Friday, July 18, 2008
A photo that screams, wow
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Photographer Christie Campbell steals the show in a retrospective exhibit that opened today in celebration of a daily newspaper’s 200th anniversary.
Her shot for the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa., captured a man’s raw emotions in 1988 as he slammed his fist on the hood of a car that collided with his brother’s motorcycle, and killed his sibling on the spot.
“It’s the best photo we’ve ever run,” said Tom Northrop, publisher of the mid-sized family-owned newspaper.
The staff selected 60 photos to include in the show at Washington and Jefferson College, including one slick birds-eye view of a huge crowd that came to Main Street to celebrate the first fluorescent streetlights in Pennsylvania. Their glow cast eerie shadows on the buildings and people in the small city named after the nation’s first president.
The newspaper was founded in a partnership of two entrepreneurs from Greensburg, Pa., William Sample and William Brown, one that lasted just 18 months. It appeared Brown had issues that weren’t good for business, Mr. Northrop said during the opening reception for the photo exhibit.
“He was a man of unfortunate habits,” he said.
The Northrop family has owned the newspaper for more than half of its history, which is something to be proud of in today's climate of shrinking newspaper circulations. In 1970, there were 1,200 family-owned daily newspapers in the United States, he said. Today, there are fewer than 150.
Fortunately, there are working O-R staffers such as Campbell who remind readers of the lasting power of a still photograph during times when citizen journalists and the Internet are putting so many other newspaper employees out of their jobs.
The show is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through July 25 in The Rossin Ballroom, 60 S. Lincoln St. (Route 19), Washington, Pa.