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Jim Rankin's 2012

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)

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 4.25.40 PM

Yemen changing (video)
Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 4.33.58 PM

Driving in Sanaa (video) 

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 4.34.36 PM

Remembrance Day

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.

Al Prince, 89, was a wireless operator and air gunner on a twin engine Boston bomber in World War II.

Farley Mowat, 91, served as a lieutenant in the Canadian Army during World War II.

Clem Brodeur, 90, served as a lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Mary Prescott, 86, served in the Canadian Women's Army Corp as a singer and dancer.

Sen. Romeo Dallaire, 66, lieutenant-general (retired), headed the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda.

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. 

A foggy morning at Toronto's Sugar Beach.

Same morning. A Toronto Police Services boat glides past the Redpath sugar plant.

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.

Women in Sanaa during Friday prayers.


Happy New Year!


Which picture was your favourite?

Leave a comment below and be entered into the end of year contest, details here.



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Women in Sanaa during Friday prayers is the best of all.

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