Flashes of 2012

We asked our staff photographers to submit the images from the past year that meant the most to them, and to share their thoughts.
Scroll down to see their picks.

Al Diaz

Al Diaz

A bombardment of 25,000 tomatoes (10,000 pounds) was launched by a mob on Saturday, Feb. 11. Tobacco Road, Miami’s oldest bar, provided the tomatoes for the city’s first Tomato Smash and Bash. Even covered in protective plastic, my camera gear and I ended up coated with tomato paste. I felt a bit tousled, like a bowl of spaghetti.

Veteran Miami Herald staffer Al Diaz, 54, is a member of the Herald news team that won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for the newspaper’s coverage of Hurricane Andrew. Diaz earned his journalism degree from the University of Florida in 1983, and was hired by The Herald upon graduation. He is a first generation Cuban American. Diaz and his wife, Cindy Seip-Diaz; their children, Angelika and Bartek; and several pets make their home in Coral Gables.

Marice Cohn Band

It’s always a challenge for me to shoot sailing because I really know nothing about the sport — only that it’s beautiful, fast, and always surprising. Such was the case with the swift crossing of three sleek sails during this past year’s Rolex competition on the waters of Biscayne Bay, Jan. 27.

Marice Cohn Band has been a photographer at The Miami Herald since 1979. A native of Miami, Cohn Band graduated from Florida International University with a BFA in photography. As well as working full-time at The Herald, she has been a Girl Scout leader for 21 years in Miami Beach, where she lives with her husband, Michael. She is the proud mother of three daughters: Jessie, Samantha and Alexandra.

C.W. Griffin

Sports photography is a challenge that requires skill, reflex, game knowledge and a little luck. When all those things come together, the photographer has a chance to capture an extraordinary moment — like this one, a touchdown celebration involving the Miami Dolphins’ Daniel Thomas (No. 33), Charles Clay (leaping, foreground) and Davone Bess (partially obscured) during a November game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Covering a game is like going fishing: There will be opportunities to catch a big one. Your job is to seize them.

C.W. Griffin, has been a staff photographer at The Herald for the past 29 years. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian and Time, and in multiple volumes of the Day in the Life photo book series. He has taught at the University of Miami for more than 10 years, and also teaches at the Little Haiti Cultural Center with Iris PhotoCollective. While serving in the military, he was the first African American to be named military photographer of the year for all branches of service.

Peter Andrew Bosch

Michael Hadler is called safe at home during a Miracle League game in Pembroke Pines last August. The league is for kids with disabilities. The joy on their faces as they scored was inspirational. So too were the cheers from their parents.

Peter Andrew Bosch, born in Sunderland, England, has been at The Herald since July 4, 1983. He attended the University of Kansas, where he received a degree in design.

Charles Trainor Jr.

My favorite image is from the Miami Heat’s 2012 media day. I had LeBron James squeeze a basketball. Later we Photoshopped the Earth into the picture. On the final squeeze, he roared like a lion, and the room went silent.

Charles Trainor Jr. joined The Miami Herald in 1981, and has shot most of the major news events that have impacted South Florida in recent decades. Highlights include his images of the Cuban rafters’ exit of 1994, the wreckage left by Hurricane Andrew and a project called ‘The Corridor’ that chronicled life in a section of South Florida over 18 years.

Walter Michot

I love photography and I love horticulture, so this was a great assignment for me. Angles, size, relationships and timing are the daily challenges of a photographer. It was June 6, 2012, a Wednesday morning. Approximately 40 really old trees were being dug up and moved from the old Brickell Tennis Club, future site of Brickell CitiCentre, to the under-construction MAM/Museum Park at Bicentennial Park. This image shows a tree-bearing barge moving north through the Florida East Coast Railway Bridge.

Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Walter Michot attended Chaminade High School and went on to major in psychology and management at Loyola University of New Orleans and Florida State. While awaiting a job with the state of Florida, he decided to pursue his hobby of photography as a profession. He has been shooting pictures in South Florida for 39 years, 29 of them for The Herald.

Emily Michot

This photo was shot in March on yet another media tour of the new Miami Marlins Park. This particular tour was for the media to sample and photograph the ballpark food, but when I saw these workers cleaning the windows, it made for a much better picture.

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Emily Michot has been a staff photographer for The Herald for 17 years, and still loves every moment of it. Michot first acquired a passion for photography as a child in her father’s darkroom as he took photos and developed them for the Air Force as a public affairs officer. Michot later studied photography at the University of Florida and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Michot is married to Walter Michot, also a Herald photographer, and they have two sons.

Patrick Farrell

Nearly three years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, Catiana Pierre, 11 ( left), and her brother Dickenson Prudhomme, 6, take cover from the relentless rain of Tropical Storm Isaac last August. Wind and rain from the storm collapsed their family’s tent-home the night before. The children escaped up a nearby hill to watch the rising water of the Riviere Grise, which runs by the Marassa 14 Tent City and serves as a constant reminder of Mother Nature’s threats to recovery efforts.

Patrick Farrell has been a photographer at The Miami Herald since 1987. He was the recipient of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for his images of Haitian storm victims. Farrell graduated from the University of Miami in 1981 with a major in film. He grew up in Miami, the seventh child in a family of 12. He is married to writer Jodi Mailander Farrell, and they have two daughters: Annie, 13, and Lucy, 12.

Marsha Halper

On Aug. 31, The Miami Herald photo staff was issued a challenge: find a page one-worthy image reflecting the start of the Labor Day weekend. Months earlier, at Miami International Airport, I had seen this beautiful, multi-hued wall of windows, part of a sound-and-light installation, and made a mental note to return to photograph it when the time was right. It was worth the wait: My photo of travelers at MIA making a colorful entrance to the holiday weekend ran prominently on our front page the next day.

Marsha Halper has been a Miami Herald staffer since 1985. She was born in Baltimore, and is a graduate of Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. Her work has been featured in Time, Newsweek and Mother Jones magazines, and was selected for the 1985 Hortt exhibition at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, and for a 1988 show at the St. John’s College gallery in Santa Fe, N.M.

Carl Juste

“Death is always harder on the living” — those words have come to mind so many times over the years that it is almost a cliché. On Dec. 14, 2012, the nation endured what seemed to be the breakpoint — the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 children, brought the nation and its newly reelected president to tears and reignited the debate over gun control. For many in South Florida, gun violence has become the norm, with arguments and lovers’ spats resolved with the pull of a trigger. On Nov. 20, less than a month before Sandy Hook, 13-year-old Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus was riding in a school bus with her younger sister and seven other children when another student took a gun out of his book bag and accidentally shot her in the neck. The .40-caliber handgun came from his home. While covering Lourdes’ funeral, seeing her mother Ady Guzman-DeJesus weep inconsolably over the casket, another phrase came to mind — “Lost but not forgotten.”

Born in Port-au-Prince, Carl Philippe Juste came to the United States with his politically active family in 1965. Raised in Brooklyn, he arrived in Miami in 1973, earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami and has worked at The Herald since 1991. Assignments have taken him to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to the nation of his birth. Juste is co-founder of Iris PhotoCollective, a collaboration to create a new context for exploring and documenting the relationship of people of color to the broader world.