The Year in Photos 2016
Throughout the year, Tufts photographers roam the Medford/Somerville, Boston and Grafton campuses, documenting the people and places that define the university. They photograph everything from the arrival of new students every fall to the graduation of the senior classes in the spring. They make images of students and faculty at work—and at play.
Photographers Alonso Nichols and Anna Miller serve up their 2016 favorites for Tufts Now readers and take you behind the scenes of each shot.
Warm Sun, Chilly Day
Two challenges that I face as a longtime staff photographer are finding new ways to see the campus and making winter look inviting. While making photos of the first day of class in January 2016, I noticed the warm sunlight raking across the section of wrought-iron fence below Tisch Library.
Red, White and Blue
The prognosis for this injured eagle was iffy, so it was exciting to get a call saying that it had recovered well and was scheduled for release. Maureen Murray, a clinical assistant professor at Cummings School, wrapped it in the towel to prepare it for the trip to the Wachusett Reservoir in central Massachusetts, where it was released.
Drive to the Basket
The men’s basketball team hosted a round of the NCAA Division III tournament, and with each game, the crowds got thicker. At this game, I realized that never before had I seen Cousens Gym filled almost to the rafters.
Many distinguished guests visit Tufts, but in my experience as photographer, only Anderson Cooper, who spoke at the Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism, stopped to share the limelight with Jumbo.
Behind the Curtain
Freelance photojournalist Matthew Healey has an eye for the unusual, and he always manages to help us see something we might otherwise quickly overlook. During the medical school’s graduation, he took us behind the curtain.
At the end of August, the new orientation program SQUAD—Students’ Quest for Unity in the African Diaspora—took a field trip to the Museum of African American History and the African Meeting House in Boston. It was wonderful to see these young students among images of Frederick Douglass, a former slave who was denied an education and yet learned to read and ultimately became an author and leader for emancipation. I like to think that perhaps the most photographed man of the 19th century would approve.
A Light in the Dark
Students participating in Tufts Wilderness Orientation go from being complete strangers to close friends after a transformative five days of canoeing, hiking and camping. Staff writer Monica Jimenez and I drove four hours up to Maine to photograph and interview the students. The GPS directed us to turn right off of the main road, and we began ascending a bumpy dirt access road. After about 35 minutes of slow progress, the road ended and the sun hung low in the sky. We hiked for an hour, using a printed map and the GPS as guides, scrambling over fallen logs and trying to follow obscure trail makers. We were delicately picking our way across some rocks in a creek, staying on our feet and out of the water below, when we began to hear the unmistakable sounds of college students. They were happy that we made it without getting lost, and invited us to join them for dinner.
Missing You Already
I always love seeing incoming students and their families as they move into their residence halls before matriculation—there is a lot of excitement and heartfelt emotion. I noticed Owen Cheung’s little brother Julian outside of Houston Hall. He was struggling with a suitcase almost bigger than him. He was following Owen closely and pulling mightily to get that bag up the steps. I made some photos of the unpacking, and just as I was about to leave, there was a bit of movement. Julian had run over to his big brother and said, “I'm going to miss you.” I looked up and there he was, giving Owen a big hug. From the look on his face, I knew that Owen would miss him as well.
Around the Bend
Because the big red Locust Barn at Cummings School is such a prominent landmark, I knew nothing else would better show that the riders had arrived at the veterinary school campus in Grafton.
I've photographed my fair share of ribbon cuttings and plaque unveilings. Generally, they are pleasant, but not particularly dramatic. That is why seeing the look on the faces of the Harlestons was so remarkable. Bernie Harleston, the first tenured African-American faculty member at Tufts, former dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and trustee emeritus, helped create the Tufts University that so many of us know and love. It was great to see his response when the university gave a little something back to him and his family.
Saturday Night Lights
It is a rare treat to get great evening light for a football game. Zimman Field is not equipped for night games, and most of our coverage takes place around the middle of the day, usually the worst time of day for photographs. Matthew Healey made great use of the evening light as the Jumbos hosted the game with lights that had been brought in for the season home opener.
My Jumbo Pal
Hundreds of neighbors of the university gathered on the Academic Quad to listen to music, eat and meet faculty, staff and students at the annual Community Day event. Among them was 3-year-old Gabriel Molenaar, who took a moment to give Jumbo a hug. I kneeled down to photograph the child at his eye level, and framed the image to emphasize the sense of scale between the toddler and the enormous, legendary elephant. The child’s expression of wonder and excitement seemed to mirror my own. It was my first day on the job as a staff photographer at Tufts, and I was eager to wholeheartedly embrace all things Jumbo.
Spirits were high at the Methuen Police Academy graduation in October. The past six months at the academy were grueling, and officers could now laugh at the tough times they endured to earn their badges. Among them was Lindo Rodrigues, who joined the Tufts force after graduation. I crawled around the auditorium floor, finding different vantage points from which to photograph Rodrigues during the ceremony. Although he was in a sea of blue uniforms, his warmth and approachable demeanor set him apart.
It had been more than five years since I last made exterior images of the health sciences campus in Boston. I planned two days at two different rooftop vantage points, hoping that I would get clear skies. On the first evening, it was cloudy and rainy, but on this night, the conditions were perfect. As I looked down Kneeland Street, I noticed that the full moon was rising between the State Street building and the One Kneeland Street home of Tufts School of Dental Medicine. It was the cherry on top.
New Best Friend
I love animals. So much so that it has become a running joke that I specialize in therapy dog photo shoots. But the truth is nothing makes me happier than spending time with animals and photographing them. Animals are endlessly fascinating and spark my curiosity in the world. So when the assignment came in to photograph therapy dogs participating in the medical school wellness fair, my colleagues knew that I would be right at home. Turns out I was not alone. The medical school students flocked to Bailey, a golden retriever therapy dog. It was touching to witness the instant connection and how much the students appreciated spending time with their new four-legged friend.
The Ex College and Tisch College’s Election Night Extravaganza was highly charged after this year’s contentious presidential election. The mood of the crowd of students went up and down as the results were called. I was hoping to find something a bit cheeky and playful so as not to over-editorialize the evening. When I went out to the photo booth that was set up, I noticed Haleigh Copley trying on the sunglasses. As she saw me lift my camera, she made a bit of a funny face. I appreciated her sense of humor.
Art of the Matter
The annual arts sale at the SMFA afforded an opportunity to see a dizzying array of art by faculty, student, alumni and affiliated artists.
The Big Stretch
The field hockey team had a terrific season, clinching the NESCAC championship title and second place in the NCAA Division III National Championship match. The athletes were constantly trying to improve each game—running faster, working harder and reaching further for their goals. Nowhere was this more apparent than on the sidelines, where athletes would strive to keep the ball in play as their teammates anxiously cheered them on. With every successive game, I tried to push myself to make better pictures. I wanted to make photographs that would capture the peak action, passion and dogged spirit that made this team go far. I wanted to do them justice. This team just wouldn’t quit. Rain. Driving winds. Snowstorms. It didn’t matter.
The men’s soccer team was a Cinderella story in the 2016 national championship tournament. Unranked going into the NCAAs, they ended up playing the championship game, a tough and physical match that went into double overtime. At this point in my coverage, I had completed much of my mental checklist for photos, but I knew that if the team scored, that would be the most important image. When they set up for the corner kick, I left my usual spot looking upfield to come around so that I could see the kick as well as any player who might assist during the play. I just caught Kulcsar’s game-winning goal, his only score of the year.