After 10 years and hundreds of stories, the 605 staff has many photo shoots under their belts. What some might not see is what’s happening behind the lens. To celebrate the occasion, a couple past and present team members give a glimpse behind the scenes of some of their favorite photos.
THE REAL FARM GIRL
Before she was Laura Benson, owner of the very successful Midwest clothing company Filly Flair, 605 found out about Laura Nielson, a third-generation farmer. The very talented Jeff Sampson Photography came out with us for the June 2011 issue shoot, and we got a tour of Nielson Farms, a dairy farm that produces around 1.5 million gallons of milk per year in Crooks.
First and foremost, I never wear the right shoes. I wore flats that day, and apparently was completely in denial that farms had mud and dirt… everywhere. We were shown all over the place and had a blast watching Laura hold a calf, touring “where the milk happens,” and then ending with trying to get a shot of her with all of the cows chilling out in the barn.
Jeff asked her to stand by a couple of them eating, and after a few test shots, realized it was too dark.
“Hey, can you hold this light for me, Alana?”
Sure, no problem. I grabbed the long pole and got on my (muddy) tiptoes.
As soon as Jeff shot the first photos and the light went off, all of the cows started to… defecate. This included the cow nearest me, who went to the bathroom all down my back and onto my pants.
“Oh my goodness, I’m sorry, they do that when they’re nervous,” said Laura.
“No problem, no problem,” I said, as we moved her in the middle of the barn to separate her further away from the cows.
“Alright, just walk towards me,” instructed Jeff.
Laura started walking, and one by one all of the cows – at least 30-plus – started going to the bathroom, creating rows of what looked like brown waterfalls.
As you can imagine, those shots were… shot… but the rest of the images were beautiful. I just still feel bad for Jeff having to share the car ride home with me.
BLINDED BY LOVE:
Blinded by Love was my favorite and least favorite time of the year.
It all started in the February 2011 issue where (probably stemming from my reality show obsession) I decided to have readers match four men and four women to each go on a blind date. I coordinated the dates, and then Dan Thorson Photography and I would watch them unfold.
The first year went well.
Of course readers voted a Sioux Falls Storm player and a Sioux Falls Skyforce cheerleader to go out as one of the couples. It was always hard because I would put the PG version of the date in the magazine, but I would hear so much more in the followup phone calls. For example, the cheerleader said she felt more of a “friend vibe,” and also told me he had four kids and she wasn’t ready for a family (which this portion did not make the issue).
I remember the topic of kids came up with another couple where they actually connected and went on another date, but then she tried to introduce him to her kids right away. Deal breaker.
February 2012’s issue was a doozy. One date seemingly went great at Phillips Avenue Diner where milkshakes and good conversation took place. They texted the next day, and then he ghosted her completely.
After a week, and after chatting with her about how not impressed she was, he reached out to me and said he “had some pretty big events happen in the last week.” If memory serves me right, he resurfaced a month later and wanted to talk, but that flame had fizzled.
Another date that go-round went really well. Yet, after the date, he stopped responding as well. Weeks later he got back in touch and said he “broke his phone while lifting weights.”
While she was happy he actually had a glowing review about the date, she wasn’t glowing when she found out he was sleeping on a mattress at his friend’s house. Flame once again fizzled.
One of the craziest dates happened with someone who had just broken up with his fiancé. He met a single gal at a bar and had drinks. Her friends showed up, and the photographer and I assumed this meant the date was a no-go.
As we bid them adieu, they mentioned they were going to another bar. Maybe we were wrong?
During the phone follow-up, the woman mentioned he didn’t seem over his ex, but liked him. She feared it was still too fresh for him.
He was completely smitten and said he wanted to see her again and that “they were talking.”
A couple of days later, I spoke with him and she had cut him off. He was not happy about it. After asking if the issue went to print (which the answer was yes), he then told me he was super confused because they had hooked up in the car that night.
It was hard to top that in 2013’s edition. My favorite date that year was when one guy knew the date was over as soon as his date started praying over their pizza (he was an atheist).
As none of these dates really turned into relationships, we tried something different from 2014. There was a “bachelorette,” and we had her go on three dates with three different suitors.
The first date was painful, as her body language clearly showed she was not having a great time… at all. Not only was race brought up (awkward), but he agreed with everything she said, which she felt didn’t seem genuine. I remember she said, “I mean, you can’t agree with everything I say.”
Her second date was adorable, and was actually with one of my friends at Great Bear Ski Valley. They went tubing, and they looked like they had known each other for some time and were constantly giggling.
It was the next day at the office when I got the follow-up phone call. She started crying and told me she wasn’t over her ex.
“I mean yeah, I had a really great time and had a ton of fun, but you just hit that point where your head is over here ready to go, ready to do this, and it’s time to move on. Not being able to fully let yourself enjoy it is frustrating.”
