I debated writing about this for awhile, but I think I have to in order to give you an accurate apology for my absence (note that this is not a piece of journalism, nor an accurate timeline of events). As you may have heard in the news, Harsha Maddula, a Northwestern student, recently passed away in what remains a tragic mystery. As the new photo editor for The Daily Northwestern, I was on call, if you will, prepared at all hours to rush somewhere for a bit of news. The experience was, to put it simply, overwhelming...
As a photographer, I had never experienced anything comparable to this story. I was unprepared for the collective mourning that followed the announcement of his death, and unsure of how to do my work. Was it acceptable to photograph someone in tears, crying for the friend they would never see again? Was it fair to seek the vulnerable, the students and parents and faculty members with emotion mapped across their faces?
I had to be reminded that our coverage of this story was a testimony to the power of our community, that this story was not Harsha's story, but our story. I hope we honored you, Harsha. I hope that you would be proud of Northwestern for the way we came together for one of our own.
For full coverage of the story, please see The Daily Northwestern. Thanks are given to my friends and assistant editors, Rafi Letzter and Kaitlin Svabek for their help documenting this story.