Photos of the Year

Style Weekly’s photographer looks back at memorable images from 2022.

We asked Style Weekly photographer Scott Elmquist to look back at the photos he took in 2022 and pick some of his favorites.

Along with each image, he has included his own notes or memories about the shot, which provide some insight not only into the life of a photographer, but also what it takes to capture a memorable image that will have an impact.

1. Approximately 3,000 people protested at the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in Richmond at Monroe Park on May 14.

Photographer’s note: The protesters marched around Monroe Park and the line was so long it encircled the entire park. I was looking for a strong foreground element that also showed the crowd. Big protests can be tricky to photograph because there’s so much going on. I’m always looking to simplify the image in these instances so the viewer isn’t distracted by elements that aren’t critical to the story.

2. Melissa Burgess carries a sign in protest against the proposed removal of the Second Baptist Church on Franklin Street, on March 4.

Photographer’s note: This protest took place at dusk so the light was fading fast. There wasn’t much room between the road and the protestors so I used a wide lens to get Burgess in mid frame while throwing the poster out of focus. Musician Barry Bless in the background playing the accordion adds a nice element.

3. Bans Off Our Bodies protesters rally outside the Virginia State Capitol at Ninth and Grace Streets on May 14. Approximately 3,000 people attended the rally that started at Monroe Park and ended at the Capitol.

Photographer’s note: The protesters marched from Monroe Park to the Capitol and stood yelling outside a closed fence. When they stopped, I took advantage of them being stationary. The power of this image comes from the intensity of the young women and that I managed to catch them all screaming at the same moment.

4. After 130 years, the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill was removed on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, before a small crowd of onlookers.

Photographer’s note: After photographing all the Confederate monuments coming down in 2020, I had a good idea how things were going to go. When workers lifted the statue off the pedestal, I took a handful of photos and then moved quickly to the spot where they would place the statue on a flatbed truck. The process wasn’t particularly quick, so there was ample time to record the moment. I was surprised about how few people showed up to watch the removal.

5. Kristy Burrus kneels beside an inscribed boulder honoring her daughter, Krissa A. Henderson-Burruss, at a celebration of life at Virginia Union University on Aug. 26. Krissa, a Virginia Union University criminal justice major, was a victim of gun violence in 2019. Burrus created the Krissa Ansara Foundation after her daughter’s death to support VUU students in the criminal justice field; it presents a yearly scholarship.

Photographer’s note: I’d gotten to know Kristy Burrus because she’s become an advocate against gun violence in Richmond. She invited me to the event and I knew I should be there because I had covered the initial murder vigil about her daughter. She was gracious in presenting the criminal justice scholarship and thanking everyone in attendance and then she kneeled against the stone, which was an unscripted moment. She hugged the stone and then looked off with tears in her eyes, which was a heartbreaking reminder of the devastation of gun violence.

6. Ms. Jaylin Brown performs at Banding Together, a benefit for Richmond Public Schools elementary music programs, at The Broadberry on March 5.

Photographer’s note: I rarely use a longer lens to photograph bands in an indoor venue, most often opting for a wide angle lens and stage access. This image is from a distance where I used the dramatic stage lighting to my advantage. I like the simplicity of just her, the guitar, and the intense rays of purple and blue lights.

7. Toddlers and their caretaker watch the removal of the Jefferson Davis Memorial on Monument Avenue on Feb. 8.

Photographer’s note: The removal of the pedestal was a several day affair. I stopped often to document the progress. I was surprised how little attention the public paid to the removal. In this instance, I was standing and chatting with Alexa Welch Edlund, longtime Richmond Times-Dispatch photographer, when I saw the woman pushing the kids down Monument avenue. The stroller full of kids glancing upward makes for an intriguing foreground element.

8. Almeta Ingram-Miller hugs Blessing Williams after a Legendary Ingramettes show at the Richmond Folk Festival on Oct. 8.

Photographer’s note: Blessing was pulled onstage to dance during the Legendary Ingramettes’ performance on the Altria Stage. Afterward the youngster was invited backstage to meet the band, where I was lucky enough to witness a brief reunion.

9. Cheryl Maroney Yancey dances with a festival-goer during the Legendary Ingramettes’ set at Richmond Folk Festival on Oct. 9.

Photographer’s note: Yancey is a consummate performer. She’s audience aware and doesn’t hesitate to pull people onstage to dance. She brought the house down several times during the set.

10. Tyrone Humphrey, Tynashia Humphrey’s father, is comforted by [former] Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith during the Stop The Killing rally at the John Marshall Courthouse on Sept. 18. Tynashia Humphrey was a 15-year-old freshman from Richmond Public Schools who was shot and killed on Sept.12 while walking to the store in Gilpin Court.

Photographer’s note: When I was putting this feature together, The New York Times published an article stating that gun violence is the leading cause of death of children in the United States, surpassing car crashes. Richmond certainly isn’t immune from this devastation. Several children were shot and killed in Richmond in 2022. In this instance, the details are especially heartbreaking, as Tynashia was simply walking to the store one evening with friends and was caught in the crossfire of a shootout. Mr. Humphrey’s expression (as he is comforted by Smith) is necessary for the public to see as a reminder of the plague of gun violence in Virginia and more broadly, America.

