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Unforgettable / The Globe's 2008 Photos of the Year

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  January 4, 2009 02:05 PM

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John Tlumacki Soldiers
Globe Staff Photo by John Tlumacki

When we see the best pictures, no words are necessary. The images say it all. But sometimes it's nice to know what went into capturing those moments. The Jan. 4 issue of The Boston Globe Magazine takes you behind the lens, hearing from the photographers of the Globe staff who shot the most memorable photos of the year.

View large-scale versions of the photos by clicking on the Full-screen link in this gallery, then scroll down to read behind-the-scenes explanations written by each photographer.


No Pants event

Photograph and text by Essdras M. Suarez, Globe Staff

Cambridge, January 12 | Five-year-old Emily Nye and her parents, who were visiting from England, were surrounded by riders on the inbound Red Line T during “No Pants 2k8,” which the organizers described as a large-scale improv event. Basically, a bunch of people showed up at the Alewife T Station and, before going onto the trains, all took off their pants. The scene, by its sheer nature, was funny enough, but I knew the real photo would happen when other people reacted to the pants-less masses. I positioned myself lower, looking for a better angle, and I was rewarded when this little girl looked up at one of the pants-less ones. I can’t even imagine what’s going through her head.

Jessica Leahy

Photograph and text by Essdras M. Suarez, Globe Staff

Newton, July 23 | Six-year-old Jessica Leahy is lost in a moment of ballet at summer camp at Day Middle School in Newton. Jessica has a rare nerve disorder and must use a respirator to help her breathe. When we set out to photograph all these children who live on respirators, I knew I’d be dealing with some pretty sad situations. But meeting Jessica changed my perspective on the assignment. This little girl was just amazing, and her impromptu ballet move was better than anything I could have come up with on my own. I also was very aware the moment I took the photo that this was a great photo, but that this had nothing to do with me, and it was all about the little girl. I just considered myself lucky to have met her.

Clark Rockefeller

Photograph and text by John Tlumacki, Globe Staff

Boston, August 20 | With a name like Clark Rockefeller, I guess I expected more from him. Even though he was dressed in his prison garb, he still wore tasseled loafers with no socks. A vain attempt to show some style. Was there going to be a gun carved from a bar of soap in his pocket? Was this reality, or a Woody Allen movie? He sat like a lady and gestured like one, too. His voice was annoying. I tried to penetrate my focus through his heavy-framed glasses, trying to get into his head through his eyes with my photos. I didn't know whether I was shooting a bad impersonation of a rich snob, or a sad sack, or a murderer, or a real good dad. I wanted to put my cameras down and shove him against the wall and force him to tell the truth. I guess I was as frustrated as everyone else.


Photograph and text by John Tlumacki, Globe Staff

Taunton, October 29 | Morgan Riddick, 3, was me during that farewell ceremony. I would have done the same thing if that was my dad. I got closer to Morgan and his father after I took this photo and remember seeing his dad, Thomas, with a tear that rolled down from his eye to the tip of his nose, where it seemed to stay forever. And I remember thinking that he couldn't wipe that tear, never mind look down at or hug his son, until the ceremony was over. Morgan cried for most of the ceremony, but he was not alone. I had a tear that was hidden behind my camera. It was after I saw a teenage girl who was crying. Her father was much older than Thomas Riddick. She stood back in the crowd of family members and held her hand over her heart during the national anthem. I wondered when I would not have to cover these events anymore.

Michelle and Barack Obama

Photograph and text by Yoon S. Byun, Globe Staff

Nashua, January 8 | This picture was made on the evening Barack Obama made his now famous "Yes We Can" speech after losing in the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. The picture speaks to me in two ways: One is the disappointment clearly seen on Michelle Obama's face. The second is hope, a message used throughout Obama's campaign and what I interpret to be the expression on his face. He always referred to himself as the unlikely candidate, and despite this loss was hopeful. The rest, of course, is history.

Ayanna Hines

Photograph and text by Dina Rudick, Globe Staff

Roxbury, November 4 | I was with three women in Dehlia Umanna's Roxbury living room when Barack Obama was declared the winner, and I captured their initial reaction on video. At first, they all screamed. One wept and fell to her knees and phoned her mother. Then we all heard honking out in the street, so I threw down my video camera, grabbed my still camera, and raced after the woman who had gone outside to investigate. The honking car had passed, but the distant honking made clear that people all over town were celebrating. Ayanna Hines threw out her arms and let out an incredible scream -- no words that I remember -- to wake the neighbors and welcome in a new era, at least as she saw it.

Paul Pierce

Photograph and text by Jim Davis, Globe Staff

Boston, June 17 | The photo of Paul Pierce after the Celtics won the NBA Championship was shot from the ninth-floor hockey press area, high above the parquet at the Garden. I was hoping for an on-court reaction photo from that angle when the celebration began at the buzzer. But because the game was such a blowout, when the game ended, most of the Celtics starters were out of the game, and a lot of family and friends of the players were gathered around the bench area. During the trophy presentations, Pierce was very emotional, and this photo was of one of his most demonstrative moments.

