Events photography

New Photographic Exhibit Honors Boulder Shooting Victims

A solemn group of King Soopers employees (left), some from the Boulder store and others from the same neighborhood brought large wreaths of flowers for each of the victims of a mass shooting at a Boulder Kings Soopers store in March 2021. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

Culture

always stronga collection of portraits by Professor Ross Taylor of the University of Colorado at Boulder, on display at the Boulder Museum, aims to help the local community heal.


On March 22, 2021, a gunman entered the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder and opened fire, killing 10 and injuring one. Immediately after the tragedy, Ross Taylor, a journalism professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, turned to his camera and documented the tragedy in an effort to honor and commemorate the lives lost, as well as the people who have been left behind. take the parts.

Specifically, after the shooting, Taylor says he felt called to capture the events that transpired outside the store in the days and weeks that followed. “I felt the need to be there, but as the week progressed, it wasn’t enough,” he says. “After that first week [following the shooting]I started thinking, is there anything more to do?

Taylor finally decided to create always strong, an exhibition presented at the Boulder Museum from February 18 to April 10. It includes 70 portraits of members of the Boulder community that were taken outside the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in the aftermath of the tragedy. Taylor focused the project primarily on photos of people directly involved in the shooting, such as King Soopers employees, shoppers that day, and local mental health professionals who assisted the victims. The title, always strongis a nod to the hashtag #BoulderStrong, launched by the city shortly after the shooting last year.

“When people experience trauma, they can often feel lonely or disconnected,” says Taylor. “Seeing and hearing from other people who are going through similar things, it kind of validates what they’ve been through.”

Portraits of Ross Taylor
Portraits of Ross Taylor presented in the exhibition. Courtesy of Ross Taylor

Taylor also sees the project as a collaboration between himself and the subjects. He says both parties generally felt a powerful emotional reaction while documenting a fragile time in their community. For example, Taylor took photos of Louis Saxton, a 19-year-old cellist and sophomore at CU Boulder, as the young musician played his cello outside the store for 10 straight days after the tragedy to make tribute to the 10 lives lost. He remembers it as a moment of “unexpected beauty” in the midst of all the grief and mourning.

The exhibit will also feature a feature highlighting photos and videos submitted by other community members, including flowers and stuffed animals left outside a memorial wall, which have popped up around the store in the days following the shooting.

Ultimately, Taylor says the medium of portrait photography helped personalize her efforts. “I think the power of photography gives us a space to reflect on an individual’s experience and through collective work,” says Taylor. “Through the performance, I hope we can care for each other more.”

If you are going to: always strong is on view at the Museum of Boulder at the Tebo Center through April 10; 2205 Broadway, Boulder; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except when closed on Tuesdays; Admission from $8; free for Boulder Museum members.