This is the first post of the New Year on Words on Pictures, but I want to look back at December first.
We had three Sunday Living photo spreads in December that would make any photographer and photo editor in the country weep with joy. Two were by ace photographer Chris Jordan, one about Fairfield minister Julio Carrion and another about younger people living in nursing facilities. The third was the staff's best pictures of 2008. (Dig the double truck on the last two.)
There aren't too many papers in the country displaying these kinds of packages in general, but the number of papers our size putting out these kinds of photo spreads could be counted on probably three or four fingers. Not to brag or anything...
Seriously though, December's photo spreads wouldn't have been possible with out two people, Chris and our superstar design editor, Kim Durbin. Chris put in months of work on the nursing home story, so leave a comment telling him how nice it turned out. Just as important, though, is Kim's amazing work. She is really the unsung hero of this newspaper and makes our photography look great in print and makes our lives 1000% easier at the same time.
There is nothing more frustrating for a photo journalist than to spend days, weeks or months working on a project only to have it killed by bad design the day before it goes in the paper. It's exhausting to put that much effort into something only to have to stand over someone's shoulder and bicker with them all day on the layout of the pictures. That is never a concern when you hand pictures off to Kim. We talk about lead photos, what goes on what page, general placement etc. and the next thing we see is an amazing, finished page. Also, pictures that run across the whole page are a normal feature of her design, God bless her.
Other contributing factors are our unnatural ability to get open pages whenever we ask for them (I don't know how this happens, I don't think I want to know) and the photo department's history of quality and having a good relationship with the rest of the paper. All of this, I should add, was in place long before I got here, making my job a lot easier.
Without further ado, here is December at the DR: