December 13, 2011
Published March 30
As the buzzer sounds, Juvonte Reddic and the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams celebrate after knocking off top-seeded Kansas in San Antonio en route to the NCAA Final Four.
Photographer’s note: At the NCAA tournament you’re assigned a spot to sit that’s roughly 24 by 24 inches. You can’t move during the game. I was seated almost directly behind the photographer for Sports Illustrated. When VCU won the game I hoped the front tier of photographers would remain seated and it did. I used a medium-range zoom lens to get this image. Sports Illustrated ran a double-page spread of the almost identical moment.
Diagnosed with "off the chart" attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder when he was young, Colin McClees, has been in jail for 18 months for burglary, grand larceny, and assault of a law-enforcement officer. He is now one of the most accomplished yoga students at the Richmond City Jail, where inmates practice in Redemption chapel.
Published Aug. 10
The most recent work by composer Allan Blank, shown here at his home, is an opera based on Thomas Hardy’s novel “Jude the Obscure.”
Photographer’s note: Blank gave me a tour of his home, where his late wife’s paintings filled the walls with light and color. He showed me his small work space in the basement and the piano covered with works in progress. While he reflected on his and his wife’s travels, I got this moment.
Published Nov. 27
Mess, one of the Richmond Occupiers who participated in the protests at Kanawha Plaza, enjoys a smoke while his dog Waylon keeps watch.
Photographer’s note: Mess is a compelling visual character. I was intrigued by his lounging on the couch with his dog in this outdoor city park with the high-rises as a backdrop. While we chatted he lighted a homemade cigarette and simultaneously Waylon looked off, which made the shot.
Published Sept. 28
A Confederate flag flutters in the audience while Republicans — Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov Bill Bolling and U.S. Senate hopeful George Allen — chat onstage at April’s Shad Planking in Wakefield.
Photographer’s note: Confederate flags were everywhere at the Shad Planking, and there was no avoiding them while shooting this event. Anyone, Democrat or Republican, could appear underneath one. Months later we used this image to illustrate a cover story, “How Richmond is still fighting the Civil War.”
Published online Feb. 23
Ramone stands with his grandparents during a vigil for his mother, Barbara “Bobbie” Stinnett, who was killed Feb. 9.
Photographer’s note: All murder vigils are heart-wrenching, but when children are involved a photojournalists’ job becomes even more difficult. You’re simply trying to make the most powerful image without robbing the subjects of their dignity. Here I felt that showing Ramone in the foreground with his grandparents in the background was a powerful way to convey the immense pain of violence while maintaining some distance.
Published March 30
The grieving family of murder victim Paul Grey gathers for a vigil in south Barton Heights.
Photographer’s note: I never get used to photographing the pain and devastation brought on by violence. If any citizen could witness the pain of a murder vigil he or she probably would take to the streets in protest. But most of these murders happen in poor neighborhoods and get lost in the news cycle.
Published June 29
Long before pro wrestling became a multimillion-dollar industry, Dick Steinborn — who still works out in his home gym — ruled the ring as ultimate good guy.
Photographer’s note: Steinborn transformed the bottom floor of his Fan house into a gym where he trains and teaches weight training. One small window illuminates his weight bench. I noticed the beautiful light that was cast on his face while creating deep shadows on the rest of the scene.
Published Aug. 31
About 1,700 fans show up for the races Aug. 19 at Southside Speedway, the oldest track in the Richmond area. It first opened in 1948 as Royall Speedway.
Photographer’s note: I used a 14 mm lens and a slow shutter speed to make this image. The wide lens allowed me to show the fans in the foreground, which places viewers into the scene almost like they’re sitting in the stands. A mostly monochromatic photo gets a blast of color from the cars whizzing around the track.
Published Jan. 26
The members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective — Eric Scott, Jeremy Hawthorne, Mo Karn and Daveigh — say they know their rights and they want you to know them too.
Photographer’s note: Group shots are usually tricky because it’s tough to make four people look interesting. Here the work was done for me. The guns were their idea, and that’s typical dress for them. I used the house as a backdrop, which includes the hand-painted words, “In memory of people murdered by the state.”
Published Sept. 28
In tribute to the “Xu Bing’s: Tobacco Project” exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, author Eric Burns spoke on the topic of his book, “The Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco.”
Photographer’s note: The scale of this project — 40 feet by 18 feet — made it difficult to photograph. In addition to a wide shot from eye level, I made this tight composition too, revealing a graphic beauty not generally associated with cigarettes.
Published Nov. 2
Tarps sag under the collecting rainwater while members of the Occupy Richmond movement discuss policy at an evening general assembly session.
Photographer’s note: The tarps that occupiers strung from the trees were illuminated by the lamps of Kanawha Plaza, creating an ethereal light. I used a super-high film speed of 6400 and shot this hand-held.
Published online May 25
Three times a week, Robbie Norris enters the Richmond City Jail to teach ashtanga yoga to inmates in Redemption chapel.
Photographer’s note: I love the symmetry of the pews against the wall and the inmates’ legs that frame Norris. This is all punctuated by the multicolored mats. The temperature must have been near 100 degrees that day, but no one complained, rolled his eyes or diverted attention from Norris; everyone was in the moment.
Outside the Sacred Heart Church in Manchester, Darwin Melendez awaits the beginning of a celebration to honor the arrival of a statue of San Miguel, the patron saint of Metlato’noc. The remote mountain town in southwestern Mexico is the original home to many of Richmond’s small, mostly unseen Mixteco community.
Photographer’s note: I was in awe of young Darwin’s outfit and his melancholy expression. The hat, the oversized belt and those cool boots are a true fashion statement.
Published March 30
After the VCU Rams knock off Kansas, VCU students and fans pour into the streets, taking over West Broad. Tens of thousands celebrated downtown, chanting and reveling in a victory march toward Monroe Park.
Photographer’s note: I was able to get ahead of the crowd and I noticed a tow truck flatbed being taken over by cheering students. I hopped up for a quick second, put the camera in the air and fired off a few frames before moving on.