My First Photo

New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Edward Hallisey escorts Camilla Cruz, center, and her daughter Angela Cruz away from the scene after a fire severely damaged the 2nd floor apartment where the two women lived at 25 Franklin St. in the city Aug. 17, 1993.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the beginning of my employment at The Day, July 9th, 1993.

20-years ago it was a milestone I could never have imagined. I was fresh out of college, looking for an opening into the field of photojournalism and starting a job at a "Digital Imaging Technician" was what I saw as my foot in the door.

Of course working four to midnight on the photo desk was pretty far from my goal, to be a photographer, a visual journalist, producing images for the daily paper, so I had no intention of being particularly patient.

From my cozy apartment on Blinman St. in downtown New London I made a point of listening to my police scanner and biding my time.

Just over a month into my time I heard a call for a fire on Franklin St. in the city. From my apartment I could hear the sirens blare at fire headquarters just around the corner and with a quick check of the map (this was before I'd been here long enough to have most of the town maps for The Day's coverage are all but committed to memory) I could see I was a short distance. I literally ran out my front door and the several blocks to the scene. I manged to get there before one of the staff photographers on duty that day, but I did not get there before the fire was extinguished.

Standing there watching as firefighters began to pick-up their gear and roll the hoses I noticed two women walking down the street, right past the fire trucks and onto the front steps of the house where the fire had been before someone stopped them.

By then I was composing and snapping off photos of the interaction as Battalion Chief Ed Hallisey explained to the women why they could not enter their home and their reaction as he led them away from the house.

A short time later I was in The Day office turning-in my photo for consideration for the next morning's paper.

Of course the publication of the image was not a surprise to me, my job that night was to prepare the images to be output to our presses, including my own.

I still have a faded copy of that paper, my first photo, my first front page, of what has now become a 20-year career at The day.

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