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Friday, October 21, 2016

Behind the Photo: Manchester Construction

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Construction worker Kenneth Wells is part of a crew installing natural gas pipelines in Manchester. The scene could be from 50 years ago. I love the shadows in the foreground and the way the lights only illuminates certain parts of the scene. The light and shadows in the image, coupled with the graphic rows of windows, strengthen the composition, while Wells on the old Ford tractor brings a nice scale.

Photo info: 1/100 sec at F22, 24-70mm lens, at 26mm, Nikon D750.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Behind the Photo: Donkeys at the Fair

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

While working on a photo essay about the Faces of the State Fair of Virginia, I wandered across these two donkeys in one of the agriculture tents. This image is simple yet sweet, and offers a glimpse into the hundreds of opportunities the fair offers photographers.

The first thing I noticed was the docile donkey in the foreground, his face against the textured back of the other donkey. The faceless donkey's ears popping up and framing the mother and child is a happy accident, while the girl in the foreground making eye contact adds intrigue and a sense of wonderment.

Taken with a Nikon D750, 62mm at ISO 500, 1/100 sec at F7.1.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Behind the Photo: Remembering a Friend

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Noah Maqsher is comforted by Sylvester Barksdale as he mourns the death of his friend Habeeb "Sam" Hafeed during a vigil on Nine Mile Road. Hafeed was murdered outside the convenience store he owned on the evening of Aug. 24.

Photographer's Note: This image appeared in the Sept. 7 issue of Style accompanied by a story I wrote about Hafeed's murder. I keep coming back to this image because it shows the sorrow associated with gun violence. The look on Maqsher's face is one of deep sorrow and anguish, while Barksdale's is more emotional, as if in disbelief.

The original image ran in color, but it's more powerful as a black and white. By removing the color, the viewer's eyes go directly to the hands and the faces, which tell the story.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Behind the Photo: Funeral Conference Mime

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 11:00 AM

LaNiiyah and Lanel Scott play along with a mime hired by Astral Industries during the National Funeral Directors and Morticians 79th annual conference in Richmond this week.

Photographer's Note: I've photographed hundreds of conferences, but this was the most unusual. Surrounded by hearses and caskets, people went about selling the business of death. Levity ran through the interactions I witnessed and much of the conference felt like a family reunion. I imagine dealing with such a heavy subject as your life's work demands a clever mechanism for coping.

For what it's worth, the mime stole the show.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Behind the Photo: Tim Kaine

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 1:20 PM

The question on everyone's mind at the news conference: Is Kaine going to be Hillary Clinton's vice-presidential pick? Kaine deflected questions about his political future during the zika conference. Afterward, he approached assembled media. This moment, between Kaine and WTVR-TV CBS 6 news anchor Jake Burns, illustrates the awkward tension in the room. Kaine's smile says, "I'm not going to tell you anything," and Burn's look says, "But I have to ask you."

Photographer's Note: There's no great spot to stand when the press scrum starts. That was reinforced to me during the Bob McDonnell trial. So I tried to stay to the side where I could still see Kaine's face, but also include the cameras and reporters in the frame. In the end, the expressions on their faces make the image work by creating a mini drama in the midst of a larger story.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Behind the Photo: Evergreen Cemetery

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM

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While working on Style's recent cover story, The Ruins of Richmond, I spent a few hours at Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond's East End. A visit to this cemetery provides for a surreal experience, where thousands of graves are hidden by vegetation within a couple of hundred yards off Interstate 64. The graves, some more than 100 years old, emerge from the undergrowth, silent memorials to the dead and modern-day reminders of those forgotten. I was drawn to this particular grave because of the lone strand of vine that reaches up toward the words "my mother" and to the foreboding presence of the vegetation.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Behind the Photo: Stone Brewing

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 2:10 PM

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I was covering a media event at Stone Brewing's production facility in Fulton this week, where the occasion was the first release of Stone IPA in Virginia. This image shows the massive scale of the operation and the sophisticated equipment used in the high-tech brewing operation. I converted the image to black and white to highlight the monochromatic color of the piping and equipment and used a Nikon 14 mm lens, 1/60 of a sec at 5.6, at 3200 ISO.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Behind the Photo: Jockey's Ridge

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Last week I was roaming around the Outer Banks near Nags Head looking for images for a Style story, when I noticed a surf shop with a crow's nest. I climbed to the top, which gave me a nice view of Jockey's Ridge State Park.

The dunes in the 426-acre park are some of the tallest in the Eastern United States. On the ridge line were two people flying a kite where the big open sky and dunes made for a dramatic composition.

I used a Nikon D750 with a 80-200mm lens to get this image.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Behind the Photo: Mimosa Pudica

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM

On a lonely stretch of railroad tracks near Westwood Avenue I noticed this Mimosa Pudica backlit by the late-day sun. I was out searching for trains, but this seemed too beautiful to pass up.

What struck me was how this plant thrived in an ugly little stretch of vegetation.

I was carrying an 80-200 mm lens and shot this at 200 mm, 1/500 of a second at 3.3 aperture. These settings nicely throw the background out of focus creating a dreamy atmosphere.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Behind the Photo: Trump Revisited

Posted By on Sat, Jun 4, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Flashback to October: Every time I see an image of Donald Trump at a campaign rally I flash back to his Richmond visit last October. Below is an excerpt of the story we ran Oct. 15 after his rally.

In the crowd, estimated by Richmond International Raceway Complex staff to be about 5,000, there were clashes. One woman began shouting “black power," which drew a handful of people into a shouting match. Several people were escorted out after the altercation. A few college students heckled the hour-long speech by shouting “dump Trump.” In response, the crowd chanted, “We want Trump.”

Things hit a low when a protester was spit on by someone in the crowd, presumably a supporter, with a video of the incident circulated widely and discussed on national outlets.

The Republican presidential front-runner didn’t seem fazed either way. He tried to calm the crowd after the heckling incidents, mentioning freedom of speech, and noting that he was in “first place everywhere” in the polls.

Trump spoke to the issues of immigration and women’s rights. He promised to build a wall at the Mexican border, with “a big beautiful door” for legal immigrants.

Behind the image: After Trump's speech, I was allowed to jump onstage, which gave me (and other photojournalists) a great vantage point while Trump worked the line. The hands reaching forward and the intensity of the people's attention make the image work. There is connection on many levels, but the near desperation of those reaching for their brush with history creates a compelling image.

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