18 May 2008

*A Very Serious Study in Contrasts.

This is the story of two 16-year olds:

Earlier this week I mounted a remote camera behind the pilot's seat for the story about a 16-year old girl who's taking flight lessons. (scroll down to see the eariler post from Wednesday.) Things couldn't have gone better photographically for that assignment. Yesterday, while covering a college graduation not far from my apt., our reporter mentioned to me backstage in a hushed tone, "We had another homicide last night... A 16-year old stabbed to death." A comment like that immediately takes the wind out of your sails, so to speak, and I could feel the creativity & spirit of covering a graduation on the sunny Spring morning leave my body. We talked briefly on the few details he had so far on the crime, only blocks from my house. There had been a fatal drive-by shooting a week earlier in the neighborhood, and I'd just rushed to the scene where another teenager fired shots in the air along Broadway on Tuesday evening, (left). Instinct told me I'd be photographing the scene where family, friends and neighbors erect a candlelight vigil with photos of the victim, a 16-year old (below). We learned later that this kid had been incarcerated for 3 or 4 months in the county jail. The red handkerchiefs at the scene are obviously gang symbols as well. I've seen far too many of these street-side memorials in my career, that's for sure.

"Is it just me, or does anyone else see anything wrong with this overall picture...?"


  1. You forgot to mention they are and were both 16 yrs old and how important the twists and turns of fate really are. Everything happens for a reason even if it seems senseless at the time... even if it means we have to learn a lesson the hardest way possible. Pay attention to your time here, don't miss the opportunity to do good and make a difference.

  2. As the father of the 16yo student pilot, I find the contrast especially disturbing. These 2 kids didn't live more than 20 minutes from each other but they might as well have been living in different worlds. To have a youth cut down before having a chance to chase their dreams is tough to take.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for taking the time to not only view the work, but also sharing your thoughts here. It means mountains to me. It was a pleasure to meet and photograph your daughter during her flight class last week. I know you are a very proud parent...