Jacob Amezquita, 17, stands in the backyard of his south Victoria home. The Victoria West High School senior was permanently disabled in a wreck that killed his mother and a family friend. “It just helped me grow up and made me realize the world isn’t perfect and sometimes things just happen, and there’s not really anything you can do about it,” he said.
Hairstylist Sylvia De La Garza and Esperanza Buentello’s mother, Melissa, position and pin her crown on her head after her hair is curled. Esperanza was given a second chance to finish her Quinceañera celebration, thanks to donations from community members, after the first event was cut short due to a power outage.
William Bruce “Bull” Ellis, 94, poses for a portrait in his home in Edna. Ellis is a WWII Navy Veteran who enlisted with the Houston Volunteers at age 17 in 1942 and is the only member of this group who is still alive.
Kaybree Edward’s feet dangle from a truck bed where she watches Patrick being bathed during a charity dog wash event hosted by the Air Force JROTC Cadets from East, West and Liberty Academy at Foxy Hound Pet Spa.
Reenactors perform a recreation of the occupation of Presidio La Bahía in Goliad. 2019 marked the 34th annual reenactment of the Goliad Massacre, and the event draws thousands of visitors from all over Texas.
From left, Gin Major, Nancy Kneupper, Rhonda Murphy, Marti Cryst and Cynthia Merrill, of the Texas Gypsies Bellydance Troupe, perform traditional belly dances during the Flip Flop Festival in Port Lavaca. It was the second year these women had traveled to the festival from the Rockport area.
Kim Maddux Stafford stands inside the utility room of her new home in Seadrift that she and her family received through the Homeowner Assistance Program from the Texas General Land Office. After more than two years of living in hotels and with other family members, Maddux Stafford and her family finally returned home just in time for Thanksgiving.
Alice Silvas walks toward her new home in Refugio before a wall-raising ceremony. Silvas had her home completely rebuilt by Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane Harvey left her home damaged and infested with mold in August 2017.
Alex Shaw, 10, enters Palace Bingo for the 22nd anniversary event. Alex won $700 the previous night and used his winnings to purchase a cellphone. He came back to try his luck again before returning home to Dallas with his family.
Competitors cheer on Matt Thomas, 46, of Kansas City, and Clayton Amacker, 34, of Austin, pilot boat 2070 to the finish line of the Texas Water Safari in Seadrift. This was the first time the two competed in the annual race.
Amanda Rodriguez plays with her daughter Olivia, 3, on the swingset in the backyard of her family's home in Port Lavaca. Five years ago, Rodriguez lost her prematurely born son eight days after his birth. She says she found community through Angel Babies Victoria, a support group for women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss.
Michael Roe, left, shows his father Arthur Roe his self-made plane, the Cozy Mark IV, after flying into the Victoria Regional Airport from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. This was the first time Arthur had seen the finished plane that took Michael 17 years to build.
Wallace "Tray" McNary, 45, and Michelle McNary, 37, have been living in their vehicle for the past four months while they try to find work after moving back to Victoria. Tray said the ordinance under review by the Victoria City Council, which would make it an offense for anyone to camp in primarily residential areas or designated historic districts in the city, will place a burden on Victoria’s homeless residents without helping address homelessness.
Kate Klimist, left, and her mother Laura relax backstage in the dressing room during the intermission of "Mamma Mia!" at the Leo J. Welder Center in downtown Victoria. The mother-daughter acting duo portrayed the roles of mother and daughter, Donna and Sophie, in the hit musical.
The Southpaw Band plays music while couples dance at Sweet Home Hall. Tim Boswell, co-owner of the community center, also known as Sweet Home Hall, purchased the property in May with three friends in an attempt to preserve its history.
Josh Kaspar hugs Krystal Patek on the opening night of the Shiner Gaslight Theatre’s fall production of “The Savannah Sipping Society.” This was Kaspar’s 46th Gaslight production to act in, and she watched Patek grow up in the theater while her dad performed in plays.
Phillip Perez operates the cotton picker to harvest the last of Mike Watz's cotton fields in El Campo in late September. Rainfall from earlier in the week made the ground very soggy and they wouldn't normally harvest in such conditions, but with more rain expected in the coming days, Watz decided to finish harvesting his product before the predicted rain has a chance to ruin his cotton yield.
Imagery is powerful and has the ability to evoke emotions in viewers, paint a vivid picture of a situation and give readers a glimpse into a person’s life and their experiences. Photographs move us and teach us about other people.
I have always been fascinated by human nature. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be an anthropologist, but somehow I found my way to documentary photography, a natural transition for someone entranced by stories.
As the photo editor and chief photographer at the Victoria Advocate, it’s been a pleasure telling your stories over the past year and working with our staff photographers as they go out on photo assignments.
Our community offers us many exciting, tragic and heartwarming stories to photograph.
One of the greatest honors is having a person open up their life for us to document so we can share the importance of their story. It’s also a great responsibility, and we strive to take great care in the way we visually tell your stories.
Here is a collection of my favorite photographs from 2019 from your Advocate photographers. We hope to bring you many more moving visual stories in the year to come.
Emree Weaver is the Chief Photographer at the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at (361) 580-6584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I am a born and bred Texan hailing from Goliad, but have spent the past 10 years in Austin, Italy, Botswana and everywhere in between. I love having the opportunity to reconnect with my roots to tell important stories in the crossroads region.