I’m Nicole Carroll editor-in-chief of USA TODAY, and this is The Backstory, an insight into our biggest stories this week. If you want to have The Backstory in your inbox every week, Register here.
This stunning Wednesday photo did not appear on the front page of a couple cuddling in George Floyd Square after Derek Chauvin’s judgment.
Photojournalist Harrison Hill It was originally part of the media package piled up in front of Floyd’s mural, near the Cup Foods store in Minneapolis, where Floyd allegedly tried to use a fake $ 20 bill. A writer who called the police began the chain of events that ended with the killing of the black man by a white policeman.
After the verdict was issued on TuesdayPeople in the mural were crying and celebrating. But the scene was crowded, as the paparazzi were competing for the posts.
Harrison was carrying two cameras, one for video and one for still photos.
“I had this big camcorder on a monopod and it was like a bounce on my chest while filming and I didn’t get any good pictures,” Hill said. “So I’m like, well, I gotta try something else. So I’m just walking around and stumbling around at this moment. And when I put the camera in my eyes, I realize that Cup Foods was in the back on the right. Then the mural was on the left. And I said, OK There’s an introduction, there’s a background. We’ve got something. “
“Something” was nobody Select photos of the day, Capturing both the audience’s feelings and the history of the moment.
Hill’s editors were asking all photojournalists to send in two or three pictures at once, so Hill ran to his car to present what he had. Then he went back to work. He did not fully realize what had captured him even his editor Submit a guide on the first page.
He said, “When I saw that, I realized this was much bigger than me. It really caught my head up to the importance of that day and that moment as well.”
“I feel like I’ve been put in this position to capture that moment.”
Nick Hernandez was the man in the picture for Hill.
“He was like all the other people on the field at that moment who were so shocked,” Hill said. “Nobody could explain how they felt at the time, because they were in disbelief. Everyone was very anxious, but after the verdict was passed, and as soon as people realized that he (chauvin) was convicted, then Everyone felt like leaving this tremendous pressure Their bodies.
After that, the scene was filled with love.
Reporter Nadia Yancey Prague She was at the Minneapolis Hotel when she heard the verdict was coming. She grabbed her equipment and ran into the field with Hill.
At first, the media was basically clustered, but then other people started popping up.
Some were on their phones listening to the verdict. Yancey-Bragg approached the Jeep Wrangler with the radio turned on and leaned to listen. She said, “I heard guilty, guilty, guilty. And after that, crowds were cheering, hugging and crying. People were throwing money in the air. It was crazy.”
Yansi-Bragg said that almost anyone she met was not expected to receive a guilty verdict. Nor is it.
“As a woman of color, (I’ve) seen countless high-profile killings by the police that don’t lead to charges, let alone convictions. People of color here have said the same thing, and they really don’t expect convictions. I’m just talking to two people who might have said They thought he would be guilty. So that wasn’t even a possibility. “
The result triggered a rush of emotions.
She said, “I feel like everyone felt that justice was served, but a lot of people who I think were suffering from disbelief, joy and a sense of certainty that our lives matter.”
In the courtroom an opinion columnist Suzette Hackney And photojournalist Jared Henderson Waiting for judgment. “The anxiety that was there was at an all time high,” Henderson said.
Typically, it’s the space outside of the Hennepin County Government Center Filled with constant clicking of cameras during the trial. Now it was silence.
Hackney was in Minneapolis For a month, he reported on the community around George Floyd Square and the justice they were seeking.
“I didn’t realize how much this affected me,” Hackney said. “It was like, the moment is here, the moment of truth is here.”
People poured into the courtroom, as cars crowded the side streets. They wanted to be there for the time being. As in the square, people looked at their phones and listened to radios. He read the first verdict while he is guilty, then the second and third.
Then someone said over the loudspeaker, “Guilty on all three charges.”
“They felt so relieved, and I felt all their pain and everything they’ve been through in the last year,” Hackney said. “It was really strong. Strangers were hugging.”
Hackney editor has been called in for details to add to Hackney reaction column. We were 45 minutes from the print deadline. But they just couldn’t hear each other, so Hackney began writing what she was seeing.
She said, “There is this man standing beside me, alone, crying, a white guy.” “People were patting him on the back, as if they were hugging him.”
Before leaving his hotel, Henderson put extra batteries in his bag, snipped a helmet into his belt and put on layers of clothing in case he was spending a long night. He brought in a single-legged video to use for his camera but also for protection. He had to be ready for anything.
“And when it came to guilt and guilt, the crowd erupted,” he said. He could see relief in the faces around him: “I saw photographers crying. I saw old black men crying. I saw young women crying, as if everyone was emotional. Then the party started.”
Henderson knew he wanted to be a visual journalist when he was 14, when his father told him the story of Emmett Till, who was also 14 when he was killed in Mississippi in 1955. Two white men faced charges but He was acquitted by a jury of whites. The black teen was beaten, shot, tied with barbed wire, and thrown into a river. Till’s mother wanted the world to see what happened to her son, and she insisted that a coffin be opened at the funeral. A picture of her looking at her son’s brutal body It motivated a generation of civil rights activists.
Many have noted the strength of the photos of the Floyd and Till murdersBoth shock the world and inspire societal transformations.
“I still don’t know what all of this means,” Henderson said. “I need some time to think.” He said he was still struggling with what he realized was “compassion fatigue.”
“I feel like I’m overwhelmed with compassion. Like you, literally, he’s not taking on all the emotions, importance and responsibility at the moment. But as photographers, we are trained to do that.”
Henderson knows the work of society and he continues.
“There is still a battle going on for justice,” he said. “There is still an ongoing struggle for understanding and compassion that has to happen and this healing has to happen in our societies. (It will show) the implications for future generations.
“Just like the story of Emmett Till who has stuck with me for 20 years now, this story will stay with people for the rest of their lives.”
Nicole Carroll is the Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY magazine. You can reach her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter here. Thanks for your support to our press. you may Subscribe to our print version, ad-free trial or an e-copy of the newspaper here.