Something Better – a short film for Social Advocates for Youth


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/166591315″>Something Better – a short film for SAY</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/erikcastro”>erik castro | photojournalist</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Hope you take the time to watch this short film. I’m very proud of the work and the stories that are told in this piece.

SAY, or Social Advocates for Youth, the non-profit that helps homeless & troubled youth has got to be the absolute coolest non-profit to work for. I’ve been making short films for them for a few years now and like this new one, Something Better, the films are basically snapshots into the lives of young people the organization is trying to help. This time we see two young working people: Naomi Lane and Cameron Vadnais. Naomi is working her day job at the Dream Center, a new center for helping troubled youth in Santa Rosa, and we follow Cameron on a recent job hunt. There’s a third subject, Kerry Rego, who tells an incredibly personal story of needing SAY’s help 20 years ago when she was a high school teen dealing with an abusive boyfriend.

Many people deserve thanks for their help in making this piece. Naomi, Cameron and Kerry were very generous with their time, emotions and thoughts. My 14-year-old neighbor Quincy Allen did an amazing acting job in Kerry Rego’s story and my nephew Vasco Cesaretti added his infectiously entertaining music. I also have to thank Cat Cvengros, SAY’s Director of Development, for her great advice while I worked on this project and for her support of what I do as a story teller.

-May 14, 2016

 

Mix bag of work

 

It’s been mix of work all year so far, and enjoying it; photos for newsprint, non-profits and personal projects along with video projects.

The evidence of dedication to dancing are seen in the feet of choreographer and dancer Nichele Van Portfleet during rehearsal for her SoCo Dance Theater performance titled, "This Way Up," at Sonoma State University's Ives Hall in Rohnert Park. February 6, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

I came across these feet during a shoot for The Press Democrat. The evidence of dedication to dancing are seen in the feet of choreographer and dancer Nichele Van Portfleet during rehearsal for her SoCo Dance Theater

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BI-Sonoma_1712This was from a shoot for a non-profit that helps physically and mentally challenged individuals live more independently. This woman was amazing to watch paint. I could have photographed all day.

Executive Chef Mike Selvera working the raw bar at Seaside Metal oyster bar in Guerneville. April 29, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

This chef and I were both punk rock skater kids in LA during the same era. He even had an old Siouxsie and The Banshees record in his cafe which album cover was on a t-shirt of mine in 8th grade. Executive Chef Mike Selvera working the raw bar at Seaside Metal oyster bar in Guerneville.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/166571801″>Lost Brother In Space</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/erikcastro”>erik castro | photojournalist</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My kids got sick. So, we were home a lot. We made movies to pass the time. We did this space movie trailer using a glass salad bowl and a $2 dollar psychedelic light. My son played the astronaut, my daughter did the space center voice and I got the film it.

Seventh grade students exiting class near teacher Betty Paulukonis at Willowside Middle School in Santa Rosa. May 11, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

I really like this shot. I like it when kids don’t smile so much, they look cooler…and I love that translation on the girl’s shirt for “meow.” Seventh grade students exiting class near teacher Betty Paulukonis at Willowside Middle School in Santa Rosa.

A young couple watching the parade from a second-story window on the corner of Bodega Avenue and North Main Street during the 70th annual Apple Blossom Parade held in Sebastopol Saturday. April 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The paper didn’t run this shot of a young couple watching a parade I was covering. They were checking out the scene from a second-story window. The paper ran everything I turned in but this image; which of course was my favorite.

Mobley0117 _ec_CARD02_1339I don’t use lights often, but I always have fun with them when I do. A shot of beer maker Nile Zacherle for the SF Chronicle. I though he looked a little like Anthony Perkins in this shot.04-2011_BaptismWeekend_032Been missing my mother since her death last year. This was a shot my daughter found while fishing through old family photos. Its a shot of my mom arriving at our home during the weekend of my son’s baptism. She would have killed me if I hadn’t baptized him. That’s his head at the bottom of the frame.

 

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IMG_0145These 2 are from a trip to Los Angeles. Been needing to go back more. My head gets foggy if I’m in Sonoma County too long. Sometimes just need freeways and time with my sisters. My son playing basketball and my daughter playing on a handball court.IMG_1143-1Wish I could use my phone more for my news assignment work. Here’s a recent one from a nature walk near Sebastopol with my daughter.

