Last week I went out on an assignment to photograph a student organized prayer service for those effected by the Virginia Tech massacre. The event was held in front of Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, MD. I wasn’t too sure how many students would actually show up, before school began, to take part in this event. Everyone held hands and stood in a large circle. People took turns standing in the center of the circle to say something to the group. Some of these student speakers were very passionate and others seemed like they were in a haze. I worked hard to try and find faces that were showing some kind of emotion. I ended up getting some photos that I think really say something about today’s teenagers and how they do have a level of emotional maturity that many of us probably think they do not possess.
This is the kind of emotion in a photograph that deeply moves me, and I’m always trying to make a photograph that’s powerful enough to move the viewer to feel some kind of emotion or connection.
Student, Brian Ferrick, 17, speaks passionately to the group, “This is a time when we have to stick together–to love each other.”
“Let’s make sure we don’t forget Cho. We need to love him. He never felt love and that’s why he did these awful things!” Wilde Lake High School student Dan Lesko, 16, of Columbia speaks in the center of the hand-holding circle at a student organized service/memorial dedicated to those affected by the Virginia Tech shootings. Written on his book bag are the words, “THIS IS TO YOU. TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO KNOWS PAIN. I LOVE YOU!”
I was so struck by the students’ genuine emotions and solidarity. I know it might sound funny, but I felt kind of honored to be there and I just hope I made photographs strong enough to say something about these students coming together and about the awful events at Virginia Tech.