Photography: A view of the community’s soul

My first thought when I read that the Chicago Sun-Times had laid off its entire photo staff was that I was glad I never had to make that kind of move. (To say nothing of publicly exclaiming that it was a good thing.)

Now this telling (and damning) meme is going around comparing the front pages of the Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune the morning after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. As they say, “This is what happens when you lay off your entire photo staff.”

I write this now because one of the best photographers — no, journalists — in the business, Jerry Wolford, is having a show at the Greensboro Historical Museum beginning next week. (Here are some of his photos.)

Coming up as a reporter, I didn’t always understand or appreciate photography. It took schooling from Rob Brown, the N&R’s photo director, Ben Villarreal, the design director, and Jerry, among others. I hope that eventually I treated our staff photography right.

What I ended up learning is that the best photographers could do what reporters, even the best ones, couldn’t: capture a community’s soul and lifeblood. That is Jerry.

Now I appreciate being a reader of the News & Record so I can see Jerry’s art. (And Joe’s, Scott’s, Lynn’s and Nelson’s.)

Go see the show. It will be worth your time, seeing a collection of some of the best journalism in the country. (Not hyperbole.)