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11/08/2009

Grief

Steve Russell, Staff Photographer

There are assignments I love, assignments I do because they have to be done and assignments that I hate. But one of the most difficult types of assignments that we have to deal with at the Star involves grief.

A tragic death, an accident or murder scene and the events that follow, like a family that speaks out or the funeral, are emotionally charged assignments.

That was the case last week after the death of Evan Frustaglio. The death of the 13-year-old hockey player was attributed to the H1N1 virus. 

After a reporter spoke to Evan's father Paul over the phone he agreed to a picture.

I was sent to the family home to photograph Paul holding a picture of his son.

His home was easy to find on the street, the driveway was full with family and friends' cars. A large group of them outside helping out by clearing leaves from the yard. I waited outside for Paul and his family to finish watching the news.

I selected a spot outside to do the picture so I could be ready to take the picture as quickly as possible.

Paul came out with a picture of Evan playing hockey, but what I did not expect was that Paul was accompanied by the rest of the family: his wife Ann-Marie and son Will.

It was hard. All three had swollen eyes from watching the newscast. I showed Paul where I would like him to stand, Ann-Marie and Will joined him. Will began to cry, I put down my camera and told Paul that if this was too hard, Will didn't have to do it.

The family looked at each other and Paul said, "We talked about it. We want to do it for Evan." 

Blog-sr-frustaglio-01

-srussell@thestar.ca

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I have seen this family on the news quite a few times and I knew it was tragic and I really felt for this family and their loss. When I look at this picture it brings out many different emotions that I did not feel when I watched them on television. You can see the pain in their eyes more then ever and you can almost feel how desperately they are holding onto each other because family is needed now more then ever. I have studied photography for years and this photo has captured the emotion and the story that I think every photographer wishes to capture.
This helps put things into perspective for me. Thank you.

Excellent photo, as Samantha said it really captures the emotion and weight of the event. That one frame is much more powerful than anything that was on TV.

Pictures really show how a person is feeling especially when words cannot describe that emotion. Pictures allow people to better emphasize with the individual(s) in the picture. A truly great picture this is - very powerful.

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