Saturday, April 23, 2011

Farewell to Tearsheets

Time was, a photographer or reporter would keep tearsheets, or clippings, of his or her work as it was published. You'd use these to try for another job or a new assignment. Or they might just pile up in a satisfying way while putting on the patina of history when they slowly yellowed. The magazine covers and page-one photos were the best.

For me that first started to change about ten years ago. Though my photos were still appearing in print, it was easier on my filing system to skip the paper and just scan each new cover or other tearsheet, or ask the art director to send me a pdf.

This week I realized even those days are ending. What if a photo is "published," but never actually printed? Of course that's been happening for some time — just this week I had an online photo essay at But on Tuesday I got an email from an iPad-owning friend. He said I had the lead photo on the NY Times — in that paper's iPad edition! He took a picture of it displayed on his iPad and emailed it over.

Very cool — it was a photo I'd taken just a few hours earlier. But what am I supposed to do with something like this? Will it ever be something to show the grandchildren? And how about that old-fashioned yellowing?

Maybe I can just sepia-tone it in Photoshop after a year or two.

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