Monday, August 28, 2017

George Wilson discusses his Photojournalism following the Pulse shooting.


Orlando is George Wilson's adopted home town. His wife works for Disney. It was in the 1980’s that George began to shoot news work.

On June 12, 2016 when he heard about the Pulse Nightclub shooting his first impulse was to go straight to the nightclub. The closest he could get was to park at Orange Avenue and Michigan Street. All of the press were gathered a Chipolte. His first photo was of an Orlando Strong sign being put up on the MacDonald's sign on Orange Avenue. He overheard a first responder talking about all the unanswered cell phones ringing incessantly inside the club, never to be answered. The camera became a barrier between the photographer and the event or the emotion of the event. Only later when he was alone and editing all the photos would the emotions well up.

One of his photos was of three girls, Jordan Tarquino, Lola Selsky, and Megan Boetto who often went to Pulse nightclub. When they saw each other outside the crime scene they all hugged, thankful to find that they all were alive. The Dr. Phillips memorial was his most emotional story. Strangers hugged each other and cried together.

Georges photos were picked up by Deutsche Presse Agentur, the German Press Agency, and distributed around the world as far away as Bangladesh. The power of the Internet and the photograph puts news and events in front of everyone around the globe. The Internet offers news in short snippets which doesn't allow us  to become attached to anything.

George never felt unsafe while shooting his photos. The LGBT Community Center had a sign on the door on the first day that said, "We will search bags." Fear had replaced the security the Center had once been able to offer. George applied for a Pulitzer prize for his photojournalist work following Pulse. Although he didn't win the award, he was glad he got to share his story for consideration.

He donated a collection of photos, cover sheets from publications from around the world in various languages and copies of his Pulitzer application. The newspaper cover sheets were utilized in the Orlando Regional History Center's One Year After Exhibition to let people see just some of the international outpouring of love that followed the shooting. Orlando now has the misfortune of being a location the largest mass shooting in American history. Georges photos help the world to understand our pain, our suffering, and our resolve to try and make it stop here.


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