Monday, March 19, 2007

The Tough Part of the Job

On Saturday, I drove to Vivian to shoot pictures at the Redbud Festival. Kids were playing in the park, teenagers were walking around hand-in-hand, old couples were lounging on benches. Booths filled with merchandise and food lined the street. It was the perfect little town on the perfect spring day.

Then came Sunday. I went back to cover the funeral of 17-year-old North Caddo High School student Amanda Sparaco, who was killed in a car accident days earlier. The entire mood of the town had changed. The carnival atmosphere was gone. Probably some of the same folks whose pictures I took at the festival somberly filed past me to pay their respects at First Baptist Church and later at Mt. Gilead Cemetery.

I stood on the street corner taking it all in. People stared at me, possibly wondering why I was hovering around like a paparazzi. I’m sure some didn’t want me to be there and it was an awkward situation where I tried to do my job in the least intrusive way possible.

No photographer I know likes to cover funerals. I think we all hope they fall on somebody else’s shift. But usually when everything is over folks are happy with the pictures we take, happy to know we didn’t exploit the situation and happy that we’ve in some way helped the family and community begin the healing process.

You can see photos from Sunday here.

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