This woman was one of 19 female suicide bombers that were among hostage takers during The Moscow theater hostage crisis (also known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege). She was one of the two female suicide bombers who agreed to give an interview to Russian channel NTV. A journalist asked her: “Why did you come here to die? Do you feel sorry for the innocent people?”. She responded that in Chechnya where she is from women, children and old men are being killed everyday and nobody cares. During the interview she was constantly touching wires of the detonator so journalists didn’t forget that she can blow everyone up in seconds. The second female suicide bomber was asked: “Are you afraid to die?”. Instead of response she just giggled at the journalist. Another journalist who was watching the interview wrote that it seemed as if she thought that everything that is happening was funny. The Moscow theater hostage crisis ended after three days and resulted in death of 133 hostages. All hostage takers were killed.




The last stop on my rollercoaster ride of chasing summer in winter would end in Detroit. Seemingly the most unlikely spot for winter athleticism and more commonly associated with American Car manufacturing, I’d never been.  I was excited and hoping for a possible Eminem or Kid Rock Encounter!

The Visa Crew was here to shoot Russian Hockey player Pavel Datsyuk, who on the flipside plays for the Detroit Red Wings, The other sport was Ice Dancing with Meryl Davis and Charlie White.  The latter would end up being one of the most difficult sports I have even shot and the one we would start with. Having two subjects  - moving off axis, changing rhythm, squatting low then lifting high would prove to be more complex than anticipated.  At a certain point while watching Charlie and Meryl rehears, Kat one of the creatives on the set asked how do I know when to shoot while that much stuff is going on? 

Ever since I was a kid, if I saw something once I could shoot it  - I could figure out the decisive moments.  While the lighting was being rigged I spent a lot of time watching their routine.  The tough part was while Charlie would be leading in a straight line or slight curve, Meryl would be spinning off axis so trying to match their facial expressions with good composition was like a homeless person winning the lottery.   A one in a million chance. Having the 1DX Canon made things easier.  It had one of the fastest autofocus I’ve used but finding the right framing and angle was a challenge.

As we got started there was Monte, Mike the cinematographer on skates, Jon the third photographer on skates and I all twirling around Meryl and Charlie.  It was like a pack of wolves surrounding a couple of cute dancing deer… on a slipnslide.

Quite possibly the most peculiar instance of finesse in motion…

I was really surprised no on fell on the ice.

The second portion of the shoot would be spent at the Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings. It was a humbling experience walking in the players entrance, standing in the middle of the ice, imagining thousands of people cheering or the opposite  - mad hockey fans yelling at you.

We started out pretty basic but then Monte suggested “Hey Stan can you get up in the rafters and shoot down to get a different perspective?” which was pretty much music to my ears.

The sketchier the job, the more I like it.

Being hundreds of feet over the ice, all by myself, trying to navigate steel beams, not drop anything on the players or the crew and get a good shot was too much fun. 

Next up were Charlie and Meryl teaching Pavel some figure skating moves and then Charlie and Pavel going thru some hockey drills.  Say what you want about male figure skater and preconceived notion but Charlie White knows how to skate.  I think he even shocked Pavel a bit with his hockey skills. 

Then we shot Pavel doing high speed attacks at the goal. At one point he skated over to Monte and I and said in broken Russian  “lay still.. Don’t move when I skate towards you.” 

We kind of looked at each other and were like, “uh ok..”  The thought of taking a hockey puck to the grill didn’t really appeal to me but I figured follow the expert’s advice.

Nothing like laying on the ice and having Pavel skating at breakneck speeds directly toward me while sending slap shots over my head!

All in all Detroit delivered quite well. I shot some of my favorite images of the campaign, was only momentarily cold and found a new respect for ice dancing, hockey and the motor city.


Few Personal Headcanons


2p Italy plays the violin and to me is basically that one guy who looks super cool and awesome from a distance but one you get to know them is literally the worst friend you’ve ever made. Luciano has a low patience and can not handle stupidity even as a joke. If you would act really stupid round him, I can only say he would squint at you judging you silently. Also is super Tsundere. No one can tell me other wise.

Ugh 2p Germany is a huge perv not even gonna lie. He’d make like sexual innuendos and then laugh about them later while you’re probably still wondering what the hell he’s talking about. He is lazy but not lazy enough to have the body of all gods.(acts smooth, but it actually really lame)

2p Japan. Third most sensible of the axis, but can be really irrational in the heat of the moment. Kuro is the one who has the ringtone to his favorite anime opening or ending and most likely has a shrine of Miku in his closet. He is the mother and does not give a shit about anything, like forever poker face. Best cook that has ever set foot on the planet earth and don’t you forget it.

2p Romano is the bigger fashionista there has ever lived. Don’t even get me started on how this boy will angrily type a whole packet about how bad crocs are and why they should be illegal. He is the topmost of all fashion and most of his brain consist on his appearance. Even though he cares much about appearance he won’t look at someone in disgust if they don’t look camera ready. Unless they wear something that isn’t their size(mostly too small) then he might have trouble on telling his friends and not keeping it to himself.

