Sunday, June 27, 2010

Places, like newspapers, need people

I found this picture recently as I was searching for a travel photograph to call my favorite.

It was Ittybit's first plane ride. The year was 2004, and we were going to Boulder, Colo. to meet her new cousin. The young man in the picture was traveling alone and had what some might describe as the misfortune of sitting next to a baby on the plane. Now, I could be mistaken … it was a long flight, but I don't think he minded.

People can surprise you if you let them.

I have to admit, even to myself, travel photography isn't my favorite. No matter where I go or what I do, the pictures I take might have been taken anywhere: A street scene in New Zealand could be one in New York City for all the details my lens leaves out.

There are brief moments of awe, of course, just as there are an infinite number of interesting places we can go, and people we can meet once we get to our destinations.

But once we return home, unpack and get around to organizing and printing photos, the results never seem as brilliant as the memories we were intending to capture.

Trees aren't as lush. Mountains aren't as majestic. Oceans aren't as deep.

For me, family always ends up the focus, while the travel becomes a prop or just a blurry backdrop. Places, I think, need people.

So, here's where you come in ...

As some of you may know, The Record is embarking on an interesting exercise to create a newspaper — both in print and online — that is meaningful to the community but that uses little or no proprietary software.

None of that really means much to you, I imagine, since what we do behind the scenes is hard to picture, let alone explain.

The part we are more excited about, however, is the part that harnesses the power of the collective voice — you, the readers.

My piece in the initiative is to entice you fine people to send me photographs and thoughts about your travels in life from the literal to the figurative.

Through Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, I've asked folks to send me photographs from the places they’ve seen, as well as photographs from their weddings. I've asked for brief accounts of memorable moments from each event to share with our readership.

I've been honored with a small but healthy response. I admit, reading what’s come in so far has been a treat.

I hope for more. There is still a week left and I want to ask you a favor.

I want you to become part of the story I've been telling here these past few years. Please send me your photographs and thoughts. If you need assistance — scanning old photographs or even putting your thoughts into words — I humbly offer my help.

I promise to treat your memories with even more care than I give my own.

To participate, e-mail Siobhan Connally at or call 518.270.1285

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