I got a very last minute call from the photo desk at the Boston Herald asking if I was available to photograph the memorial in Aurora for the victims of the midnight shooting. My first assignment was to photograph Nick Yowler. Nick was with his friend Matt McQuinn at the theater. McQuinn, 27, sustained fatal injuries when he dove in front of Yowler and his sister to shield them during the shooting. I cannot began to conceive what Nick must be going through right now and I don’t pretend to relate on any level. I’m just very thankful I had the opportunity to photograph Nick, even if I only had about a minute with him.
This was a very hard event to shoot. Not hard as in there weren’t pictures to be taken, ‘hard’ as in emotionally hard. It’s still astonishing to think an event so horrific happened so close to where I live. It’s so easy to just watch the TV and think, “That’s so sad for those people”. But when I was actually there, it really hit home. I saw family members of victims holding pictures of loved ones, attendees crying over strangers, and public officials on the brink of tears. It’s so easy to get in ‘photo assignment’ mode at things like this. Having composition, light, rule of thirds, and emotion be all that matters. I had to force myself to step back and think, “These are real people experiencing what will probably be the worst event ever in their life”, and with that in mind, gear my pictures and my attitude to reflect that while still not being invasive on this terribly sensitive and emotional time in these peoples lives.
I’m very humbled to have been asked to document this event by the Herald. I hope I accurately told the story of the memorial while still respecting peoples integrity and privacy.
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