Mandy's frail hands reached out, clinging, in a desperate embrace for help. Seeing the moment unfold in front of me, I was drawn to the despair in her hands and made my picture to begin a story of drug addiction in Clark County.
I share this moment because each photograph published in our annual best of photography issue has an equally compelling story, or provides an emotional connection, good or bad, we can all relate to at some level.
The photography staff at The Columbian worked on numerous stories and projects over the past year. From Steven Lane's story-telling images of the Camas High School football team and their quest for a state football championship to Zachary Kaufman's inside look at inmates celebrating Asian Pacific culture through chanting and dancing, each assignment and each image provided readers with a better understanding of our community and the people who live in Clark County.
This is why the still image, why photography, is closest to my heart. I believe photography can have a positive impact on our community and help us better understand ourselves.
I visited Mandy recently and she spoke confidently about her addiction recovery — now 5 months sober, Mandy told me how the published story and photographs have provided her courage and strength to continue her recovery from drugs and lead a healthy lifestyle.I hope in the coming year, photography plays an equally rewarding place in your life. Keep shooting!