Sharing favorite photos

January 10, 2011

SpiritLens

What are your favorite photos? We all have photos that we’ve taken that are special to us. Maybe they are of people that are important in our lives or maybe they were really hard to get. For whatever reason we like them.

As a photojournalist I take hundreds of photos each year. Some of them I think I could have done better, some I’m happy with, and then there are my favorites. These are the photos that have meaning to me, photos that have a story behind them. They are not award-winning work, but I like them.

I have several, but I’ve narrowed it down to three here.

This photo of my husband Joe interviewing Minnesota Twins center-fielder Kirby Puckett in 1995 has a special place on my wall at work. I look at it often. We were working together at the St. Cloud Visitor then and Joe was still a reporter. (Now he’s the editor of The Catholic Spirit and The Visitor.) It took a while, but we managed to get a few minutes with him. We met him in the dugout during batting practice before a game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. He was such a nice guy, and he was willing to move all over the field so I could get the shot of him I wanted. It is always fun to meet a celebrity, but the fact that he was such a nice person made it so special.

I knew I had something good the second I took this photo of Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. Again I was working at The Visitor and our whole editorial staff traveled to this event. One person rode a bus to Denver with students from the diocese and stayed on a gym floor. Another actually rode his bike all the way there with another group from the diocese.

I was lucky. I flew and stayed in a hotel! This photo is from the Mass at Cherry Creek State Park. Hundreds of people had arrived the night before to get a good spot. I was supposed to take my reserved spot on the photographers’ platform at the back of the VIP section, but my editor had a pass for the VIP section, so I followed her to her seat. No one stopped me. I managed to get a seat on the end near the aisle I thought the pope would be walking down. And he did walk right down that aisle, shaking as many hands as he could along the way. When he got to me, he looked right at me and held out his hand.

For a split-second I debated whether I should shake his hand or take his picture. In the end, the photographer in me won out and I took his picture. I’m glad I did.

This shot of Archbishop Harry Flynn is one of my favorites because it really shows what kind of a person he is. He is so pastoral and caring and it really shows in this photo. This one appeared in The Catholic Spirit and was also used as part of a tribute to Archbishop Flynn during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. It was used to illustrate a song about love that was written for the event. It was an honor for one of my photos to be used in a tribute to such a wonderful man.

Do you have a photo with an interesting story behind it? E-mail the photo and short story to me (towalskid@archspm.org) and I’ll post the best ones on this blog.