Super Bowl.jpg

Photograph and text by Matthew J. Lee, Globe Staff

Glendale, Arizona, February 3 | I was not on the field. I was in the back row of the lower section of stands on top of a crate used to carry kegs into the arena, with my monopod fully extended, shooting between two fans who happened to be from Boston. That was a huge help. They would duck out of the way and kept asking if they needed to move. Tom Brady was getting hit so many times that game. I still thought they could pull it out. Michael Strahan (92) just destroyed him and got the whole Giants team fired up. The Super Bowl doesn't have that fan frenzy; it's a neutral site. It was just so much quieter than any Patriots game, because they were usually blowing everybody out. When you look at the picture, Brady has all the pain of all the fans who watched that game.


Photograph and text by David L. Ryan, Globe Staff

Lawrence, January 22 | I remember how cold it was and how much destruction there was. Even though it's devastating, it's actually very artistic, the way ice forms. You have to be standing there to just see it. You sit there and wait for someone to come by. Then you see someone coming up the street, nonchalantly. I just started blasting away; she was walking away. I had to run after her to get her name, Yenica Capallan. She'd just come back from New York. She said she couldn't believe it. What I liked about her is the nonchalant walk. She is just walking like nothing ever happened. It was her neighborhood. You hope to God the person doesn't look at me and just keeps walking straight.

Hawkeye the Great Dane

Photograph and text by Suzanne Kreiter, Globe Staff

Danvers, August 11 | I gravitate with alarming frequency (according to my editor) to all things canine. A trainer of mobility assistance dogs brought a herd of enormous Great Danes (some nearing 200 pounds) to a Home Depot to walk them up and down the aisles. They were the sweetest, gentlest beasts, and I was enjoying them so much that I stayed until the very end of the training session, when they were loaded into the van. The dog's breath was steaming up the windows, and I thought I'd get a graphic shot of a paw or snout coming through the foggy window. But when I walked around to the back of the van and saw the WOOF sign, I knew all I had to do was wait for one of the soulful, pensive Great Danes to walk to the back window. Hawkeye obliged. You know how people often wonder what dogs are thinking? I suspect that most of the time, that's it: Woof.

Sol and Rita Rogers

Photograph and text by Pat Greenhouse, Globe Staff

Needham, August 5 | Sadly, the photo felt orchestrated. I just wanted a slice of life. It felt too much like a photo op. But I had just trained on the Flip video camera. I asked Sol Rogers on video to tell me how this came about and what you do. He said he had this idea -- he had been concerned about his wife, Rita, who had Alzheimer's. He asked them to move her over and let him get in. He said he got into bed with her and started to caress her. He said she started responding. His son told me that people would ask him how his mother was doing, and he said he was always worried more about his father.

Frog Pond

Photograph and text by David L. Ryan, Globe Staff

Boston, June 27 | Oh, God, another opening day of Frog Pond. You are watching this thing. You keep mobile, really walk around the event or scene, watch the people or the dogs. You stay away from politicians. I am hoping the mayor cutting the ribbon will be different, but that comes out to be a dud. I used a high shutter speed, which will stop the water like that. Maybe 2,000th of a second. I used a long lens, too. The expressions are hard. They're so small-looking through the camera. You are shooting a scene, and you hope something connects.


Photograph and text by Yoon S. Byun, Globe Staff

Somerville, July 4 | I was on my way to shoot the Fourth of July fireworks from the Museum of Science building. I was driving in Somerville and saw this couple rolling a canoe down the street with their dog. Andy and Jacquelyn Porter planned on watching the fireworks from the Charles River. It was a difficult picture to shoot. On one hand, I wanted to show the scene, which I found humorous, which required me to take a wider shot. But a wider shot brought a lot more distracting elements into the photograph, and it was difficult to edit down to the picture that had the least amount of distractions. Hopefully the humor still comes across.

Meyer Hack

Photograph and text by Suzanne Kreiter, Globe Staff

Brighton, January 7 | Sixty years after surviving Auschwitz, 92-year-old Meyer Hack shared a haunting secret: While working in the laundry of the Nazi death camp, he found 16 items of jewelry sewn into the clothes confiscated by the Nazis. The owners of the valuables perished in the ovens, but Hack survived. He kept the items in his Brighton attic for all these years, until finally deciding to donate them to a Holocaust museum. During the interview, Hack had to stop many times to fight against the waves of emotions caused by his terrible memories. As I focused on his face, waiting to depress the shutter button at the height of his emotion, I came to understand two things: The worst of what man can do to man is so bad that it will haunt Meyer Hack for a lifetime. Second, what a privilege it is to witness the telling of history -- not as typed words behind glass in a museum, but from the shaking voice and misting eyes of an old man whose courage was greater than the evil he lived through.

Kai Leigh Harriott

Photograph and text by Yoon S. Byun, Globe Staff

Roxbury, June 20 | Meeting Kai Leigh Harriott was one of the highlights of my year. Her story was so inspirational to me, and as a newcomer to Boston, I only learned of her story while working at the Globe. When I first walked into the house, she started counting to me in Chinese, then in Japanese. (I'm Korean, and she found this fascinating.) In fact, she found many things about me fascinating and was a very inquisitive girl, full of life, and had an incredibly uplifting personality. As I photographed her in her backyard, Kai's mother, Tonya David, tried to calm their dog, Jaireh, who was running around wildly. As I told Tonya to let Jaireh run, Kai started calling for her. Although a portrait of Kai would have reflected her personality, this moment is hopefully more of a surprise and gives our readers more insight into this remarkable girl.


To see more Globe Photos of the Year and hear audio clips of the photographers discussing their pictures, visit this Globe Magazine gallery.

Please let us know your thoughts on these photos, including which are your favorites, by leaving a comment below.

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