“Ah, geez. Make it stop!” I wrote to my friend, Elizabeth Rose after she messaged me about Tim’s passing. She responded, “I know, my friend.”
Number eight for 2018, but whose counting. Me.
After trying to write this for a while I realized that I’ve nearly come up short on words as they’re sounding the same. Tim Dunn was not only a good photographer, he really was a nice guy; genuine to the bone.
Tim possessed an innate ability to connect with people whether through his images, insights, humor, or his heart. I worked on a number of stories where I watched him work ‘his magic.’
We first met in 1994, shortly after he started at a local newspaper, while I’d been plugging along as an operator for the regional para-transit system. I’d stopped to help after a bread truck ran up and over a ‘model kit’ car, injuring both the drive and passenger.
Tim was there a minute or two after I began assessing the injured men. I could hear him snapping photos behind me and when it was all over, I asked him if he made certain to get my best side.
He laughed despite the possibly of having heard that line a hundred times before. The next day though, I opened the newspaper and there it was – a photograph of my butt, leaning into the car.
He’d gotten my ‘good side,’ and made certain the world knew it. That was my real introduction into Tim.
But it wasn’t always good times and giggles. In June 2012, Tim was covering a major house when a Washoe County Sheriff deputy told him to clear out and failing to do so fast enough, the deputy shoved Tim to the ground, where his face was left bruised, cut and bloodied.
Deputies maintained that Tim had jeopardized his safety by continuing to approach the burning building, despite instructions to back off. Charged with obstruction and resisting arrest, it took about a year for them to be dropped.
They also publicly accused him of impersonating a firefighter because he was wearing protective clothing. However, fire gear’s issued to most media outlets in Nevada because of the inherent danger of covering such news stories.
As a news reporter, working for the competition, I happened to be on a number of stories where I had the pleasure of watching Tim work. Somehow, using nothing more than a healthy dose of compassion by connecting with people and treating them with dignity, he was able to document their lives from the heart.
Thank you, Tim for your friendship. I look forward to viewing your Heavenly photo-spread one day, but don’t wait up.