The Hillside Locos


“Armed with guns, drugs and cash, gangs like SUR 13 are expanding their criminal business from city neighborhoods to suburbs and small towns. Gang units are springing up neighborhoods to combat the gangs but the tragic loss of young people to gang violence can be measured by the funerals every week.”


“The Hillside Locos SUR 13 gang members are a brotherhood in the small town of Franklin, Tennessee”

JOHN PARTIPILO/THE TENNESSEAN, 1st Place, Best Published Picture Story (smaller markets) for the NPPA

This photo story of a local Tennessee gang called “The Hillside Locos” inspires me as a journalist, but slightly disappoints me as a photographer.  I have tremendous amount of respect for Partipilo, taking the time to immerse himself in the intimidating, and often dangerous world associated with gangs. Covering situations involving gang members hanging out, gang member’s ink,  profiles on young teenage members, police busts,  incarcerated gang members, and funerals of men, women, and children who were killed as a result of gang violence.These are just the first two of twelve photo’s published.

While the situations are indeed worthy of merit, the photo’s themselves I feel are poorly edited and occasionally poorly executed. For example, the first photo is very bright and could have been improved using a polarizing lens cover. Also, I dislike how the gang members on the far left and right have their arms cut off by the frame. I would have loved to see more creativity with camera angles, particularly in the photos above.