As a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times for over two decades, Anacleto Rapping covered Presidential campaigns, Olympic Games, World Cup Soccer tournaments, and the Academy Awards. He had the distinct honor of sharing three Pulitzer Prizes for team coverage in news, and individually, he received a Pulitzer nomination for his photography at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Currently, Anacleto is freelance photographer and leads photography workshops in the USA and abroad. He recently taught for 9 years at Brooks Institute’s School of Visual Journalism in Southern California. He says, “Every time a photograph is taken, that moment becomes part of our history.”
MG: I guess the first question I have is how long was the time period between when you took these photographs and when you looked back at them for the first time?
AR: I shot the ones of [my mother] in the hospital in 2007. I kind of looked at them when I downloaded them but I really didn’t stop and look and ponder over them because at that time I was doing a lot of family stuff. I have one sister. She had a hard time dealing with what needed to be done with the funeral arrangements and things like that. I didn’t have any time to grieve or stop and think about my mom, so at least a year before I really went back and looked at them.
MG: What was the intention, when you decided to photograph?
AR: It wasn’t a difficult decision for me only because in my family they always knew me as the photographer. I always had a camera and was always taking pictures at every family function. It took me out of… when I’m looking through the camera… the personal experience of me being a son. It takes that away. So it really became a shield for me emotionally not to have to deal with it completely at that point like other family members were. And that’s a good thing and it’s not a good thing. Even now if I go back and look at these photographs everything stops and I just sit there and look and it can be emotional.
MG: The photographs [in which your dad] is looking at your mother really affected me. It kind of cultivates this emotional empathy. Those images seem so sad. When you look at them do you feel any sort of hope?
Continue reading [ VOL 004; ISS 002 ] Makenzie Goodman In Conversation with Anacleto Rapping about Faith, Family, and Dying