Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Still: Death on the Rio Grande

Photojournalist Patrick Farrell has joined the blog with his weekly feature, The Sunday Still. Farrell selects one image each week that showcases the best photojournalism by photojournalists from around the world. The feature runs weekly in The Sunday Long Read. The goal of the newsletter, edited by Don Van Natta Jr. and Jacob Feldman, is to put the week’s best journalism in your hands every Sunday morning.

The Sunday Still
from Patrick Farrell

Death on the Rio Grande 

Washed up in the reeds of the Rio Grande, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria shed their anonymity on June 24, when a photo of their final embrace turned a policy debate about immigration into a personal account of one young Salvadoran family’s destruction. It’s the intimate details – the toddler’s arm draped around her father’s shoulders, her diaper swollen with water – that make the horrifying photograph by La Jornada journalist Julia De Lucso powerful. In the past, a defining visual of a policy’s cruel toll on the vulnerable had the power to rally public opinion. Remember Nick Ut’s “Napalm Girl” and its impact on the Vietnam War? “We used to think photos like this could change the world,” Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott wrote in his column. Media outlets slapped a “sensitive content” warning on the image. But the warning should have read, “Are we still sensitive?”


Close Up 

Photojournalists often run toward dangerous news scenes while a crowd runs the other way, but Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox took professional bravery to a new level on June 17, when he photographed a masked gunman outside a federal building in downtown Dallas. Fox’s quick reaction and steady hand provided a rare chance to look into the eyes of an active shooter.  A downtown resident in an apartment above him captured the moment on video, showing Fox hiding behind a pillar just feet from the stalking gunman, 22-year-old Brian Clyde, who was killed after exchanging gunfire with officers.

Patrick Farrell, the curator of The Sunday Still, is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Breaking News Photography for The Miami Herald, where he worked from 1987 to 2019. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media Management at the University of Miami School of Communication.