Special/Signature Issues » And One to Grow On

12 Moving Images


Look at alternative weeklies across the country, and you'll soon notice Style spends more of its real estate on photography than most. Art Director Jeffrey Bland believes it's worth the square footage -- and we agree. We're fortunate to have had so many talented and award-winning photographers as part of our editorial team. Their work is integral to our journalism and our design. And sometimes we wonder, just how they got that shot? So we asked.

1. Buddy Smith and His Australian Blue Heeler, "Roo"

July 28, 1987

Photographer: Kent Eanes

This shot was to illustrate a package about pets and their owners (called "Best Friends"). W.C. Field once said, "Never work with children or animals." I think that quote would be much different today if he'd worked with this pair. These two marched in the studio as if they owned the place and pretty much struck the pose they are in. Then we all realized that they resembled each other.

2. Ralph White

June 29, 1999

Photographer: Stephen Salpukas

Ralph is the quintessential great subject. He's smart, animated and passionate about life and the world around us. I just hope that's conveyed in the photo. For this shoot we met at sunset near Reedy Creek on the James River. I wanted him to "connect" with the water and land as he does in his own special way, so we got in the water up to our necks. I shot this with the bottom of a medium format camera touching the water.

3. God's Trombones

May 26, 2004


Scott Elmquist

The United House of Prayer in Church Hill has a brass band composed of kids from all walks on life.… Their instruments were pretty beaten up and some were taped together, but they could really turn your head with the music they produced. There was an underlying feeling of happiness among all the kids I photographed, even though many came from underprivileged families.

4. Martin Hynst and Tarbell Holmes

Aug. 9, 1994

Photographer: Jay Paul

This photo came about while I was on assignment for seven days and nights in the summer of 1994 to capture everyday moments of the metro area. In all, I shot 72 « rolls of black-and-white film — this was before the days of digital. This one was taken at Pocahontas State Park on Friday, July 15, at 3:15 p.m. The photo package later won a best in show at the Virginia Press Association.

5. Randy Roe

March 27, 2001

Photographer: Chad Hunt

I guess every photographer has to shoot an Elvis impersonator at some point — some dues just have to be paid. This one's name is Randy Roe, and I spent a few days with him while working on a story with writer Greg Weatherford. What really touched me was watching him perform at the retirement home for senior citizens.

His costume and sideburns were a sight to behold, but any holes in his routine were filled by his deep, deep passion for all things Elvis. I couldn't help feeling a bit envious for his sharply focused commitment. Who wouldn't want to be Elvis for a day?

6. Tom McGranahan

Dec. 13, 1994

Photographer: Jay Paul

This photo was for a cover story on Tom McGranahan, who had suffered 27 years of epileptic seizures. He had gone in for his second brain surgery in two years in hopes of getting relief. He spent 21 days with 84 electrodes attached to his brain so doctors could monitor him, waiting for a seizure in the epilepsy monitoring unit, watching football and composing poetry. Tom is doing well today and just celebrated his 50th birthday

7. South Side Strangler

Sept. 13, 1988

Photographer: Kent Eanes

The photo to illustrate the South Side Strangler cover story turned out to be a very personal assignment. Everyone was affected by this case, especially as it was ongoing. I heard stories of people coming home and pushing furniture up against their doors or taking baths instead of showers so they could hear any noises in their homes. It was no exception for me, primarily because Style employee Debbie Davis fell victim to the strangler. I considered Debbie to be more than a co-worker. She was a good friend. Only a week before her death, she'd called me in the middle of the night complaining of pains and asked if I could drive her to the hospital.

So when it came time to shoot the cover, I ended up wandering her neighborhood about 3 a.m. I remember how scared I was, jumping at every little noise, and yet I felt compelled to approach this shot this way. I doubt the photo had the same impact on anyone else as it did on me.

8. Muhammed, Hova and Tony Brown

Dec. 26, 2000

Photographer: Scott Elmquist

I was working on a story called "Six Blocks of Broad" when I came across these three guys. This was a particularly gritty slice of Broad Street, and when I approached them, Muhammed, on the left, whipped out a roll of $100 bills and flashed them at me. He said he was a hustler and would hustle anything that would make him money.

9. George Sutton

Taken Feb. 1, 2002

Photographer: Scott Elmquist

I met George Sutton a few years ago on Broad Street. He was one of the kindest people I'd ever encountered. He said he was a street minister who advised people on love, work, marriage and dope. Once in a while you make a connection with a person that stays with you. I guess it was George's sense of style and his magnetic smile that drew me to him.

10. Heather Burkette

Aug. 12, 1997

Photographer: Chad Hunt

This was my first feature story assignment for Style — about 15-year-old drag race car driver Heather Burkette. Writer Greg Weatherford and I spent a few days at the race track with Heather and her family. In the beginning, the angle was simple: Isn't it cool that girls drag race? But after spending time with her family, Greg and I both knew it was going to be more than that. It was a wonderful story about a loving family working together to make the most out of life. This image was made one night after having dinner with Heather and her family. Afterward, they took out all of Heather's trophies to show me. I was moved by how full of pride they were. It was just one example of the great thing about working at Style — getting to know ordinary people with exceptional stories to tell.

11. Organic Eggs

April 14, 2004

Photographer: Scott Elmquist

This image was made for a story about organic farming. I loved the warmth of the brown eggs and the Carhartts. I asked the writer to hold a gold reflector on the subject, and while I worked, the chickens in the background filtered into the shot — just dumb luck.

12. Toy Soldiers

Aug. 31, 2005

Photographer: Stephen Salpukas

This "weekend at war" — for a story about the Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park — taught me a few things about human nature: that kids and adults love guns, uniforms and being told what to do (as long as they're having fun). And while staying up half the night in the open air among 60 people, everybody snores.

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