Editor’s letter

Friday, June 08, 2018

Hi, friends:

Occasionally for this editor’s letter, I like to interview the photographers who take the images that accompany our stories — sometimes those photos really drive the stories, as is the case with this week’s cover article about Travis Enders and his former teacher-turned-foster parent, Kim Kretzer.

I love the photos that Sarah Crosby took for this piece by Sarah Robertson. Sarah C. is a talented, young photojournalist who’s kind of old school in her approach: She knows the value of simply showing up and hanging around … sometimes for hours. The result: She captures life as it’s lived, not performed, a skill that seems rare in this age of Instagram and perfectly curated Facebook and Pinterest pages.

I tried to get Sarah C. to comment on her process here, but she was out of the office this morning, so I asked photo editor Carol Lollis for her thoughts about the photos of Travis and Kim. “Sarah has a real ability to be a fly on the wall, and you can tell that she’s capturing real and genuine moments happening between these two,” said Carol, who helped her select the best shots, which appear in these pages. “It’s hard when you’ve been involved in a story to stand back and choose your best images because you get attached to images from when you were there. The ones that we chose catch real and different moments that end up telling a full story.”

Sarah C. faced an additional challenge with this story: The same night that she photographed the South Hadley High School graduation ceremony, in which Travis walked with his high school class, the Gazette was covering eight other graduations around the Valley, and she had to photograph the South Hadley ceremony broadly for the daily, as well as specifically for this cover story, before racing to the next graduation ceremony on her list. “She did a really good job of juggling the needs of two very distinct stories,” Carol said.

I personally love how she caught all the in-between moments. Ceremonies are great, but they’re usually not the heart of a story. Her photos really speak to the meaning of family and home.

Speaking of home, I hope you enjoy Naomi Shulman’s latest essay about “stalking” the woman who lived in her childhood house. Well, stalking is a strong word — I know many people who are curious about their old homes and who lives there now. 

I’m getting close to the deadline here, so a couple more things: Make sure to check out the new children’s book, “Backyard Explorer: On the Nature Trail,” which I immediately brought home to show my kids, and which we plan to bring along with us to various hiking spots around the Valley this summer. 

For poetry lovers, we’ve got Easthampton’s Gary Metras as this week’s “Art Maker,” and music lovers can read all about the multi-genre music festival known as Antenna Cloud Farm, featured in Ken Maiuri’s “Tuned In.”

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Brooke Hauser