Steven Laxton

Aussie Photographer in NYC represented by Bernstein & Andriulli | Arnold Newman Prize | CA annual | AP 29 & 32 | PDN Annual | POYi

Brooklyn geese migrating #brooklyn #cellphotography #nyc #winter #ducks
Qemal Agaj Tampa Florida "It was a gorgeous morning on Cocoa Beach when these green-black clouds rolled in and the water got very choppy. I am a photographer and was staring at what was almost an artistic scene. Suddenly, this guy on the beach started yelling, 'My wife! My wife! She’s in the ocean and can’t get out!' I was born and raised by the sea in my country, Albania, and we used to go to the beach almost all summer, every day, for hours and hours. In other words, I know how tides work, from a lifetime of swimming in them. This was a rip current, which meant the tide takes you out fast but fights you from swimming back in. Another man I’d never met before — a great big guy around 50 years old — jumped into the water with me, and we swam straight to the lady. We got right out there. I knew from getting caught in a tide like this when I was 13 or 14 that you have to swim back at an angle, not directly toward shore. But it was still hard swimming. We told the lady — she was in her late 60s — to swim next to us and stay calm, to follow me and press my shoulder if she needed help. You don’t want someone hanging on you; they can pull you under when they’re afraid of drowning. But she was swimming OK. Meanwhile, the ocean was getting rougher and rougher. The woman and I swam at an angle to shore, but the other man got separated. We couldn’t see him. This is the worst part. By the time the rescue team got to him, it was too late. He died trying to save a woman he never met. The experience changed me. The man who drowned was a father with two kids. For a long while, I couldn’t get his death out of my mind.  At the same time, the woman is alive. We’ve become friends. It reminds me every day to be optimistic about life and, especially, to try to do good things with the brief time we have, to be good." Qemal Agaj was one of many extraordinary people I photographed around North America for AARP Magazine in October. The portfolio of images and Stories of "Everyday Heros Within" are in the latest issue of the magazine. Many thanks to Jane Clark and the team at AARP magazine
In November 2017, Stephen Willeford, then 55, wounded a gunman who had just murdered 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas "I was in my bedroom, on a Sunday morning, when my daughter came in and said she heard gunshots coming from the First Baptist Church down the street. I went and got my firearm from the safe and ran outside without even putting on shoes, because I knew every pop, pop, pop might represent somebody’s life.The shooter came out of the church wearing black tactical gear, saw me right away and started shooting at me. I returned fire. He hit the truck I was using for cover. He hit the car behind me. He hit the house behind me.Using a holographic red-dot scope, I hit the shooter in a small area not covered by his bulletproof vest. He still managed to get away. He got into his vehicle and fired another couple of rounds through his side window.Someone in a pickup truck at a stop sign witnessed the whole thing, and I tapped on his window and said, 'We gotta catch this guy.' I got in, and the chase was on. We were driving just as fast as this guy’s truck would move, and we caught up to the shooter. He pulled over and stopped, and as I started to open the door, the shooter accelerated again and hit a road sign before going over a curb into a field. That’s when the police say he shot himself; at that point we had already called 911, and the police arrived five minutes later .People hear this story and think I’m some kind of Rambo. I’m not. I’m the biggest marshmallow in the world. I’m the first person to cry at a sad movie. But you don’t mess with my neighbors, my friends or my family." Stephen was one of 'Everyday Heroes' I photographed for the current issue of AARP magazine. The chilling feeling I got walking inside the church that was the scene of such bloodshed will stay with me forever. No matter what side of the gun debate you are on, i hope we all agree something needs to be done to stop senseless violence and mass shootings like this in this country. Everyone I met in this very small community had a friend or a loved one in that church, all their lives will never be the same.
"As I was coming downstairs and glanced outside, I was horrified to see brilliant flames outside my window, way up over my head. I live alone­ — my husband died six years ago — and I thought, I have to call 911. But there was no time. I thought, This could go everywhere. It could burn the whole hill. I threw on something over my nightgown, raced outside, grabbed a hose and started spraying water as hard as I could. The wind had already spread the flames to a live oak and then to some blackberry vines on the edge of my driveway. It was really howling now, and I could feel the heat, but I just braced myself and kept on squirting. This must have gone on for five minutes, but it felt like an hour. I had no idea I had done anything special. People I never met were knocking on my front door the next day, saying, 'You’re a hero. You saved the hill.' But I was just the first responder. I saw what I saw, and I took action.Thousands of people lost everything that night in other parts of California. We were fortunate to be spared. But I don’t think it was a miracle. The reality is, my children weren’t there and my husband wasn’t there, and if I wanted to stay in the home I loved, I would have to step up. So I did." 86 yr old Shirley White was one of many extraordinary people I photographed around North America for AARP Magazine in October. The portfolio of images and Stories of 'Everyday Heros Within' are in the latest issue of the magazine.Many thanks to Jane Clark and the team at AARP magazine.
