Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
As a photographer, it’s always interesting to see how people react to a camera. Some see you coming and practically beg to have their picture taken, while others can’t run away fast enough.
With that thought in mind and a lump in my throat, I was certain to have difficulty at my first assignment this morning: photographing people turning themselves in to the Fugitive Safe Surrender program in Camden, which allows persons wanted for non-violent felonies and misdemeanors to voluntarily surrender to law enforcement officials in a safe setting and often have their cases adjudicated on the spot. Nobody here was going to want their picture in the paper, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I snapped a few pictures as inconspicuously as I could, and timidly approached Umar Shariff(pictured at left) to tell him I’d taken his picture for the newspaper and ask if I could have his name. “Oh yeah make sure you get my name,” he replied without hesitation. “This is a good thing. Today is a good thing. I’m finally getting things straightened out.” Behind him, John Clemons(pictured at right) smiled and said, “Get my name too.”
And so it went. As with any assignment, there were certainly people who wanted nothing to do with me and my camera. But overall, the hundred or so people winding through a slow-moving line on a frigid day couldn’t have been happier about sharing their chance to clear up the past and move on with their lives, and I couldn’t help but agree, “Today is a good day.”