GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 31, 2012

Photos of the Year by Mike Springer

By Mike Springer
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — When Hurricane Sandy hit the area in late October, I was surprised to see so many surfers in the water. This man jumped off the end of Magnolia pier so he could swim farther out into the waves. Talk about fearless.

At low tide one late November afternoon on Lighthouse Beach in Annisquam, the sand had an interesting ripple pattern. The sun had just gone down. A local woman, Lida Bernard, stood watching as a neighbor’s dog chased her dog across the wet sand.

When people are singing (or talking) it’s often best to photograph them just before or after, so their faces aren’t contorted and you get a sense of an interior life. This girl, Sara Ruda, looked radiant as “Christine” from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, Phantom of the Opera, during a talent show in early November at Manchester Essex Regional High School.

Children are interesting to photograph because of their ingenuousness and vitality. In this situation, second graders Brian Kelly, Jr. and Kaitlin Harding were singing a sea shanty during a Holiday concert at Essex Elementary School. Certain Popeye-like arm gestures were called for, and Brian and Kaitlin were up to the task.

Sometimes its nice to stand back at a distance and watch as things unfold. This family - Tim and Csilla Clark and their three children, Forrester, Kata and Natalia - was enjoying an early November afternoon together on the shore of Chebacco Lake, in Essex.

I like trying to convey what an experience feels like, rather than simply what it looks like. In this situation, two students from Gloucester’s Plum Cove Elementary School, Connor Vittands and Emily Ross, were on a field trip aboard the schooner Thomas E. Lannan in late September. With a light breeze and brilliant sunshine, it was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

Mike Springer has been a photojournalist since high school, when he took pictures for his hometown newspaper in South Dakota, over 30 years ago. As a freelancer, he was based in Chicago for many years and covered a wide range of subjects. He produced stories on violence in Haiti, martial law in Tibet, famine in the Sudan and more. His work has been published in Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Stern, Paris Match and many other publications in America and abroad. Before moving to Massachusetts in 2004, he was based for several years in Washington D.C., where he covered the White House, Capitol Hill and various government agencies. Since moving to this region he has returned to his roots as a community newspaper photographer. He has been working with the Gloucester Daily Times since the fall.