two pictures: justice for jason

One of my favorite destinations on the web is “Picture Editor at Large” Mike Davis’ blog.

Currently Mike is inviting photographers to send in two images and he then writes which he thinks is more successful.

Even at my advanced age, I still learn something new from Mike each time I read his words or hear him speak.

Yesterday at a vigil for drive-by shooting victim Jason Perkins. I made two photos that I found compelling but I keep going back and forth on which I think is better.

First, a little background on the assignment.

The 28-year-old Perkins was walking down the 9000 block of S. Cottage Grove Avenue last Wednesday when a car pulled alongside and opened fire.

Sunday afternoon, Perkins’ family, area preachers and community leaders gathered for a march to help find the killer and make a plea to stop the seemingly endless cycle of violence in Chicago’s African-American community.

Shortly after arriving I met Jason’s mother Gloria. I made several photos of her being consoled by her sister.

I then moved over to a group of young boys, two of which were holding photos of Jason.

I approached 10-year-old named Tabyis Perkins and while pointing at the photo I asked if that was his brother. He said yes.

At the numerous vigils and funerals that I have covered, I tend to spend the majority of my time photographing the mothers of the lost children but on this afternoon I felt that the story was told best in the face of Tabyis and the other young boys present.

These are the two images that moved me.

Which of the two works best for you?

©2010 Scott Strazzante/ Chicago Tribune

8 Responses to “two pictures: justice for jason”

  1. Tough one, but I keep going back to the top one, shows so much pain, and support. The b&w treatment makes a big difference for both.

  2. I find the top photo very moving. His grief is so apparent …

  3. I like the bottom photograph. I looked at it for longer. It’s more unique and just as powerful as the other photograph.

  4. i like the top photograph best.
    i immediately go to tabyis’ face and am instantly hit with his emotion. i also like the context you’ve included with the “justice for jason” sign.
    the second one is great as well, nice framing, but found i had to search longer for the emotion.

    i’ve been following mike’s blog as well, incredibly informative.

  5. Nice pictures Scott. And thank you for the plug.
    I’d say the first image is more successful. The second feels like it either needs more or less context. In other words it should either be wider or tighter. It’s neither close enough to make you feel part of the event nor wide enough to give you a sense of how these boys fit in. Although the second image is a better composition than the first.
    In the end, conveying a sense of loss from the event seems most important and the first image does that better. Knowing what is most important to convey from a setting is usually the best yard stick to measure the strength of a group of photographs.

  6. Both are fine photos and convey that sense of loss and grief … but the first one is not just more emotion but it feels like sincere emotion and a genuine moment. The arm over the shoulder adds some caring and the light on his face adds some drama.

    The second one is a little too tight to give us the sense of the “scene” and the holding of the signs comes off a little too performance-like for me.

    Both are fine work, Scott but the top one succeeds in telling the story.

  7. The top one for sure, though it is a close race IMO. The arm around the crying boy creates a stronger ‘story’ for me. And the ‘multi-media’ affect of the “Justice..” sign in the background adds a nice layer too.

    The other pic is good, but I think I’d crop it in so it was just the two boys on the right (holding the picture of Jason and holding the picture of the little boy on the right of the pic). The the ‘opposite’ FX of having two faces in distress (behind the pic and the picture of the little boy who is upset) working against the smiling Jason picture creates a powerful reaction.

    Just my 2 cents (which in this economy means $.000000005

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