I am drawn to these memorials. But the victims are strangers to me and it can feel like I am intruding on a private tragedy.

As a young newspaper photographer in a small city, I was often called to the scene of accidents. Accidents were difficult and I used the camera as a shield, trying to record everything as a dispassionate observer, rather than a participant. Still, it was impossible not to feel like an interloper.

The victims are often innocent of having done anything. Small mistakes that we have all made suddenly have tragic and fatal consequences.

There is a tinge of that same feeling when I photograph these memorials. Yet, at the same time, I know this is something I have to do. I can't explain why.