Getting the Iconic Tornado Shot

Photo by Dusty Compton/Tuscaloosa News has the story behind the Tuscaloosa News‘ photograper Dusty Compton’s photo, which made the covers of newspapers across the country, and his experience covering the aftermath.

The most challenging aspect of covering the tornado, Compton said, has been figuring out when to intervene.

“We were there before the firefighters and police officers were there yesterday, and we were walking through rubble, not knowing whether everyone was out of it yet,” said Compton. “I wondered, ‘Should I be shooting photos or should I be lifting boards and bricks to see what was underneath it?’ ”

At one point, while Compton was taking photos of a house that had been destroyed, he saw two people calling out a woman’s name. They said they weren’t able to find their friend, who had been in the house that Compton was photographing.

“I put my camera over my shoulder and started calling for this lady’s name,” Compton said. “We didn’t find her there.”


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