Thursday, November 26, 2015

POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2014, 10:25 AM
In a photo taken by Eagles team photographer (Ed Mahan)

With the news this week that Pope Francis confirmed his visit to Philadelphia in September, 2015, people are talking about the previous papal visit, that of John Paul II, in 1979. 

Among the stories told in the Inquirer today is that of Jim Murray, cofounder of the Ronald McDonald House, and at the time the Eagles' general manager. Murray was so devoted a Catholic that he had named his newborn son John Paul, and brought the infant to Logan Circle where the pope celebrated a Mass. More than a million people were jamming the Ben Franklin Parkway, but as the pope walked in the procession from the Cathedral to the circle right in front of them.  A family friend priest held up the child, the pope noticed him and amazingly turned, placed his hand on the child's head, and blessed him - a moment captured in a photo that soon appeared on national television, and that even today can be found in Catholic homes. Murray called it the "McMiracle."

But that's not the end of the story. That picture was taken by a photographer who had already photographed another "miracle."

POSTED: Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 10:14 AM

I was assigned to shoot standalone photos (no story or reporter) of two Veterans Day events Tuesday: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Adjutant General of N.J. and the local U.S. Congressman marking the day at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in North Hanover Township, Burlington County...

POSTED: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 8:30 PM

I often find myself channelling my inner - insert name of famous photographer here - while on assignment for the newspaper.

On Sunday it was former Inquirer co-worker Bryan Grigsby. He was an editor at the paper when I arrived, but I had already met him when I shot for United Press International in Kansas City and he was director of photography at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. Earlier, as a beginning photographer I'd admired his contest-winning photos in the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) magazine while he worked at the The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.

POSTED: Monday, September 1, 2014, 11:07 PM

Leaving Wildwood, N.J. earlier this summer, I hit a little traffic jam alongside a nightclub. I saw the singers outside on break, rolled down my window, and shot a few frames. It's my "Scene" photo in page B-2 in the Inquirer today, in the New Jersey editions. Appropriate for the unofficial last day of summer at the Shore, as I look in the rear view mirror, reviewing all the photos I shot at their this summer. With a new shore section in the paper on Saturdays all summer, and news from Atlantic City my fellow photographers and I were at the Jersey Shore on assignment a lot this summer. Here are some of my favorite photos, and links to even more:

Human and dog footprints, on the sand of Wildwood's new dog-friendly beach in June, where dogs were subjected to the usual list of restrictions that humans have learned to put up with.

An amateur sand sculpture captured the attention of beachgoers in Sea Isle City in advance of an international competition in Atlantic City in June.

POSTED: Sunday, July 6, 2014, 6:45 AM

What a weekend. On Independence Day I covered parades in Philadelphia and New Jersey, then early Saturday, I was awakened with a phone call: "We had a fatal fire overnight. Four kids killed. Need you to get there."

POSTED: Monday, June 23, 2014, 8:51 AM


I was asked "How did you take that picture?"  a few times this past week.

POSTED: Monday, April 7, 2014, 1:50 AM

This blog was born with the express purpose of documenting a series of weekly road trips I took, during the summer of 2007, leaving on a different highway out of Philadelphia to simply enjoy and photograph the journey. To be honest, I was just trying to replicate a wonderful road trip I made in 2002 retracing the route of Lewis and Clark in the west (and here in Philadelphia).

Nowadays, my trips are mostly just drives between assignments, but like lots of people on real Road Trips, I like to collect travel mementos. Once it was just "collecting" the right to say "I've been to all fifty states." I completed that goal with Maine in 1984 (I was covering the New Hampshire Primary and in Portsmouth, for a campaign rally, so I drove across the border to Kittery for lunch).

POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 2:31 AM

As predicted, we did get snow again yesterday. And as I suspected, it started to fall, not in the morning before my shift, but in the evening as I was working into the night.  I was finishing up an assignment in the Northwest as the snow flurries began, so figured I would drive down Ridge Avenue through Roxborough hoping to see something along the way back toward Center City. I didn't.


It just wasn't coming down hard enough to photograph, and with the diffused lighting of a cloudy day at twilight, not enough contrast to see the snowflakes.

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
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