The Year in Photos 2018

Tufts photographers share their favorite images from the university’s campuses and beyond
women's crew team on the river at sunrise
The Tufts women’s crew team rows during an early morning practice on the Malden and Mystic Rivers on October 10. Photo: Anna Miller
December 13, 2018


Throughout the year, Tufts photographers cover the Medford/Somerville, Boston, Fenway/Mission Hill, and Grafton campuses, documenting the people and places that define the university. From January to December, they photograph students busy with classes, graduating in May, and new ones arriving in fall—and everything in between. They create images of students and faculty at work—and at play.

Staff photographers Alonso Nichols and Anna Miller here give us their favorites from 2018 for Tufts Now readers, taking us behind the scenes of each shot, starting in the beginning of the year.

Winter’s Charm

Every once in a while, fortune favors a photograph. It was just the right kind of snow to coat every branch on the hill. The scene was so stark and white I was hoping for just a bit of color. I looked over my shoulder back towards Barnum Hall and Catherine Deveson, F18, appeared wearing a red jacket and carrying a rainbow-colored umbrella as she marveled at the winter wonderland. Thanks, Catherine! —Alonso Nichols

Coming Together with Hope

A week after the deadly shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, more than 100 Tufts medical students came together in a rally against gun violence organized with their classmate and MSD alumnus, Teron Nezwek, M20. Engagement in civic life cuts across all of our schools and campuses. Amidst the flurry of activity and organizing, it was nice to find a moment of emotion and personal connection just “off-stage” as everyone was gathering for the formal program. —Alonso Nichols

More Than Regalia

I’ve always loved the pomp and circumstance of commencement, and seeing Tufts professors and deans process past Ballou Hall wearing their finest regalia—their academic robes, velvet hats, and tassels. There are so many different colors, fabrics, and styles on display, and I’ve always been curious about the stories behind the fashions. This spring, I created a photo story for Tufts Magazine that featured nine professors telling the stories behind what they wear on graduation day, and their own personal academic journeys. I wanted to use a similar lighting style to Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and create fun fashion shoots where professors’ personalities and stories could shine through. Among them was Freeden Blume Oeur, an assistant professor of sociology who described how much his academic regalia meant to him as a first-generation college student. “My parents purchased my cap and gown for me as a graduation gift,” said Ouer. “It meant a lot.” —Anna Miller

Goat Doctor

Cara Sammons-Shepard, V16, is more than a traveling veterinarian and a dairy goat farmer. She also seems to be a goat whisperer with an innate ability to put her four-legged patients at ease. Last spring, Tufts writer Julie Flaherty and I had the opportunity to meet Sammons-Shepard on her farm in Maine. I wanted to create a portrait of Sammons-Shepard in her element, and we decided to do a quick photo in her barn. As soon as we entered the barn, the herd immediately surrounded her and nuzzled her. She laughed as she acknowledged each one by name, telling us their genetic lineage and personalities. It was clear that this is a veterinarian who loves the animals she serves—and always takes a few extra seconds to provide a gentle scratch behind a floppy ear. —Anna Miller


It was early spring, and I was photographing roster photos for Tufts Athletics. I was partway through the men’s lacrosse team photos, when I noticed that there were two people with the same last name. “Are you guys related?” Indeed they were. And turns out they were not the only ones. There were, in fact, two sets of brothers on the lacrosse team, and a number of siblings pairs across the university who attended Tufts at the same time. It made me wonder: what’s it like going to the same school as your sibling? A few weeks later, I realized that it was National Sibling Day and we had the chance to explore the question. I reached out to sibling pairs, made portraits, and a conducted Q&As about their experience. (See the Tufts Now story.) Yes, there’s a lot of sibling rivalry and irritations here and there, but all in all, everyone agreed that they wouldn’t have it any other way. —Anna Miller

Tooth School Inside

For many children, there is nothing more terrifying than a dental appointment, but I’m convinced that is because they have never been to the pediatric clinic at our dental school. This patient was all smiles. —Alonso Nichols

Pulp Art

This past spring, I had the chance to drop in on the Properties of Pulp class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, where students made their own handmade paper. The students were hard at work dying, pulverizing, and pressing pulp and fibers into their own creations. Many were using unconventional materials, including one student who shredded his childhood baseball cards to create an entirely new type of paper. I enjoyed watching the concentration and craftsmanship that the students brought to their artwork, including Anela Oh, A19. She poured buckets of red, watery pulp into a deckle box, and then drained the liquid to create a thick sheet of paper. I noticed that during the papermaking process, there was a split second when her face was framed by the deckle box. I wanted to create a frame within a frame, and waited for her to repeat the process and reveal her newly made paper. —Anna Miller


