A year in photos
BY CHRISTOPHER SMITH World Photo Editor
Monday, December 31, 2012
12/31/12 at 8:02 AM
We saw the earth scorched and met those left to sift through the ashes.
We watched as a community joined hands in an effort to make sense of shootings that shook security and comfort to its core.
And we witnessed small celebrations of life.
Today, we display our top photos of 2012. They show the immensity and scale of nature like the wildfires in Mannford. They also humanize the aftermath by putting us on the ground with those affected by disaster.
A photo can make us laugh, or gasp, or move us to tears. It can be at once visceral and complex and intellectual. The best photos tell stories in a moment and unfold moments later to reveal punchlines. They give us information and raise questions.
Time and again our photographers took you, the reader, where you could not go or introduced you to people you may never have met in an effort to tell you the story in a way only photos can.
Roping a dream: Jennifer Ratliff, a 14-year-old freshman at Oklahoma School for the Blind, laughs with volunteer Rodger Coday as he teaches her to throw a rope during a field trip to Silver Spur Western Lodge and Arena on Sept. 26 in Haskell. The annual event, sponsored by the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, teaches the students that impaired vision shouldn't keep them from doing what they love. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World
Prayer for healing: A group of ministers prays with two survivors and the families of three people who died during the Good Friday shootings April 6 in north Tulsa. The service included: First Baptist Church North Tulsa Pastor Anthony Scott (left); the Rev. Jesse Jackson (second from left); Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church Jim Miller (third from left); and Warren Blakney, president of the Tulsa Chapter of the NAACP (top left). They surround shooting victims Deon Tucker, whose arm is in a sling, and David Hall. The April 14 gathering, called the Community Worship Service for Hope and Healing, attracted an overflow crowd at First Baptist North Tulsa. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
Re-election celebration: Annette Combs reacts to news that President Barack Obama defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the election Nov. 6. Combs and others gathered for a Democratic watch party in Tulsa. Obama received 51 percent of the vote to win a second term. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Freed from prison: Patricia Spottedcrow (right) and her mother, Delita Starr, hug after Spottedcrow's early release Nov. 29 from Hillside Community Correctional Center in Oklahoma City. Her 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of marijuana garnered widespread national attention after her story was featured in a 2011 Tulsa World series on women in prison. She had been in prison since December 2010, after spending a few months waiting in the county jail. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Admiral Twin reopens: A couple watches from the roof of their pickup truck July 10 as "The Amazing Spider-Man" begins at the reopened Admiral Twin Drive-in. The iconic Tulsa movie venue, built in 1951 and a source of fond memories for many Tulsans, was destroyed in a fire in September 2010. Fans rallied to raise more than $30,000, which helped persuade the owners to rebuild. The drive-in, rebuilt at a cost of $700,000, reopened in June 2012 to record crowds, and a grand reopening ceremony was held July 15. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Fighting meth: A Tulsa police sergeant, dressed in a Pyrolon nonflammable suit and a mask, begins the process of dismantling an active meth lab in a hotel parking lot near 11th Street and Garnett Road on Jan. 5. Police were on track to recover approximately 300 meth labs in 2012. That's a decrease from the 2011 total of 429 labs. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World
After the fire: Jackie Norrid sits with her dog, Buster, outside the remains of her home Aug. 7. Norrid's was one of 376 residences near Mannford, west of Tulsa, destroyed by wildfires in early August. The fires swept across nearly 60,000 acres and stopped just short of the town of Mannford itself. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
Fireworks at the ballpark: Fireworks explode in the sky over ONEOK Field after the Tulsa Drillers defeated the Midland RockHounds in a Texas League baseball game May 27. Fireworks shows often attracted the team's largest crowds. The Drillers plan to continue the promotion in 2013 with 17 scheduled shows, their most in a season. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
Local landmark lost: Tulsa firefighters battle an early morning blaze Sept. 5 at the Tulsa School for Arts and Sciences. The building, at 2324 E. 17th St., was constructed in 1925 as Barnard Elementary School. Eight firefighters were burned while fighting the blaze, and three were hospitalized for more than a week. The charter school had recently moved into the building and was forced to relocate to the vacated Sequoyah Elementary School building. The fire stemmed from construction of a vent in a chemistry lab area, according to the Tulsa Fire Marshal's Office. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
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Wildfires rage through Creek County: Flames fill the sky and approach a barn and home near the junction of Oklahoma 48 and Oklahoma 33 southwest of Mannford on Aug. 4. Wildfires raged through Creek County in August. The wildfires near Mannford burned nearly 60,000 acres and destroyed 376 homes. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World