Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Head Shots

"Spanning the tri-state region to bring you the constant variety of headshots..."

Head Shots


Newspaper photographers are always making headshots, and we usually try to make them as animated as possible. But this week I've had a couple that were definitely inanimate.

Some really big heads on the day Pep Boys auto parts chain was acquired by the Gores Group, for about $1 billion. I was already on assignment in New Jersey when I was asked to shoot one of their suburban stores. I did make a photo of the shop - in a ubiquitous strip mall - but couldn't pass up an opportunity to photography Manny, Moe and Jack in the flesh (fiberglas? plastic?). The last time I'd visited the statue of the three mascots outside their Philadelphia corporate headquarters was in the early 90's when they removed Manny's cigar for an anti-smoking campaign (Emanuel Rosenfeld, the bespectacled one, died 30 years early, but is said to have been a "reformed" smoker).

After the big-heads it was the no-head next. In Bridgeton, NJ, a 1915 civil war memorial was vandalized in Veterans' Park back in early December. The head was toppled and found in the water not far from the body.

Before leaving for Bridgeton for the assignment, I checked the web to see what the statue looked like. It was surrounded by tree limbs. So I decided before I even arrived I would be shooting with a long lens, wide open, to blur out the branches as much as possible. I used a 300mm, shooting from across the street, lining up the neck with a bare area against the sky.

A Civil War Concert to help raise funds for a restoration project is planned for February 11th in Bridgeton, featuring The Libby Prison Minstrels, the 12th New Jersey Regiment Band and David Kincaid, the "Irish Volunteer"

Inspired by these headshots, I'm going to start a collection. Thinking of creating an image gallery as long as I'm out there, "Spanning the tri-state region to bring you the constant variety of headshots..."

Inquirer Staff Photographer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
Also on
letter icon Newsletter