Carolyn Todd-Larson, QPSA  

At the Field of Empty Chairs Oklahoma City by Carolyn Todd-Larson, QPSA

June 2022 - At the Field of Empty Chairs Oklahoma City

About the Image(s)

Equipment: Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Lens: EF M18-150mm f/3.5-6.3
Focal length: 70 mm
Exposure: 1/160 sec, f/13, ISO 160

A portion of the 168 chairs in the Field of Empty Chairs representing those killed on April 19, 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed in a domestic terrorist attack. It is part of a symbolic memorial that stands on the footprint of the building. The one smaller chair in this photo belongs to one of the 19 children who were killed in the day care center in the building.

This is a very somber memorial and I felt that by shooting just a small segment of the empty chair field and converting it to black and white it might have more impact.

For more information about the Memorial, visit

This round’s discussion is now closed!
5 comments posted

Pinaki Sarkar   Pinaki Sarkar
Excellent image with eye level point of view. Like the shadows too. 70mm has squeezed the image right...would 24mm or even 50 mm would have been better ? I don't know.

Great Work.   Posted: 06/08/2022 20:36:14

Tom Tauber   Tom Tauber
A powerful memorial to a terrible tragedy. I really like that you converted it to black&white which adds to the somber mood. The chairs seem to be placed at random except for one row on the left that lines up diagonally. The cropping seems a bit crowded, especially on the right, but I can imagine that any way you crop this image you would cut into one of the chairs. An interesting variation would be to focus on the front row of chairsand use relatively shallow depth of field to let the chairs and the wall in the back fade into the background.   Posted: 06/13/2022 14:44:03

Dr. Isaac Vaisman   Dr. Isaac Vaisman
(Group 4)
Carolyn, indeed a very dramatic memorial, and your B&W interpretation suits very well with more impact. I realize that from wherever you place your vantage point, will produce amputation of some of the chairs. You selected a slight elevated vantage point and this way you have DOF and visualization of the back line of chairs. The image is sharp, and the projected side shadows give additional depth to it   Posted: 06/17/2022 09:03:48

Stan Bormann   Stan Bormann
(Group 1)
As I recall the chairs are lined up according to where the person died in the building, the rows across are the floors and the place in the row is where in the building. Carolyn positioned herself where the chairs would provide this compelling composition. The position of the camera to show the tops of the chairs in rows is well done and taking the pictures when the shadows are as we see all contributes to the image. Notice one of the chairs is significantly shorter. I suspect this represents a child, but I am guessing.   Posted: 06/20/2022 16:54:13

John Larson   John Larson
A very thought provoking image. I am not sure if it fits better in Photo Travel or Photojournalism or either. It certainly tells the story of that tragic day, but I am not sure how much it tells me about the place. A very interesting image with much historical symbolism.   Posted: 06/23/2022 10:46:23