Thursday, April 10, 2008

Texas....Day 1

Many of the people who read this blog read Trent's as well, so for a more detailed backstory as well as things that happened before I arrived to Texas check out Trent Nelson's blog. (His site is on my link list to the right of the screen)

Saturday morning I got to work to shoot the Saturday session of conference and saw photos in the Tribune from Texas. 4 or 5 FLDS women, some holding children crossing a lawn to a shelter late at night. I couldn't get the photo on the front page out of my head the rest of the day. Their forms were so somber and muted. I finished my edit from conference, did some quick errands, and caught a flight to West Texas for the paper. I was not overly optimistic that we would get much, I thought the break of the story had passed. When I arrived in San Angelo Sunday afternoon I realized how severly I had underestimated the entire situation.

We landed in small San Angelo and after some quick research found out that the women and children from the FLDS Yearning For Zion Ranch in nearby Eldorado, Texas were transported to San Angelo's Fort Concho; a historic military fort with structures large enough to hold what would start to look like an exodus of people. Within a few minutes I was able to get photos of these women and children showing up to Fort Concho. Their solid colored clothing made them easy to see. The same look that I had seen in the photograph on Saturday morning hung over many of their bodies, head slightly down, but focused still. Clutching water canteens, pillows and sleeping bags they walked into the buildings on the Fort. From the beginning, I noticed the gravity of the situation was not apparent on the faces of the youngest as their little dresses nearly touched the ground, scooting along.

From a nearby school I photographed the families reunite with eachother. I assume some may have been hiding or taken on different buses at different times from the ranch nearly 5o miles away. From across this field the familial ties of these families surfaced in the form of hugs and tears.


Tim said...

You've been doing a great job.

But you're not supposed to refer to Trent's blog, you're supposed to compete with it!

I was expecting some more rivalry. Jeeez.

captindan said...

hey I saw your pics in the newspaper yesterday. Nice job. While it's a sad affair all around, I really liked how you photographed the kids playing games - made me hope everything turns out right for the kids in the end.
It seems unfair that they need to go through all of this, they're just kids, they probably just want to go play.