Thursday, February 14, 2008

The impact of a photo

I read Newspapers! That might seem like a weird thing to state – especially in this day and age but it is appropriate.

I grew up in a house where newspapers were where you got the day’s news. We had the local paper delivered (and for a few years there I was actually a paperboy) and my father picked up the New York Times every day on the way to work. He wasn’t a big believer in having the Times delivered back then; I think he was worried that it might come too late. He read it on the train to and from the city and usually handed it off to mom when he got home. She would read it upstairs in her chair and if she missed a day they would pile up until she had an hour or two to go through them. The big day was always Sundays. My father would get up early and head down to the local stationary store that opened early and would buy the Sunday Times in all its glory. It didn’t take long for him to convince the owner to give him the first half of the paper on Saturday when he picked up that day’s paper. For those of you too young to remember, Sunday newspapers are delivered in sections, the arts and leisure sections, as well as the ads and classified are delivered between Thursday and Saturday and the shop owner had to put them all together when the news section arrived on Sunday. This worked great for my father since he and my mother would work on the New York Times Crossword puzzle. Not together I might add. Dad would get the puzzle first and do all the easy words, in pencil, and then Mom would get it either Saturday night or Sunday morning. She would do the rest of the puzzle and would usually complain about a few of Dad’s words. Always fun to watch the complaining. My father has solved this in the advent of computers and scanners – he now makes a copy of the crossword puzzle – one for him and one for mom. When I started working on them in college he would always complain that I took all of the easy words.

I always found the New York Times hard to read since I have a tendency to go from cover to cover and in a newspaper where “all the news that’s fit to print” is that can take a long time. It didn’t help that it didn’t have any comics. How can it be a real newspaper without any comics?

When I went to college the newspaper of choice was the Boston Globe and then once I was in New Jersey it became the Star Ledger. I still prefer the Globe and when we are in Boston I always get it. It is a great compromise between the New York Times and whatever the local paper might be. The only issue these days is I have almost no time to read the paper.

This leads me up to what sparked this post. I was reading Scott Kelby’s blog which sent me to a new blog – PhotoWalkPro written by Jeff Revell. He has a post from the other day about an ad campaign for a Cape Town, South Africa newspaper, The Cape Times, which is terrific. The ad campaign is titled The Day Before and focuses on images taken the day before a tragedy happened. In this case there is a photo from September 10th, 2001 of a kids soccer game in a park with the twin towers in the background, one from November 21st, 1963(JFK), one from June 15,th, 1976 (Soweto Riots in South Africa), and the last one from August 5th, 1945 (Hiroshima). The copy of the ad read, “The World can change in a day, don’t miss your daily edition of in-depth news”. The photos are terrific and have a huge impact once you understand the context. Feel free to post you comments below.

It really is a brilliant set of ads and one of the reasons I love newspapers so much. There is something to be said for holding a newspaper, the smell of newsprint although as my mom would say the newsprint I left on the hand towels), and just the joy of reading.

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