a wife’s salute

While listening to news radio yesterday, I heard a story about the dedication of a Cook County Sheriff’s Memorial that was to happen today in River Grove.

Since I was going to be working a day shift, my ears perked up and I thought- “Hey, that sounds like it might have possibilities for some emotional photos.”

Lo and behold, I was assigned to shoot the event.

When I read the assignment, I was disappointed.

The memorial was not made of granite but was a plaque-filled wood cabinet. The ceremony was not going to be held outside but inside an auditorium at a local college.

Having photographed numerous auditorium events, I knew that it would be very difficult to make a photo that showed the memorial but also included emotion on the faces of the family of those who were being honored. In addition, I knew that the light would be sketchy auditorium light and not beautiful early Spring sunshine.

As it turns out the ceremony was quite emotional but much of that emotion was on the faces of the audience and the images of the emotion lacked the context of the memorial.

Finally after the service, the family members made their way on to the stage and that is when emotion and context came together.

I made several hugging photos but my favorite was a simple salute by retired Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Grace Knapp as she honored her husband James Knapp, one of the eight heroes who have lost their lives in service of the county.

So, I guess the moral of the story is I have to stop pre-visualizing my assignments and just shoot what I see.

©2010 Scott Strazzante/ Chicago Tribune

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