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JIM BATES / THE SEATTLE TIMES
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Seattle Times Pictures of the Year 2009

Aug. 16: Before a town-hall meeting on health-care reform, supporter Mike Dumovich of Arlington gets into it with Nora Thorp of Camano Island. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen hosted the meeting at Everett Memorial Stadium in August. I got to the event four hours beforehand because we didn't exactly know what to expect; other meetings had turned violent. As people started showing up there became almost a battle line between sides in the parking lot. But both sides did join to oppose a small group that displayed posters of President Obama with a Hitler mustache.

"I got the photo-story-telling bug in college. I started as an engineering student because I have a creative and technical itch. The engineering demands were pretty steep, and a friend who was majoring in photography was having a whole lot more fun than me. I decided to switch. My adviser at the school newspaper was Nelson Wadsworth, who in one of his former lives was caption writer for National Geographic and traveled with some of the great photographers of that time. From the time I saw my first image come up in a developer tray, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I often thought, if I had all the money I needed, I would still be a photographer." — Jim Bates