The Decade in Photos

For the past 10 years of my life I’ve been fortunate to work behind a camera. I never planned on being a photojournalist, but life has a way of leading us towards things we could never expect. When I picked up a camera for the first time around 1999, I could never have dreamt of the opportunities it would present to me, or the people that it would introduce me to.

Looking back now on all the assignments and images, I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I’ve learned a lot in the past decade, and I’ve come to the realization that what we do as photojournalists isn’t measured in our awards or accolades, but rather in the distinct honor of being invited in to our subjects lives and being witnesses to the world we live in. While I am honored with each award I win, I keep most of them in a dusty box in the bottom of my closet, and only display a few special ones in my office.

When I think back on my proudest moments in my career, I think of the subjects that have passed before my lens who’s lives I am sure I have not changed, but who have changed my life. I think of Ekta, a young girl living on the streets of India, who inspired me to adopt my son from Guatemala. There are few days that pass that I don’t think of her. I think of George, a religious pilgrim who has abandoned any earthly possessions and puts his faith in God to provide for him as he walks hundreds of miles each year on his pilgrimages. I think of Jim Sarkett, now in his 60’s sitting in his modest home in rural Pennsylvania, some fifty years after he was diagnosed with polio and his blood was used by Jonas Salk to create the polio vaccine. I think of a young Pakistani girl, who lives in a small tent, collecting water from a broken pipe in a Christian colony without any electricity or running water. I think of Sgt. Ryan Baumann who was 24 when he was killed in action in Afghanistan, just months before marrying his high-school sweetheart. There are too many individuals to mention each one, but each has a special place in my heart and memory.

These past 10 years have taken me across the world to places I never imagined ever seeing and introduced me to people from world leaders to the unimaginably impoverished. I’ve witnessed sorrow, despair, anger, frustration, fear, loneliness, hunger, sickness, disease, and death, but I’ve also witnessed joy, laughter, pride, charity, and hope. While I’ve made thousands of images I doubt that the world is any better because of any of them, but I know that I am better for each image I make and for each story that I witness. I can only hope that in this next decade I am fortunate enough to continue to do this job that I love so much, to continue to be an invited guest in others’ lives, to continue to be a witness to this world we live in, and to continue to call myself a photojournalist.

This slideshow is a collection of some of my favorite images and stories from the last ten years.

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Vendors


Poon Kruenaki serves up some food to Carnegie Mellon University professor Azizan Aziz, 43, along Frew Street in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon, December 23, 2009 out of the "Little Bangkok" vendor stand.

Snow



TOP: Earl Jordan, 10, of Wilkinsburg takes advantage of the snowfall with his friends to make some money shoveling snow in Wilkinsburg on Saturday, December 19, 2009. BOTTOM: A man walks along a snow covered Rebecca Avenue in Wilkinsburg.

Lucy



Lucy modeling some sparkle fashion.

Making Snow


Mike Pantone, an employee with Allegheny County, de-ices a snow-making machine on the slopes of Boyce Park's ski slopes in Plum on Thursday morning, December 17, 2009. The park hopes to open for skiing during the week of Christmas weather permitting.

Chairman


Romel Nicholas is the incoming chairman of the National Flag Foundation based in Pittsburgh.

Candlelight Vigil





Members of the Clairton community pause to remember three young lives lost in a fire last October. Sisters Rachel Finn, 9, and Deausha Faulk, 6, died, along with their 2-year-old cousin, Michael Zigler after the home they were sleeping in on October 23rd caught fire late in the night. The Community Empowerment Association and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Clairton set up the vigil to remember the young lives lost in the fire as well as those who have lost their life through violence.

Final Salute












Funeral and burial services were held today for fallen Penn Hills police officer Michael Crawshaw at St. Boniface Church of Holy Wisdom Parish on the North Side and North Side Catholic Cemetery on Friday afternoon, December 11, 2009. Officer Crawshaw was fatally shot Sunday night in his patrol car while responding to a call for gunfire at a home on Johnston Road in Penn Hills.

