December 18, 2012 News & Features » Cover Story

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2012 Photos of the Year 

From political protests to rooftop honeybees: Capturing Richmond, one frame at a time.

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Massey's Tragic Legacy: Published Sept. 12. Coal cars and trucks ship Massey Energy's coal at Williamson, W.Va.

Photographer's note: This is a typical scene in coal country, narrow roads with houses built just feet from the highway, coal trucks barreling by, and train cars filled to the brim against the rural backdrop. To get all these elements in a single image, I used a wide-angle lens to frame the scene and a slow shutter speed to illustrate the trucks' jarring presence.

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The Comeback: Published Aug. 14. With a fresh artistic start, local actress and writer Irene Ziegler is shaking off a horrific year.

Photographer's note: I met Irene at her new home in the West End. She was her usual gracious self but still shaken from the home invasion and divorce. In almost every image prior to the disruptive life events Irene was photographed smiling. I didn't feel like that approach fit this story. I used the books to frame her and the lines on the table to draw readers' eyes in. Surrounded here by her most valuable life possessions the person emerging from tragedy is revealed.

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Standoff: Published March 7. Mara Hyman squares off against police at the State Capitol during a women's rights protest.

Photographer's note: This image generated the most online comments of any image Style published in 2012 and the protest images doubled our average weekly Web traffic. Much of the debate centered on the fact that this was an image taken in the United States. A comment from a reader in Tampa, Fla., wrote: "This is Greece, right?"

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Taken Aback: March 7. Shannon Fisher, Sara Heifetz, and Caroline Hoover march up the lawn from 10th Street toward the south steps of the Capitol during a women's rights protest.

Photographer's note: The police attempt to stop the march from going to the Capitol steps, but to no avail. The moment the crowd of several hundred swarms up the lawn, the scene becomes chaotic. The protesters had just marched for six blocks and the energy level was high. I was looking for people who had determination on their faces. These three women plus the baby in tow illustrate the spirit of the protest.

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Arrests at state Capitol women's rights protest: Published online March 3. Leyla B. Peachy is forcibly removed from the steps by Capitol police.

Photographer's note: The protest up to this point was peaceful. I actually thought the police might back off and diffuse the situation without arrests. Once they started removing people by force the mood turned heavy. I always carry two cameras and these images were taken with a zoom lens from about 60 feet away. The scene was chaotic but played out like it was slow motion. Many protestors had looks of disbelief.

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Arrests at the state capitol women's rights protest: Published online March 3. A police officer drags a protestor off the steps of the Capitol.

Photographer's note: I kept one eye on the main group of police making the arrests where 30 protestors sat directly in front of the entrance. But I also watched as a police officer dragged a young woman against her will off the steps. Soon other police arrived to help him. But the initial struggle between the young woman and the police officer on the pristine steps of the Capitol with the white columns in the backdrop made for an unbelievable moment.

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Taken Aback: Published March 7. A Virginia State Police officer guards the Capitol during the women's rights protest.

Photographer's note: Just by chance I ended up 10 feet away from this officer. We were eye to eye. She stared directly at me but not in an intimidating way. It's as if she understood that I was doing my job and she was doing hers. In any other instance I would have attempted to get her name but I would have had to cross police lines to do so.

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