Jim Rankin, Reporter-Photographer - @jleerankin
As a photojournalist, this is one of my favourite times of the year. It's when I get a chance to slow down just long enough to look back and marvel at the great photography and multimedia my peers here at the Star and elsewhere have produced over the past 12 months. It's also a chance to reflect and be thankful for another year in a job that I continue to love.
Here are some highlights from my 2012.
As a reporter-photographer, it's not often that I get to concentrate solely on visuals. It's also not often that I get to work with my better half, Michelle Shephard, the Star's national security reporter. The last time the two of us worked together on the road was during the big ice storm in 1998. Michelle pitched a trip to Yemen, where she has reported from in the past. This time, she had a group of young skateboarders in mind. The Arabian Skaters are something of an oddity in old Sanaa, Yemen's capital city. Locals believe the boards stick to feet through some sort of magic. The boys and their stories served as a perfect means to revisit the state of the country, post-revolution, and take a look into the future.
We had six days on the ground to produce a number of other stories and a multimedia package.
Skaters of Sanaa (video)
Driving in Sanaa (video)
My colleague Paul Hunter, a great hockey writer who now works on the features team, and I teamed up to pull together a collection of war stories from vets and others who have worked in conflict zones. The result was a 20,000-word e-read, which is available for free at www.stardispatches.com (scroll down to "Free trial offer").
I decided black and white worked best for the portraits that accompanied the stories. I shot all of them using a backdrop that I hand made back in my days at Ryerson University, where I studied still photography for a couple years. Here are a few from the series.
This and that
Being on the feature writing team means I'm not shooting as often as our straight photo/video shooters. Some days, just for a break, I take a walk with the cameras and go feature hunting.
Doing both photography and writing has its problems. Sometimes, you don't do either any justice. One of the benefits, however, is that your photographer and writer are always on the same page.
Ella Hung for a Canada Day feature on ethnic enclaves and integration.
Audette Shephard lost her son Justin to gun violence.
All that remains of the Kodak plant in Toronto's Weston neighbourhood. This was for a series on police documenting of citizens in non-criminal encounters.
I'll close out with a few of my favourite images form this past year. They come from that trip to Yemen.
I was out in Sanaa with the skateboarders on one of the only mornings that the sun managed to appear. Seriously, we're talking biblical rains. Every day. Along came these kids, splashing through runoff.
Happy New Year!
Which picture was your favourite?
Leave a comment below and be entered into the end of year contest, details here.
Rene Johnston - Staff Photographer - @ReneJohnston1
Montage of Chris Mazza as he testifies at Queens Park. The long-waited, and much-delayed, testimony before a legislative committee, Mazza said Wednesday he "always acted with the best interests of Ontario residents in mind."
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Carlos Osorio - Staff Photographer - @CarlosOsorio
Here are some of the photographs and stories that stuck with me in 2012.
Andrew Francis Wallace - Staff Photographer - @awallacethestar
A high performance Audi R8, priced $134,000, caught on fire on the Toronto Gardiner Expressway in the early evening, June 25, 2012. No one was injured, and the roadway opened shortly after firefighters extinguished the blaze.
David Cooper - Chief Photographer - @whatzname07
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer - @RussellPhotos
These are my favourite pictures and links to some of my favourite assignments.
Ten metre platform diver Meaghan Benfeito trains at Montreal 1976 Olympic Pool, April 2, 2012. Benfeito and diving partner Rosaline Filion won bronze in 10 metre platform synchronized diving in London.
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Rick Madonik - Staff Photographer - @Rmadonik
Its that time of year again, when we each search out the pictures of the last year and revisit what we liked best, or had the most impact, from stories we've been involved with throughout the year.
Please remember to vote for your favorite picture in order to qualify for a prize offer.
NIAGRA FALLS, ONTARIO - Nik Wallenda, of the famous Willenda family, attempts to cross Niagra Falls on a tight rope (cable) from Goat Island, New York, to Niagra Falls, Ontario as seen from atop the Skylon Tower, on June 15, 2012.
TORONTO, ONTARIO - Four of the famed Canadian Snowbirds pass each other in opposing directions, two headed east, two headed west. The 63rd annual Canadian International Air Show, a featured act of the annual CNE, took off Saturday, September 1, 2012 with three solid hours of air demonstrations. The show featured the Royal Canadian Air Forces Snowbird demonstration team.
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Tara Walton - Staff Photographer - @Taralynwalton
Stella enjoys a warm May afternoon laying on the front lawn of their east end Toronto home, with both her Mommies and her brother Sam, May 30, 2012. At two years old Stella was diagnosed with a inoperable brain tumour, doctors had given her three months to live. More on Stella here.