally from Japan where she first learned Flamenco, but after moving to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota, she has embraced the art of flamenco much more seriously and has since lived and studied in Seville, Spain, in order to teach students locally not only how to dance flamenco, but also the importance of the cultural aspects and history of it. 

Flamenco dancer Sachiko Nishiuchi practices her routine at Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis, Minn., in preparation for an upcoming audition at the Walker Art Center, Sunday, July 17, 2016. Nishiuchi is originally from Japan where she first learned Flamenco, but after moving to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota, she has embraced the art of flamenco much more seriously and has since lived and studied in Seville, Spain, in order to teach students locally not only how to dance flamenco, but also the importance of the cultural aspects and history of it. 

Paralympian Mallory Weggemann does one last training session while her coach, Steve Van Dyne, looks on, before leaving for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Paralympian Mallory Weggemann does one last training session while her coach, Steve Van Dyne, looks on, before leaving for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann receives a sword salute at a sendoff celebration at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Weggemann will be competing at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and qualified to compete in seven events; the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke. Only one other America Paralympic swimmer qualified in as many events as Weggemann.

Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann receives a sword salute at a sendoff celebration at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Weggemann will be competing at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and qualified to compete in seven events; the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke. Only one other America Paralympic swimmer qualified in as many events as Weggemann.

Supporters light candles as they gather for a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Supporters light candles as they gather for a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Overcome with emotion a woman, who wished to remain unidentified, hugs a friend while attending a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Overcome with emotion a woman, who wished to remain unidentified, hugs a friend while attending a vigil at the site where Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., three months after the incident on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Naomi Joshua, a student at Laura Jeffrey Academy, which is a girl-focused charter school in St. Paul, Minn., became emotionally distraught while sharing her thoughts during a group interview in reaction to Donald Trump being elected, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Naomi Joshua, a student at Laura Jeffrey Academy, which is a girl-focused charter school in St. Paul, Minn., became emotionally distraught while sharing her thoughts during a group interview in reaction to Donald Trump being elected, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Parishioners light candles while attending Christmas Eve service at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, December 24, 2016.  

Parishioners light candles while attending Christmas Eve service at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, December 24, 2016.