Working at a newspaper in the digital age, many photos never make it beyond the computer screen. In fact, outside the newspaper world, photographs have taken on a different dimension since our culture transitioned away from film.
With a memory card, Mom can take 500 vacation photos, but few of them ever leave the camera.
This ethereal existence for the modern photo lends a new power to the printed image.
The truth of that power didn't really hit us until earlier this week when the first gallery-sized prints arrived for "Faces of Rim Country."
For months, the staff of the Payson Roundup has been taking photos of people we feel represent our community. The people we photographed are not the kind of people who get a lot of publicity, because they do not seek it.
We did not photograph the mayor or the high school principal or the police chief. Though these people are essential to the fabric of our town, we wanted to dig one layer deeper into the people who drive Rim Country behind the scenes.
Though we have been working on this project for weeks, we were not prepared for the real impact it would have until we saw the final product. It is a powerful thing to look into the faces of a sanitation worker, a woman at the fast food drive-through window, community volunteers and children -- people you see every day, but may not really see them.
In all, we chose 25 portraits from all walks of life as our "Faces of Rim Country."
Printed large they have a presence rarely seen in a fist-size photo published in the paper. You can see the sparkle in a local woman's eye. You can see the scars on a working man's hands. Because it is a photo, you can stare and no one will tell you to look away. And in this staring, you learn something. You read life stories in those faces and in the faces of all those people hanging together in one room, you will be able to read the collective story of our community.
We are very proud of this project. The hard work paid off.
On Friday evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m., we will host a reception for the photography display in the meeting room of the Payson Public Library, at 328 N. McLane Road. The reception will double as a fund-raiser for the library expansion project.
Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. $1 raffle tickets will be sold and can be used to bid on any of the 60 biographies, new and used, donated or purchased for this purpose. There will also be one silent auction item. Payson Roundup editor Autumn Phillips will donate her time to interview you or a family member and write an heirloom-worthy, short biography of the person interviewed.
The "Faces of Rim Country" photo project will be published in the Tuesday, Aug. 8 edition of the Roundup. The actual photos will remain on display for the month of August at the Payson Public Library and afterward in the lobby of the Payson Roundup.
For more information about "Faces of Rim Country," call editor Autumn Phillips at 474-5251, ext. 115.