Iconic Image

Photographer’s shot from Alnahdi memorial service earns award

January 27, 2017

Omar Alkohmos, a student from Saudi Arabia, wipes away tears during a memorial service Nov. 3 at UW-Stout for his friend Hussain Alnahdi.

A University of Wisconsin-Stout photographer has been honored for capturing the essence of an emotional event with one powerful image.

Brett T. Roseman received a 2016 Libris Iconic Image Award for his photo of UW-Stout student Omar Alkohmos, of Saudi Arabia. Alkohmos used his head scarf to wipe away tears during a Nov. 3 memorial service for fellow Saudi student Hussain Alnahdi, who died several days earlier after being attacked on a downtown street.

Libris by PhotoShelter selected 16 images “that capture the spirit of 2016: groundbreaking political campaigns, record-breaking victories, breathtaking landscapes and more. These 16 images beat out nearly 200 submissions from brands of all sizes and industries,” a Libris news release said.

UW-Stout uses PhotoShelter to manage, store and share university photos and video.

“Here at PhotoShelter, we are fortunate to work with thousands of the world’s best visual storytellers,” PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman said. “We get to see unbelievable photos and videos every day. And when we asked our Libris clients to submit images for this book, we were blown away.”

The award-winning images, including one of the Chicago Cubs celebrating after winning the World Series and another of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, can be seen here.

Brett T. RosemanRoseman likes the photo for several reasons. “What stands out most is that Omar is using his keffiyeh (head scarf) to wipe away his tears,” Roseman said.

“It was a unique and unexpected moment that I think makes this image beautiful and visually more interesting and emotionally impactful than the typical reaction or tear-wiping moment I’m used to seeing at memorial services.”

Next to Alkohmos in the photo is Tommy Hutson, a UW-Stout student from Chippewa Falls and one of Alnahdi’s roommates and best friends.

“I appreciate the diversity represented in the photo that helps show the large impact Hussain Alnahdi’s tragic death has had on not only international students but also on American students and the broader campus and Menomonie communities as well,” Roseman added.

Roseman was photographing the dusk outdoor memorial service, attended by an estimated 1,000 people, from a variety of angles when he began to look for “emotional moments that would likely enhance or even best tell the story,” he said.

From a distance with a telephoto lens, Roseman had seen Alkohmos, one of the speakers at the ceremony, wipe away tears and thought he’d missed the shot. He anticipated that Alkohmos might do it again.

“It happened once more, and I got it,” he said.

“I’m very patient in my job because it does involve a lot of watching and waiting — waiting for the absolute right moment to trip the camera’s shutter at the exact time the perfect moment happens. More importantly, I try to anticipate moments well because, more often than not, once you ‘see’ a moment happen you've likely already missed it,” Roseman said.

Roseman has worked for UW-Stout since 2014. He has 18 years of professional photojournalism experience, including most recently 10 years at the Chicago Sun-Times. His work has received more than 50 prestigious awards, including being named a Chicago Journalist of the Year by the Chicago Journalists Association in September 2013. He also taught a photojournalism course last fall at UW-Stout.

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Photos

Top: Omar Alkohmos, a student from Saudi Arabia, wipes away tears during a memorial service Nov. 3 at UW-Stout for his friend Hussain Alnahdi. University photographer Brett T. Roseman received a 2016 Libris Iconic Image Award for the photo.

Bottom: Brett T. Roseman