Last week the New York Times sent me to Sanford to make a couple of portraits to accompany an article about their new police chief, Cecil Smith: Police Chief in Florida Tries to Ease Old Tensions. I hadn't been down there since last Spring, when there were huge protests calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman.
Back then, I saw a lot of t-shirts and signs that said, "We are all Trayvon". For people in Sanford, that's not just a slogan. His story struck a cord with a lot of people on a very personal level. The woman in the second picture told me her teenage son stays with his dad sometimes, who lives in the same condo complex where Trayvon Martin was killed. She said it could have just as easily been her son walking home from the gas station. The man wearing the red shirt told me he has a 16-year-old nephew named Trayvon. When he first heard the story on the news, he thought it was his nephew who had been killed.
These pictures (except for the 2nd- and 3rd-to-last) were taken in Goldsboro, a historic black neighborhood in Sanford. I tried to capture the mood of the place, where I didn't pass a single television set tuned to anything other than jury selection for Zimmerman's trial. Sanford is a weird little town. The closest words I can think of to describe the mood are hot, impatient, and cautiously optimistic. Hopefully I do a better job with pictures: