Photo showcase: 2011 OWH Year in Pictures — Matt Miller
I started at The World-Herald in 2002. Since that time, I’ve had the luxury of meeting many very unique people and have covered most of the big events in the state, though the Aksarben Ball hasn’t been checked off that list yet. The downside of this has been redundancy. It’s hard to feel like I’m pushing any creative boundaries and also doing a good job of covering the event. As I went through thousands of images to narrow down my favorites, I did notice a pattern. From these events, such as state swimming and wrestling, Husker football games and soldier homecomings, some unique faces popped up to make unusual photos.
The other side of the perspective is from a week I spent in Haiti covering Habitat for Humanity volunteers building homes. The week was unlike any other assignment I have had at the paper.
Because photographers don’t really have “beats,” the time from August to July is full of many night and weekend shifts. Sporting events rarely happen between 9 and 5 on the weekdays, and spot news can happen at any time, although it usually feels like it happens right at the end of a shift or in the middle of the night. Usually, the summer is spent taking vacations and getting caught up with our lives. This summer was far different. Most days of the week were filled with long shifts in the heat and water. Luckily, for most of us, our homes were unaffected by the summer storms and flooding. We could go home after our coverage or shift was over, unlike many of the people we photographed.
And finally, the last couple pictures just illustrate how different the same event can look.
Postscript: I put this post together before the end of the year so it would be ready to go at the start of 2012. But I took some photos at the end of the year that I wanted to share. I spent Christmas Eve/Christmas Day at the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. For many, Christmas is spent with family and friends, but not everyone is so lucky.
Early on Christmas morning, one family decided their son had endured enough. They took him off life support and he died at 2:21 a.m. He had been in the PICU for nine months, nearly his entire life. After he died, a few nurses gently bathed him and wrapped him up. Someone was always in his room until they took his body to the morgue.
Although it was a terribly sad morning, I was left with a great deal of respect for all of the people who work in the unit, but especially for charge nurse Tiffany Simon. I appreciated her dry sense of humor. She has a no-nonsense approach most of the time, but the tenderness she showed for the children and families, especially when events became the most raw and challenging, was impressive. I don’t know how she has worked in the unit for more than nine years (the average tenure is two), but every family who goes through the PICU is slightly better off because Tiffany, and people like her, work there.