Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Polygamy Blog
Nate Carlisle
Reporter Nate Carlisle and photographer Trent Nelson cover polygamy for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow the Polygamy Blog on Twitter at @tribunepolygamy. Follow Nate Carlisle on Twitter at @natecarlisle. Follow Trent Nelson on Twitter at @trenthead.

» E-mail Nate Carlisle

» Subscribe (RSS)

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A group of young men sit near a bonfire Thursday Nov. 29, 2012 in Hildale.
FLDS bonfire photo asks questions

This photograph of a group of FLDS boys and young men standing near a bonfire in Hildale says a lot to me. What does it say to you?

On the surface it’s a photograph from a small Utah town where it’s still common practice to pile up a bunch of trash and set it ablaze. But photographs can be deeper.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Could the dark figures of these boys represent the silence the group has withdrawn into?

Could the flames represent the many legal challenges closing in on the sect?

Each viewer will find different meanings in the photograph and some may toss it out as a meaningless snapshot. That’s how it should be.

When I’m culling photos, I’m looking for details and expressions that show you something about a moment or someone’s personality. But it is up to you to experience the photographs and interpret them through your world view.

I have yet to find a photograph that captures everything about the entire polygamy world in one shot. There is no single photo that I’m aware of that shows happiness, pain, family, sacrifice, land trusts, conflict, privacy, children, courtrooms, victims, heroes, prison, education, escape, keep sweet, braided hair and a pastel prairie dress.

Over time I have photographed all of those things. But each photograph is just a slice of the bigger picture.

These boys were unaware of my presence. After a few minutes they saw me and quietly moved off, as a group, into the shadows. I waved, then got in my car and drove away, thankful for the moment.

— Trent Nelson

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.