It’s not really thankless job afterall.

Sonya Robison, of rural Yoder, Colo., was attacked in 2006 at home and missed a couple of payments while deciding whether to abandon the home because of her trauma. She decided to stay, and negotiated a repayment plan with her servicer. Though Robison was current on payments, she went away for Christmas and returned to find the locks changed and the house "winterized." The electricity, gas, and water supply were all turned off. The servicer said it was a mistake, and they would cover the costs of turning everything back on. She suggested she just skip one payment. By the time she made the next payment, they sent it back and initiated foreclosure proceedings. But it turns out the party that's filed the foreclosure does not appear on any deed or note. She is suing the bank. © Kevin Moloney, 2010

Aspects of the journalism profession can seem lonely. Though we meet an endless stream of interesting and compelling people in our reporting, connection to our readers, viewers or listeners is mostly one-way. And though we now have comment sections on publication Web sites, those comments are rarely about our craft and even more rarely about the photographs. Comments tend overwhelmingly to be critical of the subject matter or the others who bother to comment.

I’ve always wondered what reaction my pictures might have, both for telling a story and for their craft.

Then yesterday I received one of the most charming phone calls of my career. An 88-year-old Washingtonian was compelled by an image I made to write a letter to the editor at the New York Times. And better yet, he sleuthed out my phone number and called me to read it to me over the phone.

The smile has yet to leave my face.

The letter:

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, N.Y.  10018

RE: New York Times October 28, 2010 Business Page 1

Dear Sir: On the Times October 28 Business page is shown a photo by Kevin Moloney placed above a report on Housing Foreclosures.

This photo captures all the elements of an Edward Hopper painting of his late 1920’s period.

Looking into two windows of a house we see a seated woman before the left window – with a dim light on her coming through the window curtains. On her left is a brown desk or bureau with a small red object on top and the four rear window-panes provide photographic balance to the sitting figure.

The face of the young lady half in shadow, half in light evidences isolation, loneliness as well as sadness.

Turning to the adjoining apartment we see that the window is shut and the dimly lit room contains a bureau, with a green plant and an empty chair with curtains drawn. Our sight of the empty room with no person present emphasizes the isolation of the young lady in the adjoining room. The red object resting on the bureau in her room  balances the green plant on the bureau in the adjoining room.

From the outside, the two windows are framed in a blue paint line and both windows are united into a central panel by a flat surrounding black wooden frame. The photographic portrayal of the isolated individual in her dimly lit surroundings reminds one of  a Hopper painting.

Yours sincerely,
William R. Haley*

*As a graduate of Princeton ’45  I have had a continuing interest in art. In 1990 I endowed the James F. Haley Lecture Series at Princeton. The speaker earlier this year was the Director of the Museum of Modern Art.

Thank you Mr. Haley.


  1. #1 by Mike Moloney on November 5, 2010 - 3:13 pm

    What a wonderful letter of recognition. His prose really does reflect the emotion in the photograph. And, this from a respected art critic. It can’t get better than this Kevin! (Oh, really? Who knows what may happen next?) Congratulations!!


  2. #2 by Mike Moloney on November 5, 2010 - 3:39 pm

    Regardin the topic of the photo: all 50 State Attorneys General have now sued several large special servicing agents and similar interemediaries, and banks, regarding the pervasive foul-ups occuring with foreclosures. States that use mortgages for home loans instead of Deeds of Trust are most vulnerable. As far as i can find out (I haven’t researched this fully) this is the first time in history that all states have sued any one party.


  3. #3 by Lee Pruitt on November 5, 2010 - 5:47 pm

    Nice feedback from an obviously observant reader.


  4. #4 by marijke on November 5, 2010 - 6:04 pm

    See?! AND you should apply that rule of one letter represents hundreds of people. Though it’s nice this one person put it so eloquently for the rest of us.




  5. #5 by Holly Redmond on December 13, 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Awesome! That’s what it’s all about!


  6. #6 by David Walter Banks on February 2, 2011 - 10:30 pm

    It’s great when our images actually resonate on that level. Nice image.


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