As a part of research for her March 26 cover story, news editor Rebecca Bowe walked around the Tenderloin with photographer Mike Koozmin and talked with a few members of the homeless population there. Though few were willing to be photographed, the portraits Koozmin captured were striking, including one of "Mike," which I decided to use in a collage on the cover.
There were concerns about simply using the man's photograph on the cover, with editors feeling that the close-up, emotional portrait might both exploit his grief and make him a poster child for San Francisco's homeless population — to a much greater degree than it would if his photo appeared inside the paper.
The distortion of the collage allowed us to protect some of his privacy, while preserving the emotional impact on the cover. Plus ... I've been wanting to use this photo collage technique for a WHILE, and I think the effect is striking with this story. Read the article here.