The Seattle Times

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Seattle Times Pictures of the Year 2009

Jan. 21: I was sent to the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle's Chinatown-International District to document local reaction to the inauguration of Barack Obama as president. A group gathered to watch the historic event projected on a big screen. Scanning the room for a good moment, I saw Charles Hill. I was drawn to him not only because he was one of only a few black attendees there, but also because he was quite expressive leading up to the moment Obama was sworn in. I was wrestling with a desire to look for myself at the history unfolding on the screen. But when the time came for Obama to take the oath, Hill reacted, and I made my picture.

"While working as an administrator at a youth employment agency in 1998, I became fascinated with photojournalism. I was 29 and felt in need of a change in my career. Soon after, I purchased my first camera, a Nikon F2AS with a few lenses, and, with crossed fingers and a strong desire to learn the craft, I began my journey by moonlighting as a photographer for the International Examiner, a small, community-based newspaper. I was so excited to shoot the festivals, groundbreakings and concerts that were assigned to me. I pursued formal training at Western Kentucky University in 1999. Nearly a decade later, my passion for photojournalism is at its highest ever, and my decision to become a photographer is validated in the images I make every single day." — John Lok