I follow the writings of historian Heather Cox Richardson who shares current issue essays with facts and historical references. Recently she shared a post reflecting on the death and the life of Tyre Nichols:
“There is a great deal to say here, but everything I write seems to flatten Mr. Nichols’s life into the few minutes of brutal beating that led to his death.
It seems to me that I should stand aside tonight and let Mr. Nichols represent himself. His photography is here.”
On his website, Tyre Nichols described himself as a man who choses to express his humanity in many ways but seemed to find in photography not only a place for enjoyment but also a way to share himself in a way that did not require words. The beauty captured by his lens and his vision is both ordinary and exceptional.
I can only believe that if we could spend more time appreciating our common humanity instead of following our dehumanizing fears, we can find a way to greater peace instead of the dark images and pain that appear daily. Mr. Nichols was beaten by men who saw him as a focus for their anger and cruelty. People don’t do that to people who are valued as human beings, they do it to people who have been reduced to objects.
Tyre Nichols was a man, a father, brother, son. He was a photographer who shared his creativity and his excitement with life with all of us. He deserves to be remembered in that way.
Tyre Nichols loved sunsets, was proud of his photos and designated some of them as “masterpieces”. He found joy in his art and in sharing his world through his lens. He had a right to chose to express himself through pictures, he had a right to be seen as the beautiful human being that he was.
I am reminded of how often I fail to share my own pictures because of all that is involved for me in finding the right words. I am reminded by Tyre Nichols that I can also choose to just share the photos that bring me joy and I can hope that they bring a smile, or peace or a reminder of our shared humanity. Sometimes there just are no words, and sometimes we just don’t need them.
Here are some of my favorites from the last year or so.
“A good photographer must love life more than photography itself.” –Joel Strasser, from T.Nichols Photography website