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Stunning Photographs Capture The Grief And Survival After Orlando

National Geographic captured Florida's LGBT and Latino communities in mourning.
Jorion Range, Ismael “Izzy” Vazquez and Heath Marvin. 
Jorion Range, Ismael “Izzy” Vazquez and Heath Marvin. 

Photographer Wayne Lawrence has always sought to capture individuals overlooked by mainstream media, such as exonerated prisoners and families affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in his colorful, prolific images.

But Lawrence, who is based in New York, said he wasn't fully prepared for what he witnessed when he visited Orlando, Florida in the wake of the June 12 mass shooting that left 49 people dead.  

"There was no way for me to fully understand the magnitude of what happened at Pulse," he told The Huffington Post. "Forty-nine people lost their lives at a place that was supposed to be their safe haven. They were killed for absolutely nothing other than being human, leaving a whole community to grieve in public."

Lawrence's solemn shots from his June visit are the centerpiece of a new National Geographic feature. Written by Melody Rowell, "Orlando Strong: A Community United After Massacre" focuses on how the city's LGBT and Latino communities are learning to cope in the aftermath of the tragedy. Rowell points out that 90 percent of the 49 people who were killed when Omar Mateen opened fire on the crowd at Pulse nightclub, which was hosting a Latin night, were of Latino descent. 

The photographer said he was initially hesitant to approach residents who were grieving, as he "naturally wanted to give the families their space."

"Being there with a camera felt awkward and wrong at first," he told HuffPost. "But as with stories like this, I am always inspired by the generosity of the human spirit." 

Don't miss a selection of Lawrence's incredible shots below, then head to National Geographic to read the full article. 

  • Demetrius Spires
    Wayne Lawrence/National Geographic
  • Xiomara Flores, Timisha Grandstaff, and daughters Kiele Mahina and Samadhi Grandstaff
    Wayne Lawrence/National Geographic
  • Kevin Borelli
    Wayne Lawrence/National Geographic
  • Terry DeCarlo and William Hoelsman
    Wayne Lawrence/National Geographic
  • Juna Esperance
    Wayne Lawrence/National Geographic
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