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2015 Richmond Photos of the Year

The most memorable faces and captivating Richmond moments.

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Prabir Mehta, one of Style’s 2015 Top 40 Under 40: Published Oct. 20. When Prabir Mehta and his family moved to Richmond from Gujarat, India, in 1988, they came with nothing. He watched while his parents worked different jobs, doing whatever it took to support him and his brother. “They’re my absolute heroes,” he says. “They planted that seed and showed me that the individual can make a difference.”

Photographer’s Note: Prabir’s an interesting guy. He’s a bit of a renaissance man who is low-key and philosophical. We were walking around the block together when I noticed this turquoise wall. I thought it provided a perfect backdrop, quirky and off-beat and not the typical brick wall that thousands of musicians have posed next to.

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Richmond Gospel Queen Maggie Ingram: Published June 25. Although she was 85 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Maggie Ingram still seemed to have plenty of joy in her heart. And amazingly, she still recalled every word of the music that sustained her throughout her incredible life of service to her fellow human beings. This photo was used in her remembrance in Style, after she died at home June 23, surrounded by family and friends.

Photographer’s Note: I’d never met Maggie before this rehearsal, which was for a free concert at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with her family in celebration of Black History Month. When I approached her and knelt down next to her wheelchair, she reached out, grabbed my hand and said I love you. I told her I loved her too. She continued to hold my hand for several minutes as she sang.

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The UCI Road World Championships: Published Sept. 22. Outside Jahmal’s Hair Salon on North First Street in Jackson Ward, Derrick Freeman watches a member of the Kazakhstan cycling team cruise by.

Photographer’s Note: I knew that some readers were looking to Style for action photos during the UCI bike races, so I roamed the back streets of Jackson Ward to hopefully catch an interaction between locals and the international community. This image sums up the reality for some merchants. Life didn’t change much during the bike race. Business as usual.

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The Global Market: Published May 5. Along a strip-malled stretch of West Broad Street stands a microcosm of the South’s diversity explosion. Kriss Xanthosoma Fat of the Tindahan Filipino Market assists the Painter family of Richmond. The Tuckernuck Square market on West Broad Street reflects some of the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the metro area. Tindahan sits next to a Chinese takeout place next to a European deli in a strip mall with Indian, Greek and Japanese food.

Photographer’s Note: I lucked out with the Painter family. They were kind enough to let me photograph them on a moment’s notice. The older daughter was shy but the younger one raced through the store and into the frame!

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Lonesome Highway: Published March 31. While plans abound for most of Richmond’s struggling areas, the five-mile stretch that is Jefferson Davis can’t seem to attract a savior. George Rosenson has run his video store for 30 years, watching the neighborhood change. As video rentals fall off, which he acknowledges is a separate issue, he survives by offering a large selection of adult titles.

Photographer’s Note: George’s skin looked porcelain to me, like he’d spent 30 years inside the video store. He was resigned to the demise of the video business but peppered his conversation with humor. I liked the line of videos he rested his arms on, as to say, this is my life, right here.

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Lonesome Highway: Published March 31. Joyce Elkins, Connie Butler and Ada Southall sit on the porch of their trailer with Alliyah Southall and Alberto Rivera. They live together in the trailer park behind Luis Pardo’s tire shop.

Photographer’s Note: I was on a ride along with Councilwoman Reva Trammell when she pulled into the trailer park along Jeff Davis Highway. This family greeted Trammell like a long lost friend and pointedly told the reporter and me to tell everyone she was the best thing to ever happen to the district. The way the women clutch the children reveals a touching display of love.

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Lonesome Highway: Published March 31. Charles Collins paints the exterior of Williams Plaza at 812 Jefferson Davis Highway.

Photographer’s Note: I was cruising Jeff Davis Highway on a Sunday morning, working on a longer term assignment, when I noticed Charles painting. His brother gave me permission to photograph and got Charles in deep silhouette. The bright colors popped on the sunny morning and Charles seemed like an almost surreal element in the scene.

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To Jail and Back: Published Jan. 20. Delegate Joe Morrissey fights his way back to the General Assembly. But things aren’t as he left them. He returns to the House of Delegates the day after winning re-election while serving a jail sentence on conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Having lost his seniority, he sits in a section for such newcomers as his seatmate,
Joe Preston, D-Petersburg.

Photographer’s Note: Joe rarely seems ill at ease but this day he looked uncomfortable. Everyone around him seemed to relish their return to the General Assembly but there were few speaking to Joe.

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Dominion Riverrock: Published May 20. America shakes off after a big jump in the Ultimate Air Dog competition.

Photographer’s Note: This is low-hanging photographer fruit but super fun to shoot. A high shutter speed and a zoom lens is all you need.

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Bowman’s Return: Published Aug. 4. Bill Bowman, the host of Richmond’s “Shock Theater,” returns for more ghoulish laughs.

Photographer’s Note: Bill Bowman, 80, is a busy guy, so we had to meet at the Starbucks in Chester. He waltzed in, ordered a latte and said what do you want, as he propped hands on his chin. I said that’s it. He grabbed his coffee and out the door he went. S

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