The family of Staff Sgt. Matthew H. Stiltz, 26, who was killed last week in Afghanistan, watch as his casket is placed into an awaiting hearse by the Washington Army National Guard Honor Guard, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at XN Air at the Spokane International Airport. Stiltz was about six months into a tour of duty in Afghanistan after serving two tours in Iraq, for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan. He died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with artillery fire in Zerok, a town in eastern Afghanistan about 12 miles from the border with Pakistan.
This was a hard photo to take. Even with the invite of the family, shooting someone else’s grief was hard for me. As the casket made its way to the hearse, I keep trying imagine the pain this family was going through. After years of doing this type of photojournalism, some say you can get jaded. I try not to be. By forcing myself to connect to the pain of my subjects, I feel my photography is more honest. I shot this image not because it is a good photo, but because it was a moment when I connected with what I was feeling. After the Transfer Ceremony, I headed off to shoot four more photo assignments. The thoughts of Army Staff Sgt. Stiltz and his family stayed ever-present in my mind. Colin Mulvany/© The Spokesman-Review