wish you were here. A Photographic Travelog from Piewacket.
by victoria comment

3/30/10

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This is Lara Rossignol of Piewacket with my second in my “Wish You Were Here” series. along with shooting pictures, I also shoot pool competitively, and shot this story just outside of Los Angeles, while I competed in the Regional Tour Championships at the end of February. A major event where 64 of the best female amateur pool players from all over the planet battled it out to earn a spot on the Women’s Professional Tour. Such as Ashely Nandrasy, 23 years old, a top player on the tough OB Cues Tour out of Texas.

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There was a time when many pool rooms did not allow women to enter, let alone play. Hardtimes, a legendary “players” pool hall has retained the gritty, old school feel of another era. Yet, it seemed a perfect backdrop for this high level ladies tournament.

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The WPBA is the longest running pro billiards tour in the U.S. for either men or women. With a loyal ESPN following and breakout stars like “The Black Widow” aka Jeanette Lee, younger and younger girls are taking up the sport. Rising star, 18 year old Liz Lovely, is a tour veteran, already having played in numerous pro events. A high school senior in Ohio, one opponent at the event called her a machine. I call her fearless.

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Mary Rakin comes from a family of players, including two older sisters who have both flirted with going pro. At 22, she has all the fire and determination required. She won the BCA Masters last year and finished 2nd in this event, she is the real deal.

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The youngest in the tournament at just 14, Briana Miller has already competed in the prestigious U.S. Open (at 13). Her 9th place finish in this event qualified her for the first pro-event of the 2010 season. However,  she couldn’t play because she was too young to enter the venue, a casino, where the event was held.

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A former competitive swimmer, 26 year old Amy Chen got her degree at the University of Florida before pursuing her pro pool dreams. She has been on the fast track in the last 2 years after winning the US Amateur title in 2008.

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In many Asian countries, pool is as popular as basketball is here. Shu-han “Cherie” Chang, 26 is already a huge star in Taiwan. She won this event and went on to the highest finish ever (2nd) of any first time player in a pro event just a few weeks later.

On a photography note; all images were shot with the new Leica M9 and are © Lara Rossignol.

11 responses to “wish you were here. A Photographic Travelog from Piewacket.”

  1. I’m fascinated – amazed and enchanted all at the same time! I love your images, oh dear, they are so beautiful and captivating I am using words but I feel they are not enough. They really connect with me. Secondly, I had no idea how young,hip and lovely all these women pool players are. Very cool (especially since one is named Jeanette, like me, there just aren’t too many of us around).

  2. I love seeing women taking over male dominated sports and hobbies like this. I’ve loved watching more women rise to prominence in the poker world, and it’s nice to see that there is strong female competition in the world of pool as well. Both of these are games that women can compete on even terms with men, and it’s nice to see more women playing.

  3. Thanks Lara-Ashley is just over the top good looking!! I believe Amy Chen is depicted a little too rough here. A Great Player by any measure. She and YRC went from worst to first in a heartbeat. Congrats to Mary, Shu Han and all the other fine ladies

  4. Hey Lara! Great Blog….but Shu Han finishing 2nd was not the best finish as a first time competitor. Actually, (as ironic as it is) Gerda Hofstatter won her first ever WPBA event in 1993. ;)

  5. this is so inspiring…it really is. and these photos capture such intensity and so many emotions. absolutely brilliant! thank you for sharing!

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