JRL 490 – 3 Galleries

18 10 2010

Three galleries that we like… for someone who has an entire set of shelves in her room dedicated to photography books, this is not an easy list to form!

The first that comes to mind is Renee C Byer’s 2007 series for the Sacramento Bee.  The Pulitzer winning 4-part feature, “A Mother’s Journey,” was described by the Pulitzer judges as “an intimate portrayal of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer.” 

Byer, and writer Cynthia Hubert, followed 11-year-old Derek Madsen and his mother Cyndie French as his treatment became ineffective and their family prepared to lose him.

Todd Heisler’s work with Jim Sheeler on the Final Salute series is also a notable collection of photos.  The official slideshow from the Rocky Mountain News seems to have been rendered unviewable after 4 years sitting in cyberspace, but a site called The Digital Journalist has a “Final Salute” section where Heisler’s images are hosted.

Sheeler’s words are so perfect and heartbreaking, it was almost too much to see the scenes for myself, but Heisler captures these deeply personal moments without there being an invasive feeling to their display.

The New York Times took home the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2002. Their coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks was, of course, horriffic and tragic and poignant… And truly could not have been told on such a level by anyone who was not from New York City.

Unfortunate and haunting as that day was, and still is for many, from an industry stand point the staff of the NYC-based papers were at an advantage because they were there.

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All of these galleries are Pulitzer winners.
All of these collections are powerful subjects.
All of these galleries brought me to tears at first or second (and sometimes third) look.
All of these collections mean something to me, aside from pure admiration for their accomplishments in this craft.

 

I was immediately drawn to the “Mother’s Journey” story from the Sacramento Bee because my family is actively involved with fundraising efforts to fight childhood cancer.
When my younger brother was two, he had a seizure, which led us to discover a tumor on his brain.
He responded well to a course of radiation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  Today he is a healthy 13-year-old who plays football and reads every kind of history book he can find.
The events of Derek Madsen and Cyndie French’s lives are a story that is too familiar for those of us touched by any kind of cancer.  This piece is a reminder that no matter how valiantly you fight the battle, sometimes you can lose the war. 

Speaking of war, albeit a different kind, “The Final Salute” is unsettling to me as an American.  I believe in my country, and I support our efforts abroad.
Several of my peers from high school enlisted and have served, my best friend’s significant other did two tours in Iraq, and my roommate’s father recently returned from a 9 month stint in Afghanistan.
I know that this mission is not over, I know that people are going through this every day, and I know that this story needed to be told by Jim Sheeler & Todd Heisler.

There are two images from the NY Times September 11th that stand out to me: Krista Niles’ huddle of FDNY Ladder 21 crew and George Gutierrez’s portrait of EMT Jay Robbins saluting his fallen colleague.
I have a book that gives an overview of Pulitzer Prize-winning photography up to 2008, and I can find the pages for Renee Byer and/or the New York Times sections without even thinking about it.
I don’t have a specific reason for my attraction to these… I think it is a combination of my long-standing, inexplicable soft-spot for firefighters and police officers, as well as my desire to see and capture moments of a singular, honest emotion.

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15 11 2010
CPOY « Marshall Lately

[…] article and learn about the CPOY competition because I love photography and photojournalism.  [Click Here to read about my favorite […]

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