Heroes In Picture Form
4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 17
Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave.
The emotions surrounding an event involving first responders is often hard to describe, as police, firefighters and other emergency personnel race to save lives and protect the public.
But thanks to great access and a keen eye for imagery, Roni Ziemba has turned depicting what goes on inside the yellow tape into an art form. An art form, she says, that fits perfectly with her adrenaline-fueled personality.
“I am definitely a risk taker,” said Ziemba, whose latest collection of photos of Tucson-area first responders, Stronger Than Steel, was recently released. “I'm an adventurer. I've always lived on the edge, so this is a perfect venue for me. And visually, it's just a very cool thing.”
This is Ziemba's third book of images of local firefighters, police and emergency responders, the first of which came out in 2011 after she was asked to hold a “small art show” of her photos that became the biggest fundraising arm of that year's Heroes Day event.
A second book came out in 2012, while this latest 100-page tome features pictures from 20 different agencies taken over the last 18 months.
Ziemba said the key to her work has been developing strong relationships with the first responders, to the point now that she has a fire pager for the Northwest Fire District and is working on a similar arrangement with the Tucson Fire Department.
She has dealt with other agencies, too, including Tucson Police's SWAT, noting that “whenever they're going to blow up something, they call me.”
The launch party for this latest book will also serve as a fundraiser to help with the 2015 volume, as proceeds from book sales—the glossy, hard-bound coffee talk book costs $75—as well as from raffles at the event will go right into photographing scenes in the next year.
Borderlands, the launch party hosts, is also donating 10 percent of beer sales to the American Red Cross. — Written by Brian J. Pedersen