This is the latest in our One Photo series, where PhotoShelter photographers share their most meaningful photo and the story behind it. Also watch our One Photo video here, where 5 photographers tell us what their image means to them.
Terrence Webster was shot and killed. He was only two.
It happened in Chester, Pennsylvania in 2010. Terrence was heading home with his parents when a gunman opened fire. The family escaped quickly inside, but it wasn’t over.
The gunman fired two more shots, ripping through their front door. One struck young Terrence in the head. He passed away 24 hours later.
Chester is a city of only 34,000 people, yet it has one of the highest crime rates in America. Photographer Kriston Jae Bethel knows this all too well.
A few years ago, Kriston worked as an intern at the Philadelphia Daily News. Shortly after Terrence’s murder, he’d been called out to Chester to report on the tragedy. The experience would ultimately produce this photo, an image he still carries close to his heart.
That day, Kriston had arrived at the grandparents’ house where Terrence’s parents were staying. He remembers speaking with the grandmother outside. “She held up a photo of Terrence and tearfully told me what a great child he was and the sorrow they felt,” Kriston said.
He quickly took her photo. The image itself didn’t particularly stand out to him, but he had accomplished what he was sent to do. It ran in the paper the next day.
Later that week, Chester was on lockdown and a curfew was mandated. Terrence’s murder followed a string of murders, and the city was no longer safe to roam at night.
With a new assignment in front of him, Kriston made his way back to Chester to report on the new mandate. He stopped by Terrence’s home and saw how the city had been grieving. Gifts, toys, and candles lay outside the door.
It was at that moment that Kriston noticed a flyer. It offered a reward for Terrence’s killer and on it was a scanned photo from the newspaper. Kriston’s photo. “That stuck with me,” he said.
“While this had just been a quick and simple photo, to this grieving family it meant something much more. Through all the sorrow, the image carried great importance. It has use.”
“Still today, this photo reminds me about the impact photography can have on the individuals I capture,” said Kriston. Regardless of how we feel about an image or an issue we cover, we have the power to affect those whose stories we tell. It is a privilege and a responsibility for photographers to share these stories.”
Years later, now working as an editorial and commercial photographer based in Philadelphia, Kriston still thinks about this image.
“Looking at this photo, I regret that I’m not able to directly impact and help more people who experience such trauma,” he said. “But it’s my hope that through my work, I can at least draw attention to important issues happening in communities all around us.”
What’s your one photo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your image and a few sentences telling us what it means to you.* We’ll pick our favorites to share.
*We strongly support your rights as a photographer. We will not use your images without your permission, and we claim no commercial rights to them.