On June 28, 2018, staff photographer Paul W. Gillespie’s life and the lives of his Capital Gazette newspaper family changed forever. A man armed with a shotgun blasted his way into their Annapolis office, shooting at anyone he saw. Paul dived under his desk, out of the shooter’s sight, and once there was a lull in the shooting, he ran for the door. He was chased and shot at, with shots just missing his head. Paul got out and survived, but five others did not.
Having witnessed and experienced such horror, the anxiety and depression - part of the PTSD that Paul now suffers from - began to manifest itself in the days following the attack. Once the intensity immediately following the tragedy had ebbed, the funerals for the victims had occurred and the media attention began to fade, he had to face the PTSD head-on. By December 2018, the symptoms became pronounced, which made it tough for him to do anything that was not absolutely necessary.
Around that time, he watched a documentary about portrait photographer Platon Antoniou, whose black-and-white portraits seemed to communicate a truth about his subjects. It set off a spark in Paul to do something creative, something that he could control in a life that felt out of control.
He cleared a small area in his basement and set up a studio to begin making portraits. After the Capital Gazette staff was honored by being named Persons of the Year by Time magazine, which called the staff and other journalists “Guardians in the War on Truth,” Paul realized that his fellow journalists at the Capital Gazette would make great subjects for the project he had in mind.
With this exhibit, Paul honors his family at the Capital Gazette - the veteran journalists who continued putting out the paper in the tough days after the shooting, the new journalists who since have joined the staff, and the family members of those who were lost.
“Everyone who has sat for this project has given me a great gift, but none more so than the families of those we have lost. They have had so much taken from them and still showed me graciousness and strength in representing their lost loved ones. Thank you to all my Capital Gazette family for being part of this project and all those who helped make it possible.” - Paul W. Gillespie
About the Photographer
Photojournalist Paul W. Gillespie joined the Capital Gazette staff in October 2000. He is originally from the southern New Jersey shore area, where he worked as both a staff photojournalist and freelancer for many publications. Paul is one of the six survivors of June 28th, 2018 attack on The Capital Gazette newsroom.