When I lived in Oxford, Mississippi author Barry Hannah had been a teacher, friend and tennis partner of mine. In the year after he died, the Oxford American magazine paid tribute. I offered my short reflections and contributed a portrait I'd taken a decade before his death on March 1, 2010.
I returned home 10 days after Hurricane Katrina to be with family. They were exhausted living without power and running water, while coping with the stress of the disaster. This story, essentially about nothing happening, touches on the inequalities in politics, race and class so apparent in Louisiana and Mississippi after the storm. Once I'd written the story--about people at a Red Cross Shelter waiting for Condoleezza Rice--I realized it is as much an existential tale about waiting in vain for someone, something that never comes.
While working as an editorial intern at Mother Jones Magazine I teamed up with reporter Jonathan Stein to cover the execution of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams. I wanted to describe the detached, inhumane process of the death penalty, while representing the myriad feelings and points-of-view, as well as ordinary and bizarre circumstances, surrounding this cause celebre's execution.
The San Francisco Chronicle took a chance on this story I wrote (and photographed) about the life of Stan Litmanovich, an adult living with autism trying to cope with everyday life. For six months, I followed Stan around the city to tell his unique story from the inside out. I wanted the form of the story to reflect Stan's experience, to give the reader a visceral sense of what life was like for him.