1. Bulman, Alison senior editorial coordinator

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On this month's cover, St. Thomas Hospice nurse Julie Stowell leans in to say goodbye to Jerry Kasilattis at the end of a visit to his assisted living center in Willowbrook, Illinois. And in the photograph on this page, Stowell checks Helen Allen's vital signs on one of her weekly visits to Ms. Allen's home in DuPage County, Illinois.

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Photographer Steve Johnston, now 36, took these photographs on May 21, 2004, for an article on nurses in The Doings newspaper of Hinsdale, Illinois. "Every story is important to me," Johnston says. "I always want to show something that will make the reader stop and pay attention to the photos I take and get a better understanding of the person that is featured. If I'm lucky, the viewer will actually look to see who shot the photo."


Johnston took both photographs with his now-retired Nikon D1 camera, using a wide-angle lens for the cover image. "We were all sitting outside, so I was able to sit alongside them and listen to the conversation. This was probably the last photo I took before Stowell left for the day." And of the photograph on this page, he says: "Since Stowell was taking the vitals, I wanted to give them their space. I flattened out the image and blurred the background so the two of them were the focus." He preserved the candid feel of both photographs by avoiding the use of a flash, which he says "sometimes makes the subjects more self-conscious."


Johnston lives in Darien, Illinois, with his wife, Sally, and two children. He is a staff photographer with the Sun-Times News Group.


Alison Bulman, senior editorial coordinator