TIME's Top 10 Photos of 2022 includes David Butow's Image of a makeshift memorial in downtown Uvalde
December 22, 2022 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
December 22, 2022
On May 24, 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The next day, as the nation attempted to understand yet another tragedy, photographer David Butow traveled from his home in Los Angeles to document the aftermath. "I spent most of my childhood in Texas," says Butow. "I have affection for the place, but in recent years have watched with dismay how the state government has trumpeted an aggressive pro-gun attitude, and I felt that made this event particularly tragic and ironic."
Residents and media gathered at a local park in close proximity to the school. Butow found himself there along with a group of children and parents visiting the makeshift memorials. "I looked around my camera's viewfinder at all those faces going through various expressions of pain and grief," he says. "It was very, very raw and painful to watch, but it was real and it was happening right in front of me so I stayed in place for a few minutes taking dozens of pictures."
Butow says he has mixed feelings about recording these children's emotions in such a direct way, but he believes it is critical for the public to see the impact of the shooting. "It makes me sad and angry that Uvalde's children suffered because of the selfishness and failures of many adults in this country who should be looking after them."