11. The pedestal of the Soldiers and Sailors Confederate Monument reflects in the sunglasses of Michael Spence, Managing General Partner for Construction, Team Henry Enterprises LLC, who oversaw its removal in Libby Hill Park. The 100-foot granite monument was unveiled on May 30, 1894.

Photographer’s note: This isn’t a new technique but it works in this instance. I was attempting to show Spence and the monument in one image but the monument was 100 feet tall, making for a difficult composition. So I decided to show the pedestal in his glasses as he was watching his workers.

12. Workers remove the granite slab bearing Stonewall Jackson’s name on Feb. 12. The pedestal holding the bronze statue of Jackson stood from 1919 to 2020 at the intersection of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

Photographer’s note: The pedestal was removed with little fanfare and just a handful of the public on hand to witness the event, but I knew the removal would produce compelling images. When workers swung the granite slab into the street I was impressed with the sheer bulk of the plate bearing Jackson’s name still covered in red paint. It was important to show the workers for scale against the hulking pedestal.

13. The spot where the Stonewall Jackson statue stood from 1919 to 2020 and the granite pedestal until early March is now a hole in the ground at the intersection of Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Monument Avenue. Photographed on March 8.

Photographer’s note: I found this huge hole in the middle of Arthur Ashe Boulevard a bit surreal. Gone was the pedestal but this imprint remained, soon to be paved over. I ran into the street and grabbed this image. Soon the hole was paved over and now there’s zero trace of any monument at the intersection.

14. Asia Anthony performed at the Que Pasa Festival along the Canal Walk in Shockoe Slip on June 11.

Photographer’s note: Anthony’s big bright eyes, perfect lipstick and hoop earrings caught my eye. I waited for a moment when the light showed her eyes. She was incredibly composed for a small child often surrounded by adults in swirling skirts and a huge crowd of onlookers.

15. A pedestrian checks out the newly painted Pulse bus lane on Broad Street on June 27.

Photographer’s note: Talk about making a statement. That red bus lane is bold. The pedestrian gives a needed perspective to the frame during an unusually quiet moment on Broad Street. I used a wide lens to emphasize the lines leading into the frame.

16. Christopher Woody, Jr. stands on the Woody Foundation at the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade on Dec. 3.

Photographer’s note: I have to admit I hesitated going to photograph the parade in the pouring rain. But I thought if all those kids could get out there, I could too. I’m happy I went. Few events demonstrate the spirit of Richmond better than the annual Christmas parade. In this image, Christopher’s expression is pure hope. It’s a great representation of how he and all the other kids braved the elements to make the show go on.

17. Nutzy having fun with children at the Winter Wander event at The Valentine on Dec. 11.

Photographer’s note: Nutzy was definitely working the crowd that day and showed some athletic ability by hopping up on the bench to elude the kids. The Cardinal’s expression in the background is priceless.

18. Red leaves of a gum tree are framed by loblolly pines on Dec. 13.

Photographer’s note: This is a simple image that reminds me that fall can last almost to Christmas in the Richmond area. I like the little blast of red against the loblollies which are sweeping skyward. This perspective isn’t unique, I see it all the time, but the red leaves in the center of the frame seemingly floating are unique.

19. Legendary punk band, The Circle Jerks, members Keith Morris, Zander Schloss and Greg Hetson, in front of the Bernie Slamders mural by Richmond artist Mickael Broth at 3300 W. Broad Street. The band played a sold out show at the Broadberry that evening.

Photographer’s note: I arrived at the mural early and found a place for the band to park their van at the busy intersection, placing a couple traffic cones to secure the spot. I knew these guys were famous and wouldn’t have much time. So when the van pulls up, they ignore the parking spot and park in the middle of the street. Out hops lead singer Keith Morris who barks, “Where are we doing this?” I thought he said how are you doing, and I said “Great!” He growled, “No, WHERE are we doing this?” I looked back at him and told him we’re doing it right there as soon as you move your van out of the way. He said “in the middle of the street?” I said “yep, that’s the only way to get the band and the mural in the shot.” The band then posed awkwardly and I took four frames. I said we’re done. Morris seemed shocked and said, “that’s it?” Then he answered a couple questions from Style Editor Brent Baldwin, and yelled at everyone to get back in the van because he had to go take a piss. The whole photo shoot took less than five minutes.

20. On the morning of Feb. 12, a Richmond Fire Department firefighter doused the remaining embers of an overnight blaze that devastated the William Fox Elementary school. The fire left the 110 year-old structure heavily damaged.

Photographer’s note: I found out about the fire via Twitter and immediately grabbed my cameras and headed to the school. Just as the sun was coming up, I saw this lone firefighter silhouetted against a burned out shell of the building. The scene was secured by police and the fire department, so this was the clearest view of the damage I could find of the beloved school in the Fan.


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