Tag Archives: freelance photojournalist

The New York Times photography assignment & Sunday centerpiece: “A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future”

In my career as a photojournalist I am often asked what is the most interesting thing I have ever photographed. This has always proven to be something I have never been able to wholeheartedly answer. I have had many unique experiences and have met many fascinating people over the years but there was not that one defining moment or assignment. This changed when I met 23 year old Kim Suozzi and her boyfriend Josh for an assignment for The New York Times. I was allowed in to document the most intimate, strange, optimistic and heartbreaking final days of Kim’s life. Kim was dying of cancer and made the unique choice of freezing her brain with the hope that one day technology and science will allow her to “live”  and “think” again. I first met Kim and Josh and some of Kim’s family and friends at the hospice where Kim was staying. She was awake, alert, talking and smiling. I photographed her a second time, 10 days later, in an apartment in Scottsdale the day before she died. I witnessed Josh taking beautiful care of her in those final hours. Driving home that evening I knew she did not have long to live. The next morning I was called before sunrise that Kim had passed away and the cryogenics team was on their way to set in motion the process of saving Kim’s brain for preservation. As I watched the procedure to save and freeze Kim’s brain I felt both sadness and hope for her future. This story ran as a Sunday A1 centerpiece in The New York Times on September 13, 2015.

Click here to read the full New York Times story by Amy Harmon and watch a documentary video about Kim.

A community gathers and grieves

The death of 19 brave individuals is both startling and seemingly unbelievable. It is hard to imagine the loss their family members have suffered. But it is not simply the families which are in mourning it is an entire community. The family of firefighters across the country have been touched by the tragedy that happened in Yarnell when firefighters, of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, died battling a fast-moving wildfire on June 30. One week after their death I was up in a helicopter photographing the processional of 19 white hearses, motorcycles, and fire trucks as they transported the men from Phoenix to Prescott Valley. Hovering over downtown Phoenix and traveling with the processional through Wickenburg and the charred desert town of Yarnell the sheer length of the processional was something to behold. I think seeing those 19 white hearses made the number “19” into 19 real people, 19 people who had families and dreams, 19 people who had their whole life in front of them. Although the main street was mostly spared, when we got to Yarnell the landscape beyond 89 was black, homes destroyed and trees singed skeletons. The following Tuesday I drove up to Prescott Valley to cover the memorial service. Thousands of people from the community as well as thousands of firefighters, hot shot crews and officials from all corners of the U.S. and Canada were in attendance to pay their respect. So many of the people I talked to at the memorial service knew one of the 19 firefighters and those that did not know any of the men personally felt the need to be there to honor those that serve.

All photos shot for Getty Images

People line the highway to watch and pay respect as the processional drives by.

The procession drives through Yarnell, Arizona under escort by the Joint Arizona Honor Guard, for the 19 fallen firefighters.

Laura Marshall sits in front of a photograph of her cousin, Garret Zuppiger (back left) who was one of the 19 firefighters killed the the wildfire.

Washington Post Style Section

Last month I spent some time with Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona’s newly elected freshman member of Congress, for The Washington Post. I followed her while she was briefly in Arizona before being sworn into office on January 3rd. While home from Washington she met with Veterans, students at a school where she began her career as a social worker and sat down with the mayors from Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler and Mesa. As a photojournalist I enjoy assignments like this because it is a chance to see behind the scenes and walk in someone else’s shoes if only for a short while.

Waiting for someone to get arrested

Sheriff Joe Arpaio always attracts a crowd and outside the courthouse in Phoenix where he is facing a suit accusing his department of bias against Latinos was no different. Although he did not make an appearance outside the building a crowd rallied none the less. I was shooting for the New York Times and had gotten word along with the rest of the media on site that a group of 4 protesters were going to purposely get arrested as an act of civil disobedience. The protesters blocked the intersection in front of the courthouse with the 4 who were planning on getting arrested sitting on the hot pavement while the rest of the protesters walked around them in a big circle. I don’t know if it was some sort of police protocol but law enforcement seemed to let the protesters have their moment. In the end the emotions were real even if the actions were scripted.

The music and life of soprano Barbara Quintiliani

Every now and then as a freelance photographer I get a really great assignment. The kind of assignment that allows me to meet passionate and extraordinary people. Barbara Quintiliani is soprano opera singer who was diagnosed with an extremely rare combination of two autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis and Churg-Strauss syndrome. Boston Globe staff writer Geoff Edgersand and videographer Darren Durlach had been documenting the life of Barbara Quintiliani and her husband Stewart Schroeder for a number of months before I met them in Arizona. I had the privilege of photographing Quintiliani’s first performance in seven months at the Arizona Musicfest in Scottsdale. It was a powerful and emotional performance.

Click here to find out more about Barbara Quintiliani.
Click here the read the Boston Globe article.
Click here to see more photos.
Click here to watch the documentary videos by Darren Durlach.

Barbara Quintiliani’s husband Stewart Schroeder helps her get her shoes on before her performance.

Barbara Quintiliani (center) waits backstage along with fellow soloists Beth Clayton (from left) Wayne Tigges and Gaston Rivero before going on stage.

Quintiliani is cheered on stage at the end of  The Verdi Requiem.

Stewart gives his wife Barbara a kiss in her dressing room immediately after her performance.