Shooting moves Inquirer photographer who captured family’s grief

Every Monday, we present a gallery of recent pictures taken by our staff photojournalists, and tell the story behind one of them. This week staff photographer Elizabeth Robertson, who admits to not caring much for video, was moved to record sound and motion while covering the aftermath of yet another shooting of a young person in Philadelphia.

Neighbors join members of the Faith Assembly of God praying for 10-year-old Semaj O’Branty outside his home in Frankford on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. He was shot in the head earlier in the day while walking home after school.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Neighbors join members of the Faith Assembly of God praying for 10-year-old Semaj O’Branty outside his home in Frankford on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. He was shot in the head earlier in the day while walking home after school.

“There’s always stuff at the end of the scene, at the end of the day when folks leave,” said Inquirer staff photographer Elizabeth Robertson, who, along with staff photographer Tyger Williams, covered on Wednesday the shooting of 10-year-old Semaj O’Branty on his way home from school in Frankford.

Once police opened the scene and most other people had left, Robertson sat in her car to send some photos to her editors. That’s when she heard something going on nearby.

“Here’s this little group of people with lights, singing in front of the boy’s house,” she said.

Robertson was moved by the singing and hurried to document what was happening with still images, video and audio. While she described herself as “an old still photographer that doesn’t really care for video,” this moment felt different to her.

“It’s not always that great a picture and sometimes you might just need to hear it to feel it,” Robertson said.

>>SEE MORE: Last week’s staff photo gallery and the staff photography page

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