When photojournalist Paul Taggart appeared on the December 2004 cover of TulsaPeople, he had just returned to the U.S. after an assignment in Iraq.
On Oct. 10 of that year, he was four days in to a 10-day assignment to photograph Mehdi Militia in Sadr City. It was then the 24-year-old native Tulsan was ambushed, kidnapped and held for three days.
“Once I was being dragged and I was looking back at the car, it hit me,” he said in the cover story. “It was like, ‘Oh, so this is what it is like, so this is a kidnapping.’”
After negotiation details he can’t reveal, he was released and found shelter in a media safe house.
Today, Taggart lives in an old farmhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his wife and three children.
“I’m working more in film and television these days and less in photojournalism,” he says. “I still travel extensively throughout the year, and it’s been very nice coming home to our quiet couple acres with the deer and foxes and gardens. It feels nicely secluded from the insanity of the outside world.”
Recent jobs have included producing and shooting TV shows for Discovery Channel, National Geographic, A&E and Animal Planet.
“I’ve spent the majority of the last couple years working all around Alaska,” which happens to be where TulsaPeople found him in mid-July.
COVID-19 forced his production to shut down in April, and he only recently returned to work.
“Our daily work life is very different,” he says. “We have to sanitize all our camera equipment and cars daily, take crew temperature checks and wear masks at all times.”
He remains connected to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute and recently taught its online filmmaking class.
“As usual, I was floored by the incredible and diverse talent within my class,” he says. “Oklahoma rocks!”