I still have mad respect for her honesty and for going on the third date. He was definitely a trooper as well, as she told him up front she was “just ready for a fun night of bowling.”
After that, I hung up my matchmaker hat.
Do I miss it? Yes.
Do I miss all of the coordination? No.
Do I miss all of the creeping and drama? Duh.
BRINGING SOUTH DAKOTA TOGETHER
The cover shoot for the April 2016 issue of 605 felt like a big party. The Sioux Falls and Black Hills Centers for Equality were rolling out new community engagement initiatives, which was the main topic of the cover story—but the day of the shoot was memorable for another reason, too. It was March 2, 2016—the day Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed HB 1008, also known as the “Transgender Bathroom Bill.”
We’d long planned our cover shoot for that brisk Wednesday evening, and this victory for the LGBTQ community—in a state where those are few and far between—was a happy coincidence. It infused the air with a current of excitement.
The Center for Equality board invited members of the organization, friends, and family to participate in the cover shoot. Despite the breezy 30-degree weather, a crowd jammed the sidewalk in front of the Sioux Falls office, waving rainbow flags and showing support for South Dakota’s LGBTQ community, while 605 photographer and art director Liz Painter snapped away.
At the time, I was working for 605 as managing editor, and writing April’s cover story felt a tiny bit risky. The risk wasn’t a specific, tangible threat. It was a pit-in-my-stomach mixture of dread and awe, akin to watching a child first ride a bike without training wheels. It formed while conducting the interviews for the cover story, and learning how openly gay and transgender South Dakotans still regularly experience intimidation, physical threats, and sometimes termination from their jobs—simply for living their truth. I was horrified that this could still happen in our state, and I didn’t want the story to expose anyone to harm, but all involved agreed it was an important story to tell. As then-CFE Black Hills President Nancy Rosenbrahn told me, “The work doesn’t end with marriage equality.”
When the day came to do the cover shoot, however, all of those nerves dissipated. I arrived at the CFE office in downtown Sioux Falls to find dozens of LGBTQ community members and allies waiting— including my husband and several personal friends. They were there to show their faces. The importance of the moment outweighed any real or imagined danger.
Noses were red and our breath hung in the air, but everyone was excited to celebrate the death of discriminatory legislation, and to show South Dakota that they are—and have always been—part of our community. It was a jubilant time, and being nine months pregnant, it made me particularly optimistic about bringing a new life into the world.
It was a day to be happy, and I think Liz’s photos reflect that.
THE PEOPLE’S FLAG
For September 2017’s Design Issue, 605 featured the unofficial Sioux Falls Flag. Truth be told, the staff was approached by one of the flag’s OG advocates, Kellen Boice, who is also the director of the Sioux Falls Design Center, several times since its 2014 inception.
We were hesitant for a while to feature the flag, but once they were popping up outside of local businesses, homes, and more, we took notice. Freelancer Monica Albers was assigned an objective piece to see why people were so passionate about it, the brief history behind the voting process, and why Sioux Falls was one of the last major U.S. cities to lack an official symbol.
Art director Liz Painter and I spent a few days taking photos of different locations the flags were flying from, spent time at Fernson on 8th with Kellen and fellow advocate Kelsie Thomas, and even stopped by the office of Argus Leader news director Cory Myers, who proudly hangs the flag on his bookcase.
What I didn’t realize after the piece went to print, was that John Snyder, 605’s sales and marketing director (and my husband), was completely inspired by the story and went from despising the flag to really liking it. He even surprised me with my own flag in my office.
Fast forward to 2018, and John worked with a group of supporters from the city (including Kellen, Kelsie, Cory, Zach DeBoer, Sioux Falls City Council member Christine Erickson, and Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. president Joe Batcheller) to reignite the stalled effort from years prior and to write a letter to Mayor Paul TenHaken to reconsider making the flag official. A copy of the September 2017 issue was also included, and the mayor took notice and pushed to have the topic brought up again for a potential vote.
After months of research and hard work by the whole team, and with supporters showing up to City Council meetings and/or giving their voice, the flag was voted unanimously by the council to make it official on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.
It was very cool to see an issue make an impact within our team that then led toward something so big. I feel extra proud of that issue and of the people who worked so hard to give our city something to stand behind.
It truly was, and is, “the people’s flag.”
SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS CONTRIBUTED TO 605 MAGAZINE. WITHOUT YOU, THIS WOULDN’T BE WHAT IT IS.
