Young ‘Indy Star’ Photographer Collapses, Dies at Office


A 34-year-old Indianapolis Star photographer died Monday evening after he collapsed at the newspaper’s downtown office.

Mpozi Mshale Tolbert, an award-winning photographer, joined The Star in November 1998, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Philadelphia native, who stood 6 feet 6 inches tall with waist-long dreadlocks, was known for bringing humanity to his images.

“Everything he shot had heart,” said fellow Star photographer Bob Scheer. “It really had a soul to it.”

Newspaper staff said the cause of Tolbert’s death was still being investigated.

An avid downhill bicyclist, Tolbert was also a fixture at a Broad Ripple club where he worked as a DJ.

He began his career in high school, later publishing photos in The City Paper and the Philadelphia Gay News.

He won two Keystone Awards from the Pennsylvania Press Association for a photo essay on the AIDS quilt and for an image about housing discrimination.

Tolbert also shot photos for the premier album of the acclaimed Philadelphia-based hip-hop group The Roots. He can be heard as a background voice on the band’s “Do You Want More?!!!??!” album.

Tolbert is survived by his mother, father, stepmother and four siblings.

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