Staff Photographer Zach Straw’s Favorite Images from 2019

Whew, talk about a year; 2019 was a record-setter with 367 individual photo sessions!

The best part of being at the magazine is the variety of things we get to see and do. It’s great looking back at all my favorites, and honestly, it’s hard to distill my favorite images down to just a few. I originally picked about 50 of my favorites, but I don’t want to drown you all in images. That being said, here are 10 of my favorite images from 2019.

Artist Jonathan Hittner is an artist — a mad-scientist sort of artist — with beautiful chaos everywhere. Paint-glistened walls and inspiration could be found from every corner of his Henderson, Kentucky, based studio. It truly was a photographer’s dream location for fascinating textures and backgrounds.

Mikaela Jenkins is fast, so fast she’ll probably kick your butt in the pool and out of the pool. She’s gone on to do even more great things since I had the pleasure of taking her portraits, like finishing first in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships in London. I’m sure you’ll see more of her accomplishments in the coming years.

Southern Indiana has a problem — a brown food problem. In a sea of fried everything, it’s hard to come across color in food photography. And yet, here I am, falling in love with these heavenly poached pears from the cookbook we made in cooperation with the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association. As good as they look, the golden tones of this mouth-watering dish don’t even compare to the taste of the real thing, so go home, make some, and treat yo self.

Cancer sucks. We all know it, but DeAndre Wilson lives it. Talking about cancer is what DeAndre does, and does well. It’s a serious topic and his face in the photos show it. But when you meet him on the street pushing that ungodly heavy tire, go say hi. He knows the tire is more than just a wheel, it’s a vehicle for conversation. Rolling down the street, it gets people talking. And once he slows down to chat, you’ll find that DeAndre is genuinely one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

I grew up with rabbits and currently own one myself, but Erin Miller is the real deal. Erin is a bunny whisperer and a hare extraordinaire. In our pets issue (the March/April issue), we wanted to hone in on her and her rabbit’s connection. By simplifying the background, it really allows you to focus on just the two of them. Erin’s passion for all things rabbit spread to the rest of the office, and you can really tell by the photos everyone was having a great time.

Hello color! I love food and drink photography, and we were finally able to bring in some color to an image. I loved the tile on the underside of Hacienda’s bar, so we made a mini photo studio out of two chairs and a posterboard. Add some fresh cut citrus and you’ve got a fun photo highlighting the best of the restaurant’s delicious drinks.

How fun can retirement photos be? Incredibly. We met up with Alan Newman for his retirement story (“Looking Ahead” in the October/November issue of [Evansville Business]) at Victoria National Golf Club. Alan is a founding member of the club and gave us a grand tour on cart, allowing us to take in the rolling vistas and stunning landscaping. Relaxing on the lawn was just the shot we needed to show his excitement about retirement.

The smell of burning coals and hot iron set the tone for Benton Frisse’s interview. The artisan hammered away at glowing metal while talking about his time on the show “Forged in Fire.” With some photo sessions, the magic happens candidly. This was one of those times. From knives to axes for fences, Benton does it all.

What do you get when you ask the band Thunder Dreamer to drive 20 minutes into Vanderburgh County’s peninsula? You get expansive rural fields mixed with texture-rich bridges. It provided just the right mix of looks to capture the shoegaze rock the quartet produces. Fortune was with us as a graffitied train rolled past us during the shot seen here.

The University of Southern Indiana has been an architectural boon in the last decade, and its recent projects only solidify that trend. Seen here, the new Screaming Eagles Arena is both beautiful and functional, with 90,000 square feet of space and seating for 4,800 attendees. Its sharp lines and excellent amenities rival and surpass many of the area’s arenas.

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