Monday, July 6, 2009

I've been shooting photographs for the Free Press for more than three decades now _ ever since Nov. 17, 1975 _ so it's inevitable that I find myself revisiting versions of stories we have done in the past.
Like the story Brian Ojanpa and I did about the St. Henry Catholic Church near Le Center celebrating its 150th anniversary that appeared in the July 6 edition.
We were the reporter/photographer team that did a story about the church for their 126th anniversary 24 years ago.
Relatively speaking, Brian and I are the the newsroom old timers, both coming to the Free Press in the 1970s. We like to think we offer what charitably might be referred to as "historical perspective" for our office colleagues.
During our original visit, I took several photographs including the one shown here. It kind of had an American Gothic feel to it and even 24 years later remains one of my favorites.
Brian had pulled out a clipping of the article and we speculated that it was highly unlikely that after more than two decades, any of the subjects were still with us.
We showed the clipping to the three parishioners who were there to be interviewed and they confirmed that all four gentlemen indeed had passed on.
When the interview was completed, I had to make a photograph of the three men to accompany our story. I chose to pose them inside rather than going to the front of the church.
For one thing, I am not inclined to go to same visual well I have visited before. For another, over the years, the trees that were saplings in the original photograph had grown into towering maples and now obscured the clapboard-sided steeple.
One of the best things about this job is the people we get to meet. Our visit to St. Henry was no different.
As we shook hands with the church members, they all suggested suggested that perhaps we'd return in another 25 years for the 175th anniversary.

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