Photographer Dies After Falling from a Parking Garage while Taking Pictures

Jason Hirschfeld

An award-winning photojournalist from Virginia has died after falling 80 feet from a parking garage while taking pictures.

Tributes have flooded in for 48-year-old Jason Hirschfeld who had the freak accident in Norfolk, VA on Saturday night.

Norfolk police have said that Hirschfeld was taking pictures on the eighth floor of a parking garage on Waterside Drive when he fell. The medical examiner has yet to determine the cause and manner of death, but no foul play is suspected.

Hirschfeld was a freelancer and on Saturday he had sent three photos to The Virginian Pilot that captured a dramatic sunset scene over Norfolk and Portsmouth, all three appeared as if they had been taken from a high vantage point, according to the newspaper.

Police were made aware of the death shortly after midnight. Medics pronounced Hirschfeld dead at the scene.

Talented Shooter

Hirschfeld’s photos appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, The Virginian Pilot, and ESPN in his 20-year career.

The Virginia native captured news and sport with his website containing photos of presidents, news stories, and plenty of sports.

“He was such a positive person about everything in his life. His work, his family, everything,” Virginian Pilot sports editor Jami Frankenberry says. “He’s really going to be missed.”

“He was one of the best sports photographers in the area,” adds the Pilot’s photo editor Todd Spencer. “He was a great storyteller with his sports photography. You can have great photos, but without a great story, it doesn’t matter. He always had both.”

Hirschfeld’s effervescent personality shines through from his online presence backed up by the heartfelt tributes left on his Facebook page.

“Still can’t find the words,” writes Mike Watkins. “Certainly going to miss you around the yard. No matter the circumstance, you always had a smile on your face and loved what you did. Thank you for all you did for sports fans in HR. So many great photos over the years…”

Hirschfeld is survived by his wife of 22 years, Michelle, as well as their two children: daughter Caylee and son Ethan.

Hirschfeld’s work can be seen on his website. The Virginian Pilot put together a piece showcasing some of his best sports work that can be viewed here.