He is the cutest baby of all I can’t even tell how adorable 2p Prussia is. Gillen has really low self esteem, like if you give him a compliment he might either deny it or his self esteem would go up but like +3 and if he gets any negative comments it’ll drop to like -60000. He’s not weak, but is really indecisive about his decisions. For example if someone was picking on a friend of his, his time would mostly be standing there thinking out scenarios of what could happen in the two paths, making him on of the most sensible.He’s more of a picker upper than someone to stop it all together.


2p America is without a doubt an instigator. He’s like the child who never grew up, not really having much of filter or testing people with a goofy smile of his face. Overall just a big kid. Even though he can be really childish there are times where he’s really an adult, like cheering people up or taking serious situations serious while still lightening up the mood. With a s/o, he’d be really gentle and would put them first before himself. He’s a dick though. Is Vegan and haaaaaaaates when any of fast food commercials come on, because it makes his stomach hurt to see so much grease in one food item. It hurts his soul.

2p Canada is the big buff cheeto puff. He’s super blank face and looks really intimating, but is all about cuddling by the fireplace with a hot cup of Cocoa. He does the occasional smoking, but only if he’s really stressed out and needs some kinda quick way to get his mind clear. Matthieu has a “Bros Before Hoes” relationship with Allen even though it doesn’t really seem like they get along. He is the best at making some fluffy buttery pancakes that you would be begging for seconds.

2p France, as we all know if a heavy smoker and drinker. François doesn’t tend to talk much and doesn’t mind having silence. He also tends to have a medium to high sex drive. Not that he needs to be in any kind of sexual act constantly, but probably can’t do it himself after a week or two. He’s like Italy, mafia wise and has plenty of connections to get what he wants when needed. Right now he doesn’t seem so compatible, but does a soft side deep deep deep in his soul and can’t stand the sight of an injured pet. Has to change the channel if one of those animal shelter donation commercials come on.

2p England is the kindest most sweetest loving asshole there has ever been. Sure he is covered with colors and smiles and cupcakes, but can annoy you bad into swearing so he can pull out that swear jar. He cares for everything, but don’t get him to a point where he’s so mad that his kitchen knife won’t just be used to cutting foods. He won’t swear for anything and if he does it’s just words like fudge or butterscotch.

2p Russia is the love of everyone. Vlad is a pacifist and will not fight not matter how gruesome things are. He would sit down and have a civilized conversation about the issue over like some coffee instead of resulting to violence. He has a large library in his home containing over hundreds of books and loves to read and be informed of politics. He is very well cultured on the world and enjoys learning more information and facts. He likes people who are willing to talk about touchy subjects in the world and who wouldn’t turn a blind eye to such issues.(race, injustice, politics, brutality etc.)

2p China is the short angry one, also with zero amount of filters. He sucks a cooking, please do not ask this child to make ANYTHING for you, unless you’re prepared to go to hospital to get your stomach pumped. It may look good, but do not taste it at all cost. When he’s stressed out he’ll just get high and chill with some kid shows and a bag of Doritos. Huge flirt and just because he flirts doesn’t mean he’s all into you though. Just saying.


2p Spain is literally a stone. You will probably never see this guy smile, he barely talks, doesn’t like being touched and doesn’t know the word friendly or gentle. The only person he lets touch him and hang onto him is Flavio. I mean he let him dye a strand of his hair. Anyway, Andres has a “whatever if it’s not broken” attitude and doesn’t care what people think. He does like being inside and just take a nap, so have fun with that.

You know that one kid in high school who had shaved hair, Metallica shirts, ripped jeans and wore the pentagon necklaces and you kinda hated them but still found them alluring in a way? That is literally 2p Austria. Ryszard is all about rock and seems like a “Hail Satan!” kind of guy. He plans on being ruler of the world and treats himself like the king. He tends to smoke for any occasion, sad, mad, happy, bored, just to have something in his mouth. Like binge eating, but with cigarettes. Even though he listens to the hard rock and metal, he secretly has a huge soft spot for classical music. Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, so on and so forth.

If I see one more joke about the meteor crashing in Russia I’m going to scream. Seriously people, that’s not right. People were hurt by that crash. And all the Hetalians who think it’s funny to apply the character Russia to it, please stop. It’s not funny, and it’s more inconsiderate  than anything else. Taking real life events, especially tragic ones -I.E. 9/11 and pearl harbor-, and using them for your own enjoyment is sick, cruel, and wrong. And Hetalians aren’t the only ones. Homestuckers are to have blame to. Jokes about someone playing Suburb in Russia are, once again, cruel  sick, and inconsiderate. This is just as bad as those two Homestuck cosplayers who cosplayed over a grave labeled 'Butts". So please, stop it. It makes you look immature, stupid, and uncaring. So please stop because this is not a joking matter. This is serious.

Day 152: Sochi 2014 Olympics Closing Ceremony