"It was 5 a.m. when I heard somebody screaming, 'Help! It’s a bear!' I opened my front door, and there was a 275-pound polar bear sitting on its haunches with a woman in its mouth, waving her around like a rag doll. I thought to myself, I’ve got no weapon or anything. Then I saw my shovel sitting there and found myself going to get it. Once I picked it up, I thought, well, am I going to do anything, or is that woman going to die? So down the steps I went. When I got over there, I stepped up and hit the bear in the eye. He let go of the woman, and she ran into my house. The bear reached out and grabbed ahold of me, and the mauling was on. He tore off my right ear, and I was waiting for him to bite me again. A neighbor fired a shotgun, but it didn’t do any good, so he jumped into his truck and gunned it toward us. I was on my belly on the ground, watching this vehicle speeding our way, and it stopped about two feet away before the bear let me go”. "I spent seven days in the hospital. They worked on me for four hours one day, to staple my wounds, and then for four hours the next day, putting my ear back on. So I came out of it pretty good". "I never saw myself as a hero and still don’t. You’re dealt a situation, and you either respond or you don’t do anything. People say, 'Would you have done anything differently?' I haven’t the faintest idea. The only thing I could think was, If I don’t do anything, she’s not going to make it”. I met and photographed Bill in his remote town of Churchill in Manitoba Canada, an amazingly gorgeous and unique place. Virtually unspoiled with no roads in and out, our options to reach him were light aircraft or helicopter. Bill is a hero amongst the local residents of which there are only a few hundred, greatly out numbered by the thousands of polar bears that roam around the town awaiting the Hudson Bay to freeze over in winter. Bill was one of many extraordinary people I photographed around North America for AARP Magazine in October. The portfolio of images and Stories of "Everyday Heros Within" are in the latest issue of the magazine.Many thanks to Jane Clark and the team at AARP magazine!
Vickie Willams-Tillman, 58, Baton Rouge, La "On a beautiful Sunday morning in February, I was cruising down the street, listening to gospel music before church, and turned down a little side street. I saw a squad car stopped and a police officer and another man in a scuffle. 'Are you going to be OK?' I asked him. He didn’t answer me, but we locked eyes — his were watery, and I felt mine get watery, too. Those eyes said, 'Don’t leave me." Officer Billy’s nightstick, flashlight and radio were on the ground. Before Vickie had gotten there the suspect had hit Billy on the head with the nightstick, other motorists had just driven by the scene without helping as the officer was bleeding and injured. "The next thing I knew, I had gotten out of my car, and I was gliding toward them like I had on roller skates. It was almost like I wasn’t in my body. My mind just went blank and free. I felt so at peace, completely safe, even though I am only 5 foot 2. As I got closer I saw blood and hair smeared on the cruiser. And then I noticed that both men had a hand on the officer’s gun, so I grabbed the suspect’s hand on the gun, twisted his arm behind him and jumped on his back" I am very lucky that I have the privilege of meeting some incredibly inspiring people through my work and Vickie, (who is a mother, grandmother and hard working bread winner had a lot to loose when she selflessly putting herself in harm's way to help this 6'6 officer) was no exception. Vickie was one of many extraordinary people I photographed around North America for AARP Magazine in October. The portfolio of images and Stories of "Everyday Heros Within" are in the latest issue of the magazine. Many thanks to Jane Clark and the team at AARP magazine! #potd #hero #aarp #police #grandmother #portrait #batonrouge #louisiana #goodnews #color
BTS from this weekend's film project with @rachelfinninger #bts #motion #b &w #film #potd
#TBT The talented artist @hhhstudio at home in Willamsburg Brooklyn #potd #tbt #artist #brooklyn #nyc
Outtake from my recent shoot with the amazingly talented NYC Ballet dancer and Broadway star Gina Pazcoguin. "Early mornings, late nights, and demands that test the limits of my anatomy: I rarely spend time at home. Restoring my body and being have become such an integral part of my artistic process. My baths provide the opportunity to do both along with being delightfully fun." #potd #ballet #NYC #broadway #nyhabitats #performer #artist #athome #nycballet
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