This summer, INDY creative director Nicole Pajor Moore and I spent some time at the Durham County Library poring over this newspaper’s archives.
It was remarkable to see records of how much the Triangle has changed over the last 40 years, but also to see how much it has stayed the same—the INDY is still reporting on some of the same development, environmental, and labor issues as it was four decades ago. Our state legislature remains similarly dysfunctional.
But we were there on a mission, and that was, as a follow-up to our INDY40 package earlier this spring, to capture photojournalism from the INDY—the Independent, the Independent Weekly, and finally INDY Week—from that span of time. That’s what you’ll see in the following pages: stories brought to life from the trained eyes of some of the most talented photojournalists working in the state.
As with print journalism, it’s a strange time for photojournalism. Aside from the ubiquity of cameras—everybody has one on their phone these days—the specter of AI looms over the craft as the internet did over print media in the early 2000s, threatening to change it in fundamental ways. But as with print journalism, there is still a hunger from the public for visual storytelling that demands the human skill. As you’ll see in this photo retrospective, sometimes images say things that no words can.
We begin the retrospective with photos from the INDY’s very first photography editor, Alma Blount, and end it with a selection of photos from our current staff photographer, Brett Villena. We’ve tried to include images from all of the paper’s photojournalists from the years in between. We also want to recognize all of the paper’s talented staff members—art directors, illustrators, graphic designers, and other creatives—for their less visible but crucial roles in providing compelling visual experiences to our readers over 40 years.
Villena is leaving the paper this month to begin a new chapter in Wilmington. We wish him all the best and are grateful for the work he has done at the INDY giving our stories lives beyond the newsprint page.
We’ll hire a new photographer soon, and our creative team and I feel confident that the INDY will continue to be celebrated for its photojournalism—alongside its award-winning reporting—for many decades to come.
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