UWALDE, TX – Nancy Sutton spreads out Photo of the girl she knew so well: Ellie Garcia in first grade. Ellie in her basketball uniform. Ellie, smiling, white bow in her hair.
Sutton, a professional school portrait photographer, took photos of every child killed at robb elementary school on tuesday, together with two teachers. AT fact she took pictures of almost every student who attended classes at the Uvalde Unified Independent School District. for in past 20 years.
From Tuesday photos of the Suttons of in dead were published on front pages of newspapers and on TV, and rockets around world via social media, providing a lens for the worst mass shootings in the country and the means by which world could put faces to names of in dead.
“Look at them just children, she says of in photos in front of her. “Just babies. So young”.
Click after click after click, Sutton, 59, and her husband and their Nikon cameras captured smiles, awkwardness, growth from child to adolescent to adult. They have fixed hair and straightened ties and offered reassurances year after year class by class.
“You look so pretty,” the Suttons said. generations of Children. “You are so beautiful, I like your shirt.”
Nancy Sutton still remembers the school photo day when she was student in Uvalde, some 50 years ago nervousness of choosing an outfit, trying to decide whether to wear her hair up or back brushes his teeth one more time to shine extra bright.
The Suttons themselves now have such influence on the children they photographed, who recognize them in HEB grocery store store or walmart who run up shamelessly say: “You took my photo – do you remember me?
Nancy Sutton always tells them yes.
“They remember you and we always say yes, we remember them,” she said. says with thoughtful smile. “Every child should be remembered. Even if I don’t actually do it.”
Tradition of school pictures are so powerful in Uvalde that children Suttons photographed decades ago are now coming in to buy photos of own children or grandchildren. there is just something about the printed photo people can appreciate says Art Sutton, 64 They are hung up. on walls, proudly display them in frames. And now they will be shown at 21 funerals and memorial services.
On Thursday, the Suttons’ photo printers hummed and printed. out paintings, most of their clusters of portraits and class photos. Between visits from grief family members to their small store While 2 miles from Robb Elementary School, the couple argued if a certain photo looked too red to send. home with tearful mother and they made a new they liked the copy better.
The school district asked them not to let the class out photos yet, but some parents allowed media to show Pictures of them children.
“Looking at the faces of these children coming out of printer – they’re gone forever.” – Art Sutton says how tears flow. “We are trying to make those memories that you can keep forever, and we are trying to make the most of them. good how can we make them.
Nancy Sutton attended the Uwalde schools, as did the Sutton children. Next year their grandchildren set to start at Robb Elementary School. Teachers and administrators, janitors and support staff came and went. But still the Suttons remain keeping the tradition in era of camera phones and TikTok videos when every child capture increased up in front of lens.
Decades ago store was scored with chemicals and equipment you need to develop the film from their cameras. Now computers and digital printers have replaced them, but it’s not changed their ideal: they don’t have ordering websiteso anyone who to want buy prints must be completed out the form.
Immediately after the shooting, the Suttons rushed to their side. digital pull archives out class photos, from formal individual portraits to class photographs staged with their teachers. Looking at small smiling faces of At two fourth grades, Nancy Sutton notices that two children have somehow infiltrated both grades. photos. She laughs when she realizes it, shaking her head in their trick. Then she remembers: Of 30 or so children in two classes, majority dead.
Friday, three days after the shooting, constant flow of parents visit Uvalde Photo to collect the free prints the Suttons painstakingly made made for each family.
Next fall, the Suttons hope back at Robb’s elementary school, and all of other schools in the area to accept photos of students. But for 19 students killed on Tuesday at the Suttons only one last round of photos for funerals and memorial performances, for parents remember your child captured on camera in the school was once considered a refuge of safety as well as growth.
“See their faces all the time way back to first class, see how these little faces have changed it hurts”, Sutton says flipping through the pictures out. “One mother who came in she said yesterday just I can’t cry anymore. And I cried for her. And now I’m kind of past crying now. Least for moment. And I’m proud to be able to do it in memory of these children”.