Remembering Maryrosa

This post is long overdue -- these photos have sat in my 'photos to blog' folder for months now. Tonight's mass posting is a good chance to share them.

Maryrosa Russell-Green moved to Iowa City from Chicago to join her sister, partly to escape the violence there. She had returned to Chicago to visit her daughter, grandson and boyfriend, Charles King, when she and King were shot and killed on the South Side. The Chicago Tribune had a story that prepared me for the situation.
Tanesha Por of Chicago shares memories of her mother, Maryrosa Russell-Green, while taking a break from packing up her mother's belongings at her aunt's Iowa City home on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.
Carla Davis looks through a photo album that belonged to her sister, Maryrosa Russell-Green, in Russell-Green's bedroom at Davis' Iowa City home on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

I arrived at the house to find the TV reporter interviewing one of Maryrosa's sisters, and, later, daughter. I took a few photos, but hoped for something more.. real. When Carla ducked behind the cameras to go into her sister's room in search of photos to share with us, I followed. We spent a few minutes in Maryrosa's room, looking at photos as Carla shared memories of her sister.

I sometimes wonder if my empathy gets in the way of pursuing certain photos. Could I have pushed to stay and photograph while they packed up Maryrosa's room? I could have -- but would I have wanted a photographer in my face during a time like that? (No.) There's also a certain awkwardness to piggybacking on a TV interview. They set the time aside for us to interview them, not to observe them, so to ask to photograph them packing could invite an awkward, staged situation.

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