Yearly Review

DeportationImmigrant-s©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

One of the benefits of going through the gauntlet of contest deadlines in January is the self-review of one’s past year as a photographer.   You look back and get a chance to see what went well, what didn’t, and where you could have done better.  The photo above was a favorite from last year, that was largely unseen since it appeared in an online slideshow for a couple seconds. It was taken from within a bus in which a couple dozen Mexican nationals were being deported for illegal immigration. The light coming from the window was the sunrise, giving them a last look of Chicago before they were flown to the border. Everyone’s story was different. Some were painfully uprooted.  Others were happy to get a free trip home, determined to return. But the picture was a quiet moment – whether for contemplation, or calculation…

Deported in Pink

Illegal Immigrant Deportation

©2009 Chicago Tribune

Photographer note: I’m in the middle of a follow-up on a story about the deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States.  The above photo was from a recent trip in which a Tribune reporter and myself were given rare access to the Immigration Customs Enforcement flights that transport illegal immigrants back to their home countries. You can see the story here.  As you can see,  detainees don’t get a change of clothing. So this woman unfortunately had to wear pumps all the way back to the Mexican border, and beyond. This was one of those situations where you take a small detail and blow out its emphasis to provide more insight into a situation…I’ll publish the update when the Tribune publishes….