Gritty.

I

t started this way. This picture was made at the very beginning of my career. I worked for a chain of tiny newspapers in rural Southwest Virginia. We thought we were pretty good and most of the time we were.

The two biggest photo subjects were sports and stand alone art. The former you understand. The latter are pictures that can be used as needed. That’s what this photograph was intended to do. A space filler.

We started a new product designed as a tab, meaning magazine style. It was really intended as another way of selling advertising. Unfortunately for the ad department, we took it seriously. We saw it as a prime display section.

We had a short deadline for the first edition. It hit me, we hadn’t used the welder yet. So, that was the cover. I followed him around for a while so I made a nice picture story which we used to fill the center of the paper.

It was printed at night when the press wasn’t running with the dailies. The advertising department never saw it until it was printed. They had multiple heart attacks and went roaring off to the publisher.

I’m no fool.

I already showed and pitched it to the executive editor and we pitched it to the publisher. When the ad manager ran into the publisher’s office and held up the newspaper, the publisher smiled and said, “pretty good isn’t it?”

He liked it so much that even though it was intended to sell ads, it would feature photos and photo stories. That was great until I realized that meant more work for me.

No good dead goes unpunished.