Here are 20 unforgettable moments I experienced as a photographer for The Salt Lake Tribune in 2012.
These are people I met along the way, moments that touched my heart, things that reminded me what a wonderful world we live in, and a few moments that remind us not to waste a single day because life is fragile and easily lost. Mixed in with these powerful moments are a few photos from sports assignments, which are not at all important. (Hey, that’s a joke!)
But seriously, these experiences mean more to me than any portfolio of award-winning photos I might come away with. It is a privilege and honor to be a witness, to act as your eyes in the community.
Note: No endorsements of movements, wars, religions, football teams, political candidates, etc., are intended.
Funeral for Jared Francom, January 11, 2012
Erin Francom, widow of slain Ogden police Officer Jared Francom, has a quiet moment following the service at the Ogden City Cemetery.
This was a tough one. When you’re photographing a moment like this, you do so with the utmost respect and reverence. And you never forget.
Utah Jazz beat the Miami Heat, barely, March 2, 2012
Reaction after Dwayne Wade fouled Devin Harris, setting up the three-point that won the game.
You should have seen LeBron James turn it on in the fourth quarter. It was an amazing show. This photo is what happened next, when Devin Harris got fouled in the final seconds and put the Jazz ahead for the win.
LGBTQ Teen Panel Session, March 9, 2012
A panel of teens spoke at the Utah Pride Center’s first summit for adults who work with LGBTQ youths in foster care. Caseworkers say it can be challenging to find welcoming homes for foster kids who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ).
Six teens in tough situations spoke from the heart and shared their most candid feelings and experiences. They told heartbreaking stories but I was left with optimism for their futures and a lot of respect for the courage they had to speak out.
Fabian Scores, March 17, 2012
Real Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola puts the ball under his shirt and blows a kiss to his pregnant wife after scoring a first half goal vs. New York Red Bulls.
Amazing celebration from Fabian.
Mom vs. the CERT Team, May 9, 2012
Weber State students Adam Strader and Rachel Taylor, role playing as rioting inmates, resist a Federal Bureau of Prisons CERT team during a training scenario at the Mock Prison Riot in Moundsville, West Virginia.
Everything about the Mock Prison Riot was unforgettable, but watching Rachel Taylor, a mother of six, charge into a CERT team full of bad-ass dudes firing pepperball guns from behind riot shields? Well, that just blew me away.
Photobomb, June 7, 2012
Rick Ledbetter, Environmental Health Supervisor for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, urged residents to defend themselves against waterborne illnesses at a press conference at the Liberty Park pool. In the pool behind Ledbetter is Ruben Saldivar.
Thanks to the awesome Ruben Saldivar for sliding into the photo op and making me laugh on a routine summer assignment.
National Guard homecoming, June 23, 2012
Mickaela Hawkley embraces her husband Bleu as the soldiers from the Utah Army National Guard’s Second Battalion, 211th Aviation unit returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Can’t say enough about the sacrifices being made by military families during our two long wars over the past decade. I know I’ve said this before, but every time I’m sent to see troops leaving or returning I feel that all Americans should be forced to attend these events so we can see the effects of the wars we have been ignoring.
Crandall Canyon Mine Memorial, August 1, 2012
The memorial to six miners and three rescuers who died in the 2007 Crandall Canyon Mine disaster near Huntington, Utah.
An anniversary story on the mine disaster brought me to this beautiful secluded spot. It’s very peaceful. My thoughts go out to the families. For them, the media focus on anniversaries must be painful.
Desert dust storm, August 1, 2012
A dust storm blows through the lonely town of Woodside, Utah.
I stood in an old cemetery in the desert watching this dust storm coming at me like a huge wall of brown. It hit hard and I looked to the right and made this photograph. There’s nothing like the desert and the way it pulls you in.
Jen gets married, August 18, 2012
Jen Comer dances with her son, T.J., at her wedding reception in Hunstville.
I’ve been photographing Jen for nearly a year now as part of a larger project at the paper. Her wedding was filled with great moments but this one was my favorite, a touching dance with her young son.
