GREENFIELD – Brigette Jones knew a dancing Princess Leia in pointe shoes would make for a unique picture.
And after all, that’s what was happening in the Jones household on May 20 as daughter Cassondra took to the stage for her ballet recital — on the same day of a state-wide photography challenge.
Jones of Greenfield, an amateur photographer, first saw the call-out for photographs on the Indiana University Press Facebook page. As part of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration of statehood, the publishing company tasked non-professional photographers with capturing a day in the life of Indiana on May 20, 2016, with the best photos to be published in a book of Hoosier happenings.
“They wanted photos that were just done by your average, everyday person,” Jones said.
Story continues below gallery
Daughter Cassondra Jones, 16 at the time, was a student at Wilkerson Dance, performing in “The Star Wars Ballet” as Princess Leia.
Jones was hopeful of getting a good shot to contribute. Dance photography can be tricky, she knew, because of the rapid movement of the dancers and the special lighting used on stage. She took around 500 photos of her daughter during an afternoon and evening performance and then had just 48 hours to sift through all the photos, select and edit the one she wanted.
Brad Brown, a five-year member of the Indianapolis Camera Club from New Palestine, found out about the contest at a club meeting. He thought participating in a day of photographing Indiana was an interesting idea and decided that the eagles nesting north of Greenfield would be the focus of his lens.
Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found.
“The eagles weren’t cooperating that day,” Brown said, so he ventured into downtown Greenfield looking for other photo opportunities. Brown ended up submitting a photo of the statue of James Whitcomb Riley in front of the Indiana state flag and the American flag, the Hancock County Courthouse looming in the background, using a wide-angle lens to capture the entire panorama.
Susan Cook, another Hancock photography enthusiast, headed out on May 20 to Beckenholdt Park’s Rover’s Run Bark Park with her two schnoodle-dogs, Bandit and Oscar.
“It was the first trip of spring,” Cook of Greenfield remembered, “and the plan was to catch my dogs doing what they do best.”
And so she kept them in the frame, dashing about the stretch of land, frolicking in the spring air.
She settled on a photo of the dogs looking at each other from the opposite end of a downed hollow log.
The photographers were allowed to send in only one photo, and they had no idea how many photos – state-wide – would be submitted.
Months went by. Jones almost forgot that she’d submitted a photo. Then, in September, she was notified of the acceptance of her photo.
Jones phoned her daughter after school to tell her that the photo had been accepted but then had to call her back to tell her that the photo was also on the cover of the book.
“I told her, ‘You’re a cover girl!’” Jones laughed.
The book, “One Day in May,” captures a rainy spring day in the Hoosier state. The 142 photos are organized chronologically from 2:44 a.m. to 11:39 p.m., each page listing the time and location, a brief description and the name of the photographer.
Brown’s photo of the Hancock County Courthouse appears on page 62 at 1:42 p.m.
Cook’s photo of her dog and the dog park appears on Page 64 at 2 p.m.
Jones’ photo of her daughter and fellow Wilkerson dancer Dana Sutherlin appears on page 124 at 8:22 p.m.
The other photos in the book capture life in the Hoosier state including everyday moments (a woman washing clothes, children getting on the school bus), the beauty of the Indiana landscape (a sunrise from Brown County State Park), sports (a track meet at Crown Point High School) and special events, such as Jones’ daughter’s recital.
Jones said having her photo included in the book gave her the confidence to continue pursuing photography. She posted her accomplishment and the photo on social media.
“And it was the most-liked post I ever had on Facebook,” she laughed.