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Author: Lee Matz

In step with Rambalac: How I walked 1,000 miles across Japan during a pandemic without leaving Milwaukee

In February I wrote about my treadmill exercise routine while watching VideoWalks from Japan. I had not thought about doing a follow-up story. Then on the calendar I saw that it was coming up on 10 years since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. That tragedy was what displaced me from Japan, returning to America basically as a refugee – because I had been gone so long I had almost no ties left here. It is an experience that after all these years I am still not ready to write about. But the March 11 anniversary made me think of...

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Video playlist of virtual walks across Japan offers a way to step out of the isolated madness of COVID-19

There is no shortage of professionally written articles about exercise and how to stay healthy, especially during the isolation of the pandemic. And like any hobby or interest, applying that knowledge to daily life – especially in Milwaukee during the winter – is a process of trial and error that rarely works as advertised. As a photojournalist who has lived in downtown Milwaukee for years, I have walked miles each day to get to news events and then take pictures at those location. In preparation for the physical requirements of covering the DNC (Democratic National Convention) for week, before...

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Year In Review 2020: Stories from a witness on the frontline of tragedies

2020 has been a turbulent period beyond the conventional methods of description. In terms of COVID-years, the past 12 months have had the glacial progress and weight of 12 regular human years. Each month brought a new chapter of events for the public to process, which required an expanded vocabulary to explain the news and a library of images to show the extent of what was happening. It was a very dangerous year for photojournalism with a pandemic and civil unrest. To be embedded in the heart of events as they unfolded required physical stamina, professional skill, and a...

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Documenting History in Images: A photojournalist’s journey to remain safe in the Age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed many fault lines in American society. One of the many issues that has gone overlooked and underreported is how people incorporate wearing a mask into the routines of their daily life. The ongoing argument over masks has mostly been focused on pandemic deniers who refuse to wear any kind of face covering, and demand that safety measures be lifted in order to save the economy. For those individuals who care about their own health and the health of others, while trying to maintain their fragile lifeline of employment, this essay explores what kind of...

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Dontre Hamilton Park: New proposal could end opposition to renaming Red Arrow Park

Milwaukee-native Dontre Hamilton was 31 years-old at the time of his death, which came on April 30, 2014 when he was shot by police officer Christopher Manney at Red Arrow Park downtown. The social justice protests that erupted after Dontre’s death brought renewed awareness to the Milwaukee public about the issue of police brutality directed at Blacks in the community. The daily marches, nightly vigils at Red Arrow Park, and calls for Police reform foreshadowed what would follow in 2016 with the death of Sylville Smith in the Sherman Park neighborhood, and the explosive national reaction to George Floyd’s...

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Each empty chair has a story: Memorial honors Milwaukee’s 600 victims of the COVID-19 pandemic

A handful of Milwaukee’s political, spiritual, and community leaders gathered in the open field of MacArthur Square by the County Courthouse on October 27, surrounded by 600 empty chairs to publicly mourn the loss of local residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 600 deaths in Milwaukee County in just seven months…

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