Ryan Pfluger was commissioned by the photo team at The New York Times Magazine to shoot portraits for their story “Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Social Justice?” The article covers the unique and controversial judicial process of the case of Conor McBride, a young twenty-two year old who shot and killed his fiancée, Ann Margaret Grosmaire, in March 2010.
This story is quite unusual because while Conor was originally charged with first degree murder, the families (particularly Ann’s family) have chosen to use an alternative judicial approach, known as restorative justice. The term refers to a concept in which the act of injustice is acknowledged and considered, and the focus is placed on making amends between all those involved, and coming to a universal agreement. Paul Tullis writes in the article, “Typically, a facilitator meets separately with the accused and the victim, and if both are willing to meet face to face without animosity and the offender is deemed willing and able to complete restitution, then the case shifts out of the adversarial legal system and into a parallel restorative-justice process.”
For the portrait shoot, Ryan flew to Florida to photograph Conor (who is currently in prison) and the families of Conor and Ann. Ryan had the opportunity to take photographs both at the prison and at the home of the Grosmaires. One of the shots that didn’t end up running was a cast made of Ann’s hand from when she was in the hospital before she died. While this was one of Ryan’s more unusual and emotion-filled stories, it’s projects like these that really grasp elements of humanity. The depth of emotion Ryan captured in these portraits are most particularly moving. Be sure to read the article here, and find out more about the story from the NYTM staff on their blog, The 6th Floor. To view more recent work from Ryan, visit the Glasshouse Assignment website.
The New York Times Magazine, January 2013
Photographer: Ryan Pfluger
Design Director: Arem Duplessis
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editor: Clinton Cargill, Amy Kellner, Luise Stauss
Art Director: Gail Bichler
Deputy Art Director: Caleb Bennett
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Photo Agent, Glasshouse Assignment