As a university photographer, I am always looking for a fresh image of commencement. Alexandra Kirsch, E18, had quite the cheering section. I loved their energy and the childhood photos said it all. This is the day they have been waiting for, and they have been Alexandra’s fans for a lifetime. —Alonso Nichols

Celebrating a Century

Frank Hazel, A41, is one of our oldest living alum, and it was an honor to join him and his family as they celebrated his 100th birthday at his alma mater. Hazel grew up in Medford very close to campus, and his education at Tufts opened up a world of opportunity for him that uplifted the subsequent generations of his family over decades spanning the end of World War II, the struggle for Civil Rights, and on up to the smallest children starting school today. —Alonso Nichols

Layers of Paint

For the first time in decades, the cannon was stripped of all of its almost 1,000 layers of paint – a six-week job that included power saws, electric chisels, and ultimately sandblasting to complete. As I saw the crew pulling thick chunks of paint from the barrel, I imagined all of the messages folks have written over the years, including one for my wife and me by her classmates when we got married at Goddard Chapel in 2011. —Alonso Nichols

As the Crow Flies

I’m always looking for new ways to photograph familiar places on campus, including the Science and Engineering Complex. This year, I wanted to create a fun photo that played with reflections, silhouettes, architecture, and nature all in one. It was around 6:30 p.m. when I set out, one of those picture-perfect August nights when the light is warm and golden and people are outside barbecuing. The sky was filled with bright, billowing summer clouds that were quickly building up on the horizon. I waited outside of the SEC for the cloud reflections to fill my frame, and it was only a matter of waiting for this bird to join the scene.  —Anna Miller

Keeping Their Cool

This year’s move-in day was a hot one. The Boston area was going through a heatwave, and temperatures were nearing 100 degrees when the Class of 2022 began to arrive on campus and move into their residence halls. Parents, students, and families lugged heavy boxes and suitcases from cars, dripping with sweat. Despite the sweltering heat, people’s spirits remained high—especially Abigail Miller and Sara Renkert, two roommates who carried their rug up three flights of stairs to their dorm room, laughing and chatting along the way. —Anna Miller

Illumination Day

The illumination ceremony is a tradition that a lot of students remember long after graduation. It’s a time of hope, reflection and community. One by one, first-year and transfer students light candles until the entire hillside is flickering in candlelight. It’s a beautiful way to start the new academic year. —Anna Miller

Through the Looking Glass

I’ve had this portrait in mind since two years ago when I photographed the installation of this equipment in Professor Tom Vandervelde’s Renewable Energy and Applied Photonics laboratory, with graduate student Margaret Stevens. The portholes, bolts, and shining metal felt like we were joining Jules Verne on his submarine. —Alonso Nichols

Herd of Jumbos

So often my task as a still photographer is to freeze motion and find one sliver of time, a fraction of a second, when all of the elements of the image are in harmony. This image is an attempt to embrace motion in a single image to create the sense that the herd of Jumbos has arrived to take the field for Homecoming. —Alonso Nichols

Home Team Heroes

Jumbo pride was on full display at Bello Field during Homecoming weekend in October. The animated crowd collectively oohed and aahed in unison as the men’s soccer team battled it out on the field against Amherst College. I kept my eye mostly on the bleachers for the second half of the game. The crowd grew and became more excited with each passing minute. The Tufts soccer team rewarded their fans with a second goal in the fifty-ninth minute, clinching the game 2-1. The fans went wild. —Anna Miller

First to Rise

 I arrived at the river before dawn and peered through my windshield. “Am I in the right place?” I wondered. It was hard to tell under the glow of the street lamps if I was anywhere near the boathouse. I was on assignment to photograph the women’s crew team as they practiced for the Head of the Charles, the largest two-day regatta in the world. Most of their practices began before dawn, and the team—mainly made up of engineering students—was already at the boat house warming up. On this particular morning, the coach generously let me tag along on his boat and photograph the team in action as they prepared for race day. We motored beside the athletes as they put it into high gear, pulling away down the river as the coxswain shouted encouragement. —Anna Miller

The Faceoff

During a recent visit to the Human Robot Interaction Laboratory, I became curious about their work on how humans and robots interact and where that will lead us. In this composite image, our robot and doctoral computer science student Tyler Frasca engage in a faceoff. Not to worry—humans are still winning. —Alonso Nichols    

Anna Miller can be reached at and Alonso Nichols can be reached at