Republican National Convention, August 28-30, 2012
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, with their families, close out the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Let’s see, political conventions are scripted and staged, there are too many photographers and not enough real subjects. I felt ridiculous succumbing to the temptation to photograph people in red, white and blue hats and such. But still, it was pretty cool to see history being made— or at least one possible version of history.
Aggies beat Utes, September 7, 2012
Utah State players storm the field after beating the University of Utah in Logan.
This was the start of a special season for the Aggies. Wish I could have been there for more of it, but my schedule kept me away from Logan most of the season.
Meeting Michael, September 12, 2012
Michael Chambers wields a lightsaber at the foster home where he lives. Due to the lack of services for children with autism, a small number of families are turning their children, like Chambers, over to the child welfare system each year desperate for the services they can get in state custody.
Michael was one of the most thoughtful kids I’ve met. He gave me a tour of his room, showed me his wonderful artwork, and posed for a few photos outside with his lightsaber. Be well, my friend. Life is good and it only gets better.
Utah beats BYU, September 15, 2012
Brigham Young wide receiver JD Falslev reacts to the loss to Utah.
One of the craziest endings of a game, ever. With no time left BYU attempts a field goal for the win but the ball bounces off the post. You’ve got to be kidding me. My colleague Chris nailed this moment. I was shooting right over his shoulder and blew it so this one’s really two memories for me… sweet (the thrilling game) and sour (missing the shot).
Retiring to Huntsville, October 3, 2012
LDS Church historian Merlin Jensen at his home in Huntsville, built on the land he grew up on.
Nice people, good conversation, and a beautiful place.
The end of Corey Kanosh, October 23, 2012
Charlie Lafferty at the spot he believes his cousin, Corey Kanosh’s body ended up after he was shot by a Millard County deputy following a high speed chase. The family of Corey Kanosh is seeking answers in Kanosh’s death.
I’m grateful anytime a family opens up to my camera, but especially so during one of their toughest moments.
President Obama re-elected, November 6, 2012
Hussein Adawe reacts to the re-election of Barack Obama.
I was excited about this photo of Adawe celebrating Obama’s win, and then he pulled out a copy of the photo I took of him four years ago doing the exact same thing and my mind was blown!
54-yard field goal for the state championship, November 10, 2012
Manti’s T.J. Pogroszewski and Carlo Garcia watch Garcia’s state record 54-yard game-winning field goal in overtime, giving Manti the 2A State Football Championship.
Okay, Garcia, I have to admit I thought you had no chance of making that 54-yard field goal. You guys had lost so much yardage, there was no way you were going to make this kick to win the game. Luckily I was smart enough to fire off a couple of frames just in case, but I almost didn’t even bother. Then you made it, setting a state record and becoming champions. What an amazing end. Congratulations.
Reggie Dunn’s NCAA record touchdown run for the win, November 23, 2012
Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn returns a kick for the game-winning touchdown as the Colorado Buffaloes host the University of Utah in Boulder.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited to travel to Boulder to see the Utes take on the 1-9 Buffaloes on Thanksgiving weekend. But having Reggie Dunn win the game for the Utes by running an NCAA record fifth career kick return touchdown right at me changed my mind. It was a great trip after all.
Children going over the fence, November 30, 2012
Children climbing a gate at what was once a thriving community zoo in Hildale, a town where many residents are members of Warren Jeffs’ FLDS church.
Watching this group of children climb the zoo gate was an amazing sight. I felt like I’d gone back in time to the mid 1900s. I was so happy to be getting the shot, all the while knowing I was too far away and had an obstructed view. I wish I could photograph a moment like this up close without scaring everyone away, but this is Short Creek, a town where the people are intensely private and will run from the camera. I had to settle for getting what I could, shooting with a very long lens from far away.
I’ve been covering the FLDS and polygamy for past several years. It’s been some of the most important work of my career. Sometimes I’ve had good access and other times none. Through it all I’ve tried to photograph this community objectively and without shoving a camera in anyone’s face unless it was absolutely necessary.
Right now there is little access. The FLDS have shut off all access to the outside world. I must be one of the few photojournalists doing a long-term project with a subject that’s unwilling to participate. Normally I build trust and rapport with my subjects, so this has been very frustrating. But I’m okay with facing the challenge. It’s important to keep telling their story. I feel that someday they will agree.