Last night I spent some time at the memorial for the shooting victims in Aurora, CO. It was in the corner of a vacant lot across from the Century 16 theater. The ground was dry and barren, except for the oasis of flowers, balloons, flags, and candles.
I experienced somewhat of a split personality feeling as part of me was drawn to the photographic oppportunites, and took in the lighting and composition of what was going on. At other times, the camera was shut off and hanging reverently at my side as I observed others and reflected on my own feelings about what had happened.
A tall wooden cross stood prominently on the street corner lit by candles and flashlights at its base. People seemed drawn there and would place their hands on it together while they bowed their heads in silent thought or prayer. Out of the darkness, a voice slowly rose above the cacophony of nearby traffic mixed with the news station generators, repeating short phrases of faith to a simple tune. Soon others joined, and the resulting chorus of strangers singing an impromptu hymn on the corner of a busy city street was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. The voice of the girl in the photo carried slightly above the rest in a hauntingly angelic way, and was a powerful demonstration of singing talent backed by deep emotion.
It was a moving experience, and one that I was glad to share with those strangers brought together by a terrible event.