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A look back at now

I emerged from taking pictures at an electronics store into the bright afternoon glare of a mall parking lot. Momentarily stunned by the brightness, I then took in the cars and light poles, and thought: "This is important."

The scene's absolute ordinariness made it profound. The situation might not have struck me this way had I not recently had lunch at a clam shack. A photo of an oceanside clambake adorned a wall. There was nothing remarkable about the photograph: not the composition, not the quality of light, not the angle.

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However, viewing the photograph 55 years after it was taken, the ordinary becomes historical and thus, "important." In the photojournalism business, we always look for a "news peg" (a timely angle) to hang a story on. Perhaps we need to document more of today's mundanities, thinking as well of future "historical pegs."


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