Thursday, October 1, 2015

Adieu, Tidewater!

Back in the early 80s, my first job was delivering The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. I was 12-years-old, knee high to a grasshopper, and eager to earn money to fund the purchase of a complete skateboard.

Each day, without fail, I filled the basket of my beach cruiser and raced through my route with finesse. I knew exactly how to bundle my papers, how to stock them into my baskets and bags with the greatest efficiency. I had the art of newspaper delivery down to a science.

With the precision of a surgeon, I learned how to swiftly handle the paper and toss it without ripping any of the coveted A1 section fronts that elegantly displayed images from some of the most talented photojournalists in the nation. At the time, I had no idea that years later my images would be displayed on this very same section front.

Intermittently throughout the last decade as a staff photographer at The Pilot, I've had the opportunity and honor to share the aforementioned section front with some of the same photojournalists whose work graced the pages I used to deliver. How times have changed.

Today, those fronts are still valuable real estate and the photographs that adorn them remain community gems. However, the paperboy is now an iconic relic of the past. The journalist furiously slinging paper and ink to make the evening deadline is sure to follow as the rate to disseminate today's news is pressed to mach speeds.

Fortunately, somewhere out there in the unknown aether, a young innovative mind is tinkering with the future. Unbeknownst to all, this individual, or these people, or this movement, will develop a sustainable business model for journalism. When that day arrives, I will be the first one to voluntarily hop back on my bike and deliver the first edition. Or, more likely, I'll be the first one to navigate the comfort of my keyboard and pay to have the news delivered to my phone instantaneously.

That said, like many of our readers in Tidewater, each morning I begin my day with the paper and breakfast. It's been my ritual for longer than I can remember. 

Tomorrow, I will pick The Pilot off of my driveway for the last time. Tomorrow, I will work my final day as a photojournalist for my boyhood community. Tomorrow, I will bid farewell to my Pilot family.

The edit of photographs below are a selection of some of the images and experiences you all have allowed me to be a part of and share with our neighbors. Thank you, Tidewater; it's been an honor.

On that note, I'm grateful to announce that I'll be taking on a new role as the Photographic Resources Supervisor at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I will be shooting, editing, managing and handling the visual branding/marketing of the college's photography efforts.

If you're ever in Ohio, look me up.

Adieu, Tidewater!

*Click on any image to view larger or begin slideshow. 


Angel "Quique" Valentin said...

Nice and felicidades RJF

Brian said...

Congrats! Looking forward to your viewing your new adventure!!

John Donaldson said...

Rich, as we say in the Navy, fair winds and following seas. We will miss your talents here in Tidewater.