Their Year in Pictures

Anna Jones
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Last year, Des Moines photographer Anna Jones traveled to Thailand and Cambodia “really just to explore,” she says. “I got to document so many cool things,” including not only people but also tigers and elephants. The elephants “are used to being around humans,” she says. “As long as you respect them, they will respect you. They are even quite friendly and playful.”

Ben Easter
Location: Rishikesh, India
While traveling in India last year, Des Moines photographer Ben Easter spent time with a 10-year-old bone cancer patient and her family in one of India’s poorest regions. “It was devastating,” he says of the experience. The girl “tried so hard to be strong and she never complained, but she was so weak, she had to be lifted into a rickshaw to go to school.” When the girl returned home, “her mother sat on the steps with a bucket of water and washed her feet,” Easter says. “That was their daily ritual. The mother was distraught—her daughter was the love of her life—and while she couldn’t wash away the cancer, she could at least wash away the day’s dirt.” The young girl so moved Easter that he’s returning to Rishikesh later this year and hopes to see her again. She “hasn’t left me,” he says. “The thought of her still eats me up.”

Garrett Cornelison
Location: Paia, Maui
Des Moines photographer Garrett Cornelison spent most of 2013 traveling to all 50 states on a “photo documentary adventure.” His last stop was Hawaii, where he photographed a woman named Blair and her 1-year-old daughter along Maui’s north coast. “By the time I encountered Blair, she was already tangled up with what remained of that tree,” he says. “From a distance, I watched her twist and climb around the stump before perching right on top. I was timid, as I usually am, approaching a complete stranger to ask for a portrait. But she was not only willing but also excited. That day was her daughter’s first birthday, and she told me she was hoping the opportunity for a family photo might arise. We connected instantly about photography, and art, and the positive magnetism that brought people together on the island. I was a photographer in need of a subject, and she was a subject in need of a photographer.”

Ignatius Widiapradja
Location: Florence, Italy
Artist and photographer Ignatius Widiapradja, a professor of art and design at Drake University, shot this photo in a high-end fashion district not often visited by tourists. The way the stores exhibited their goods captured his attention. “I found most of the stores in this area tend to create a narrative when they display the merchandise,” he says. “The juxtaposition between images on the windows and the reflection of the architecture and street scenes outside the stores creates a wonderful multilayering of realities. I found this particular display was bold and defied conventional beauty. … The mannequin was bald, and her pose and expression were strong and uncompromising. At the same time, the dress was delicate and feminine. The combination of the opposites is fascinating.”

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