Alfred and I

Alfred, or Al as I call him, is one of our staff photographers at the Chronicle.

We get along great and have become pretty close. We don’t see each other as often since Al mostly works nights, but we make sure to give each other a call if it has been too long.

Al was with me at the vigil for Paige Houston. He was there right alongside me the whole time.

This incident really got to him and I.

The day after the vigil, Al went back to the crash site to get a picture of people mourning at the memorial. I don’t know how long he was there, but I’m sure it was a pretty long time.

He called me afterwards and we talked for about five minutes.

I could hear the sadness in his voice. It was a normal conversation. He told me what he saw, who he talked to and what he got pictures of. It was nothing more than that.

I think he just needed to talk to someone, just like I needed to talk to someone.

Al tends to devote himself to a story. You can see it in his eyes and you can see it in his pictures. I know he was having trouble with this one.

The weird thing that I’ve noticed is that it’s not every incident that gets to someone. It all depends on what the circumstances are and how you take it. Each incident is different and that’s the way it will always be.

Al has taken pictures of hundreds of incidents, including accidents, murders and shootings. He’s done it all and he always come out of them on top. This time was different, I think.

I’m not sure on exactly why this one got to him, but it certainly won’t go away soon.

I like to think that photographers use their cameras as a barrier between them and the story. Looking through the lens helps to distance themselves from what they are seeing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

We are talking about powerful emotions with what happened to Houston. I haven’t gone an hour without thinking about it since last week. It’s stuck with me and it will for a long time.

I don’t even know why, but this incident is really getting to me.

I guess that means I’m human.

Jonathan

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6 Responses to Alfred and I

  1. Michele says:

    This is the first time I’ve read this article. I only did so because a friend told me about it. I avoided the crash site until late in the evening so the media wouldn’t see me. I couldn’t face anyone. I needed to be where our daughter took her last breath. I hope she knows I was there for her. I love you Paigey!
    – Mom

    • Michele,

      From myself, Al and everyone at the Chronicle, you have our deepest sympathies.

      I appreciate your courage. If there is anything myself or the Chronicle can do.. please don’t hesitate to call me at (860) 423-8466 ext 3345.

      Jonathan

      • Michele Houston says:

        Thank you. The love and support we have gotten from friends and the community is amazing! We couldn’t ask for a better place to live. Paige truly is and ALWAYS will be an amazing young woman. It showed by the outpouring of love we have received from everyone.
        Thank you again,
        Michele

      • Michele,

        The presence of the high school community that night was beyond tremendous.

        I sincerely appreciate your kind words.

        Jonathan

  2. Michele Houston says:

    Jonathan,

    Everyone I talk to says that. I have to be honest, the only thing I remember saying was “Call me!”. I meant it. I felt the need to be there that night for Paige, but was a bit intimidated by the news presence. I almost turned around and went back home. I’m glad I didn’t.

    -Michele

    • Michele,

      To be honest, I felt like a scumbag walking around trying to talk to people and students there. That was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.

      You were, in a word, brilliant, that night and I’ll never forget the turnout or the bonding that took place.

      It was more than special.

      Jonathan

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