READERS. ADVERTISERS. VANEY HARIRI. BRIAN BIEBER. LIZ PAINTER. ANDREA VAN ESSEN. HUBBARD VISUALS. DENISE DEPAOLO. NATALIE SLIETER. ALEXA GIEBINK. BESS PALLARES. MONICA ALBERS. NICOLE GRIFFITH. SION LIDSTER. KELLY NELSON. DYLAN WEST. PHILLY FATE. ZACH DEBOER. PINNACLE PRODUCTIONS. JESUS RAMOS. MARISSA CARFF. MARISSA LUTE. BINOD MAGAR. CHAD KONRAD. TAIJA CRAWFORD. CAMERON STALHEIM. KRISTAL SEEDEN. BRAD ZIMMERMAN. CADEY REISNER. ANNIE FUSS. CAROLIE RICHARDS. GARRETT AMMESMAKI. ERIN MAIROSE. MORGAN MATZEN. TRACY KIRBY. JESSICA HAWK. JUSTIN REGAN. KARI CARDA. BILL TETRAULT. TATIANA GONZALEZ. JACEE ENGELHART. CARLY REISER. CLAUDIA MILLER. MOLLY O’CONNOR. PEPPER ENTERTAINMENT. ROBB SCHLIMGEN. THOMAS HENTGES. EMILY SWAN. KERRY MCDONALD. FRANCES ABBOTT THOMPSON. VAL SAMPSON. ANGELA BERRY. KRISTINE MADSEN. ELLIE TREBILCOCK. ANNA STRITECKY. SEAN CALHOUN. KAYLYN DEITER. JEFF SAMPSON PHOTOGRAPHY. MICHAEL TODD. EMILY HAGEN. JOE ROGERS. KACIE SVOBODA. LIZA MCCANN. HANNAH KOELLER. ARYN HOLLAREN. KAILEY TENNESSEN. JILL JOHNSON. ELLE LIVINGSTON. GREG GEIGER. LILLIAN PALMER. NATALIE KELLER. KARA SWEET. MARYN TERRY. PAIGE KILGORE. CAITLIN BLUMER. STACEY NIEWENHUIS. BOBBY BENEDICT. MIKE HALL. KINSEY GUSTAFSON. JORDAN SMITH. LEAH VANDEN BOSCH. NICHOLAS FRENCH. STACEY NIEWENHUIS. JEFFREY NASERS. KAY KEMMET. AARON VIDAL. GABE MAMBO. KELSEY BEWICK. RYAN LARSON PHOTOGRAPHY. MANNY FRAKER. KIMBERLY LATHE GREAGER. SAM KALDA. SARA FRIESEN. ELI SHOW. AUSTIN KAUS. TAYLOR REAVES. JENN YOUNG. JENNY RACKL. JOE ROGERS. JACLYN LANAE. JEN MURRAY. LISA PETERSON. MICHAEL LIEDTKE. EMMA DEJONG. ASHLEY SANDBORN. ALLEN JONES. LAUREN JAMISON. MOLLY BARARI. SCOTT HORKEY. BONNY FLEMING OF BONZEYE STUDIO. ANDREW TURNER. HEATHER JASPER. KILEE KADING. ANDREA COTA. STUDIO BLU PHOTOGRAPHY. COLLECTIVE EFFORTS UNION. CANDACE ANN PHOTOGRAPHY. DALE CAROTHERS. JAIDA GREY EAGLE. LAURA KATE PHOTOGRAPHY. WILCOXON PHOTOGRAPHY. DAN THORSON PHOTOGRAPHY. REISTROFFER DESIGN. AC ELLIS PHOTOGRAPHY. NEWOVER. BILLIE STREUFERT. LENA TRAN. COLIN RICHARDS. THE SPILL CANVAS. CHUCK BENNIS. ADAM LICHTY. TOVE LICHTY. CARL ANTHONY. JON MAMMENGA. JOHN MCCOLLISTER. JOHN WEISBECKER. THOMAS GWINN. MEGAN BOTT. ROYCE LARSON. MICHELLE ELLIS. CLG PHOTOGRAPHY. JESSE BLACK. CATHERINE HILL. CARLI ELLWEIN. MARY SCHLIMGEN. DANIEL PRENDABLE. MAGGIE OLSON. ANDREW SOGN. DAN DOYLE. BRITTNEY HANSEN. SURREAL PHOTOGRAPHY. RYAN ALLEN. SHAWN LYKKEN. WHITNI CIOFALO. CORI ALBERS. BRAD HERRERA. HAUSCHILDT’S PHOTOGRAPHY. KIEL MUTSCHELKNAUS. RACHEL PALMER. MARY DODSON. SABINA MUSTIC. JAMIE HEGGE. NICK KOTZEA. LUCY ALBERS. AMANDA RYRHOLM. SAMANTHA BEECK. HOLLI RAUSCH. ROB SPECHT. SOULCRATE. LEE MAROTZ. BELLA LUCE PHOTOGRAPHY. MICHELLE CWACH. DANIELLE JAEGER. KYLE VANHOVE. MOLLY KEEN. MEGAN TVEDT. JOANNA HALVERSON. KILEY BARNES. HOLLY BOWDEN.