SR DJ

Easy going and very accommodating DJ Sykwidit in downtown Santa Rosa. He basically let me crawl around wherever I wanted to show what he loves to do.

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The dance floor during DJ Sykwidit's set at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The dance floor during DJ Sykwidit’s set at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. Sykwidit has been deejaying for about 15 years and can be heard twice a month at La Rosa Lounge. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. Sykwidit has been deejaying for about 15 years and can be heard twice a month at La Rosa Lounge. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Jack London piece for Sonoma Magazine

Here are a few images from my shoot for the January 2016 issue of Sonoma Magazine about some of the living heirs to the Jack London State Park. It was a great week of shooting in both soupy fog and blazing sun. Also loved that Sonoma Magazine ran the shot of Brian Shepard in his car. I love shooting subjects in their cars especially ones that spend so much of their time in the driver’s seat.

A row of eucalyptus trees near the entrance to The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

A row of eucalyptus trees in thick fog near the entrance to The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle, a professor of writing and literature at Napa Valley College during a visit to the Wolf House in the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. Dunkle is currently co-writing a biography about Jack London's wife, Charmian London. November 30, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Iris Jamahl Dunkle, a professor of writing and literature at Napa Valley College during a visit to the Wolf House in the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. Dunkle is currently co-writing a biography about Jack London’s wife, Charmian London. November 30, 2015.

Chuck Levine on his horse Buzz during his volunteer park patrol at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Chuck Levine on his horse Buzz during his volunteer park patrol at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015.

Jack London heir and VP of Walsh Vineyard Management, INC. Brian Shepard parked in his truck at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Jack London heir and VP of Walsh Vineyard Management, INC. Brian Shepard parked in his truck at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015.

Muriel Williamson has been volunteering at The House of Happy Walls Museum for 22 years at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Muriel Williamson has been volunteering at The House of Happy Walls Museum for 22 years at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015.

Middletown – Post Fire

A few favorite moments from a recent shoot in Middletown, California for The Press Democrat; first time the town held a home football game at their high school since the Valley Fire.

Gracie Pachie, a Senior at Middletown High School who lost her home to the recent Valley Fire, prepares to ride her horse before the start of Middletown's first home football game since the Valley Fire held Friday evening. Pachie is Miss California High School Rodeo Queen 2015-2016 and she recovered her charred crown from the remains of her burnt down home,

Gracie Pachie, a Senior at Middletown High School who lost her home to the recent Valley Fire, prepares to ride her horse before the start of Middletown High School’s first home football game since the Valley Fire.

The Middletown High School football team gathers for a quiet moment on Friday evening before the start of their first home game since the recent catastrophic Valley Fire. October 9, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The Middletown High School football team gathers for a quiet moment on Friday evening before the start of their first home game since the recent Valley Fire.

Sydney Brownie, left and Gracie Pachie, pause for a few moments before they ride their horses at the start of Middletown High School's first home football game since the recent catastrophic Valley Fire Friday evening. October 9, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Sydney Brownie and Gracie Pachie at the start of Middletown High School’s first home football game since the recent Valley Fire.

Mental Hospital from 1891

I became a photojournalist for many reasons, but one reason in particular has been to photograph people in situations that would have occurred regardless of my presence.

Over the Summer I spent time with four families committed to staying connected to their loved ones living with severe mental and physical disabilities. All of them are cared for daily at the Sonoma Development Center in Eldridge, California which is in the process of being shut down by a governor’s budget plan. The images and story appear in the Fall issue of Sonoma Magazine.

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California where Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California where her brother Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell often take her to lunch and help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a piece of a cheese burger. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a small piece of a cheeseburger. June 23, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew's wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew’s wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center's Nelson Unit with his nephew's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Aldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center’s Nelson Unit with his nephew’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Eldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, Frank's sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, his sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald's in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller's grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald’s in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller’s grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. 
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34, in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral date 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

local band – local shoot

I’ve been shooting this band on and off for a few years now. They have a lot of heart and passion and are quite a mix of personalities. I shot them in Santa Rosa in some locations I’ve been dying to get into like this old decaying property with some beautiful pale green cement walls in the west side of Santa Rosa. The property owner generously gave us access after he realized the only equipment I would be using was a small camera hanging from my neck. Pays to travel light.

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California