Photographers are the eyes of the newspaper. They wander, observe and capture moments that document history. They record moments of high human emotion and exquisite stillness. They take us to places we’ve never visited and show us original points of view. They are a major force in helping us understand our world.

Richmond Times-Dispatch staff photographers file more than 150,000 photos each year, adding 2 trillion to 3 trillion bytes of data to our ever-expanding archives. Some of their best work will be featured in the RTD’s downtown gallery space in December, creating an opportunity to have a glimpse into the world beyond their lens.

“It’ll be a range of photos from our staff photographers who each have their own unique style,” said James H. Wallace, director of photography. “We asked them to take a look at some work they have shot over the years and to offer us three photos that they thought were fairly unique and reflected some part of the work that they’d like to share with the public.”

Work by veteran photographers Wallace, Bob Brown, Dean Hoffmeyer, Alexa Welch Edlund, Mark Gormus, P. Kevin Morley and Joe Mahoney and more recent hires Shelby Lum and Daniel Sangjib Min will be on display. Several of the photographers will participate in an opening night gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2, in which they will discuss their favorite images and take questions from guests.

Some of the images are from their personal archives, and others are moments in history, such as Brown’s photo from the first day of mandatory cross-town busing in Richmond in 1970 and Morley’s strikingly simple, yet emotion-laden photo of 2-year-old Belle Price hugging her father, sailor Willie Price, at Norfolk Naval Station upon his return from a six-month tour at sea.

“It makes me cry,” Morley said of the photo. “This little girl really missed her dad. If you’re human at all, you cannot go to these events without your eyes watering, or just plain old breaking down.”

— Markus Schmidt

MORE PHOTOGRAPHERS ON PAGE G8

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— Markus Schmidt

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