The Digital Journalist

by Roger Richards

The photographer, weary from seeing so much, closes his eyes. The time has come to rest.

Before him were two paths, and he has chosen. A chance to avoid a life of chasing ghosts. Few speak of this out of fear; they just keep going. Their self-deception is no more effective than potions to numb the pain. None but a few can do this work for long, and keep their souls intact. The ones who lose, lose it all.

For soon there is no turning back.

Sabrina and Justin, spring 2004.

Roger Richards
The photographer awakens. A journey begun long ago reaches a place where the laughter of children defines his life.

It has come to this. His large and proud clan, now scattered to the ends of the earth because of violence and folly, its name living in the future only through a small boy and girl.

They are now his life purpose.

His wife, their mother, is too from a family torn apart by war, on another side of the world. Her father, a man of languages and culture, keeps the family alive despite a brutality as the world only stands aside and watches. Four years of cold, fear and deprivation leave a mark, but also make him stronger.

Di and Justin, summer 2004.

Roger Richards
The photographerís reality is now that of daily life, requiring as much resolve as he ever needed before. His cameras, put away for a time, are picked up again. A second look at the world, through different eyes.

He photographs now only for himself. He searches for his truth in the quotidian. Too many illusions and lies before. No more, he vows; that is no longer a luxury he can accept. The days are too short.

The photographer knows itís impossible to return to the other life. For he has been marked; the face of each child in misery has now become as his own flesh and blood.

In Sarajevo, Almira Lugic, 12, her face twisted in pain from a stomach destroyed by mortar fragments. Another child, a 2-year-old girl, her face ripped by pieces of shrapnel as she sleeps in her crib. In Haiti, a baby dumped by the roadside, sightless eyes open, a pink ribbon knotted tightly around its neck. In El Salvador, a boy with his right arm and leg blown off by a land mine, guilty of playing in his fatherís field. In the U.S.A., a young man on his back in a rain puddle, terror on his face, holding tightly to a strangerís hand as blood leaks from his body, shot during a drive-by shooting.

So many unknown names and stories; only a witness to their end. So many other lives he has entered, and then left without return. Easier, in a sense, to assume another skin.

Time now to wear his own.

© Roger Richards