As my years have gone by as a news photographer, I have become more and more comfortable in my community, and I believe I am pretty well known. I might even say that I am closer to my town and its people than most news photographers.
One thing that kind of amazes me in recent years is that I am now photographing the children of the people I photographed when I first came here. More and more often people tell me, “You took my picture when I was in school.”
Last night was graduation at Latta High School and Ada High School, schools which our newspaper covers extensively. Years ago, graduations weren’t all that significant to me, but lately I’ve been feeling them. Another group of kids, who I photographed playing ball and getting awards and growing up, is done with all that. I photographed them as they cheered in the cold for the football team, as they let their tears fall when they got a runner-up trophy at the end of the season, as they filled their small-town gyms with a deafening roar when a three-pointer fell at the buzzer. These things mattered to them, and they mattered to me. I know that sounds a little lame, but I’m 50, so I’ve earned some get-out-of-lame-free points.
In many ways I feel vastly more connected to the kids I cover than to the kids with whom I attended school.
In searching my journal, I found I didn’t write much when I graduated from high school. My friends and I had serious senioritis, so I wasn’t writing a lot. But as far as writing about the end of the school year goes, tenth grade was probably the most interesting…