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Posted at 02:35 PM ET, 10/10/2011

Eviction in Colorado photographer John Moore: It’s hard to ‘stand there and watch’

In a stunning visual essay about the one family reeling from foreclosure, John Moore of Getty Images photographed a Colorado family’s eviction from their home last week. The resulting gallery was one of the most-viewed items on washingtonpost.com, and hundreds of readers wrote in with questions about the family, their situation and how Moore managed to take such intimate photographs in the fraught moments of the foreclosure.
Brandie Barbiere reacts as Weld County sheriff's deputy Mary Schwartz arrives to evict her and her family from their home Oct. 5 in Miliken, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Brandie Barbiere said she had stopped making mortgage payments on the home 11 months earlier, after she lost more than half her home child-care business because of the economy. Last Wednesday, a deputy from the Weld County sheriff’s department showed up to evict the family. Moore was tagging along with the sheriff’s department as part of a longer-term project for Getty on the national housing crisis.

In a live Q&A with Post readers on Monday, Moore was asked whether taking photos in these situations feels exploitative. His reply:

I think that is a fair question. Every time I go to a house eviction with a deputy, I always tell the owner/tenant who I am and that I am working on a long-term photo project on the housing crisis. ... I tell them I know it is a very difficult time, but i would appreciate it if i could stay, as lots of Americans are going through this and I think it’s important to show that the best I can. Most people, believe it or not, have said yes. ... Is it hard for me to stand there and watch what happens? Absolutely.

Q. I feel really sorry for the husband. His wife never told him she stopped making mortgage payments almost a year ago!?

A. Yes, in this case it was tough that she hadn’t told her husband, Dan. Her home day care business had lost most of its clients, and she couldn’t bring herself to tell him she was failing. She told me she was embarrassed and ashamed, and as the months went on, it became harder for her to tell him. He was furious when he came home and found all the family’s possessions in the yard.


Chase Milam, 1, watches as household goods are removed by an eviction team during a home foreclosure eviction in Miliken, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Q: John, one commenter in the thread asked about the above photograph. How did you get that shot? The commenter (joking, we assume) said it was so good that it looked staged!

A. Ha, staging pix is not my deal — especially putting a toddler at the top of the stairs! Imagine.

Truth is, that little boy was crawling all around, and the daughter, 2 1/2, was running around so much as the eviction team was moving heavy furniture, I was a little worried one would get stepped on. While I was out on the driveway, I was trying to keep the girl from riding her Big Wheel out into the street. The deputy, Mary, also made child control a priority. The mother, Brandie, was frazzled and trying to pack up any sentimental items she could.

Here are a few more of John Moore’s photographs from that day:
An eviction team member removes a playpen from a house as a sheriff's deputy steps over children. (John Moore/Getty Images)

An eviction team member removes a child's mattress from a house during the home foreclosure in Miliken, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Chase Milam, 1, watches as an eviction team removes household belongings. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Read the transcript of the Q&A with photographer John Moore

View the ‘Evicted in Colorado' gallery

By  |  02:35 PM ET, 10/10/2011

 
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