Viewing



TOP: Mourners console each other in front of the Schellhaas Funeral Home in West View on Wednesday evening at the viewing of Penn Hills Police Officer Michael Crawshaw who was fatally shot Sunday night in his patrol car while responding to a call for gunfire at a home on Johnston Road in Penn Hills. BOTTOM: A mourner pays a quiet thanks to a Penn Hills Police Officer as he walks by him on his way into funeral home.

Mourner


A passerby stops to pay respect at a wreath that marks the spot where Officer Michael Crawshaw was fatally shot Sunday night in his patrol car while responding to a call for gunfire in a home on Johnston Road in Penn Hills.

Crime Scene



District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., right, visits the scene where Officer Michael Crawshaw was fatally shot Sunday night in his patrol car while responding to a call for gunfire at the home on Johnston Road in Penn Hills. The District Attorney's Office visited the site on Wednesday morning to review evidence in the homicide case against Ronald Robinson, 32, who is accused of gunning down Crawshaw after fatally shooting another man inside the house. Zappala spoke with members of the media about the tragic event after his visit to the site.

Final Roll Call




TOP: Penn Hills Police Officer Andrew Kolek is overcome with emotion as the final roll call for Penn Hills Police Officer Michael Crawshaw is called over the radio on Tuesday evening, December 8, 2009. Officer Crawshaw was fatally shot Sunday night in his patrol car while responding to a call for gunfire in a home on Johnston Road in Penn Hills.
MIDDLE: Members of the Penn Hills Police Department and many other police departments line up in front of the Penn Hills Municipal Building. BOTTOM: Penn Hills Police Officer Matthew Junod is overcome with emotion as the final roll call for Officer Crawshaw is called over the radio.

Refuge


A white-tail buck finds cover in a small patch of woods in Oakmont as deer hunting season continues in Pennsylvania through this Saturday.

Hulton Bridge


Some undergrad students from Carnegie Mellon, led by an adjunct/engineer/historic bridge enthusiast, are presenting a study to PennDOT today on the feasibility of reusing the historic Hulton Bridge in Oakmont as a trail bridge, rather than replacing it as PennDot has planned.

Reiki


Marti Brennan, a reiker who soothes patients and staff with reiki, a holistic, natural healing technique that touches on all levels of the body, mind and spirit, works with Clinical Education Specialist Judy Sullivan at Allegheny General Hospital on Tuesday morning, December 8, 2009.

Sunset Jog


A jogger runs through Highland Park on Friday evening, December 4, 2009 as the sun sets.

Elliott BROOD











Here are a few photos from Elliott BROOD's show this past Saturday at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville. I'll be featuring the band in another one of my installments of "On Stage With." I'll be sure to post the link once it's completed. If you want to find out more about Elliott BROOD check out their website at http://www.elliottbrood.ca/.

Ari Hest









Here are a few photos of Ari Hest from his concert this past Saturday at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville. I'll be featuring Ari in an upcoming installment of "On Stage With." I'll be sure to post the link once it's posted. If you want to find out more about Ari check out his website http://www.arihest.com.

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About Me

My Photo
Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Justin Merriman, an award-winning photojournalist with the Tribune-Review, has spent more than a decade traveling the world to cover politics, wars, natural disasters and civil unrest. His work has appeared in leading national and international publications and he has received numerous top journalism awards. After covering the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – including the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville – Merriman committed to chronicling the U.S. military and its War on Terror. He has followed this story across the US and into the war zones of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also has covered life in Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 2002, India’s efforts to eradicate polio, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba in 2012, the 2013 conclave and election of Pope Francis in Rome, the second anniversary of Egypt's revolution and subsequent unrest, and most recently, Russia's invasion of Crimea and the international crisis that unfolded in Ukraine. Merriman lives in Oakmont with his fiancĂ©, Stephanie Strasburg.

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