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End of the Year for Stephenson

December 26, 2005 by Herald Leader  
Filed under Behind the Photo, David Stephenson

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People are always asking me which of my photos is my favorite. I never have a good answer. It always changes, and there are so many that I like for so many different reasons. So from 2005, I’ll pick one to talk about.


Sometimes you like a photo more for the experience of taking it, or being there, or meeting someone, regardless of how the picture comes out in the end. In this case, I was photographing the sunrise at Gethsemani Abbey in Trappist, Ky., in November and thinking to myself how beautiful and peaceful it was out there, and how lucky I was to be there. The only thing missing, I thought to myself, was another person to be in the photo so I could show them enjoying the same moment I was. Before I could even finish that thought, Eddie Ralston crested the hill and sat down to watch the sunrise. We didn’t speak until he started back down the hill, but then had a nice conversation about the beauty of that morning and what it meant to us.

This photo was part of an equally satisfying project that I worked on with Charles Bertram. Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures was first printed in the Herald-Leader but then expanded and printed in book form and published at the beginning of December. At the last minute, I was asked to shoot three of the eleven locations – in three consecutive days no less! Each one of those days was spectacular. Certainly they are three days I’ll remember clearly from 2005.

(Coincidentally, another one of my favorite photos – one that is hanging in my home office, was taken on that same hill at Gethsemani. In 1994, at my father’s invitation, the Dalai Lama visited Berea, Ky., where my father was the President. After his time in Berea, we a jumped in a helicopter and flew to Gethsemani where his holiness was planning to visit the gravesite of an old friend of his, Thomas Merton. The picture on my wall is of my father holding hands with the Dalai Lama as they walk from the helicopter where it landed at Gethsemani. You can see the same statue of St. Joseph in both photos.)


My congratulations go out to the rest of the HL photo staff for their great multimedia shows. I have had a little experience putting a few of these together, so this task probably wasn’t so daunting for me as it may have been for some of the others who were faced with an entirely new way to tell a story and present photos. We in the print media are faced with a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to the new ways of story telling on the internet. My hope is that you’ll be seeing more and more of it on our photo website.

To see my 2005 Year in Review multimedia presentation, click here.

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2 Responses to “End of the Year for Stephenson”
  1. Smitty says:

    Fantastic job, David. I was really impressed with both presentations by Janet and Mark.. And now I’m totally blown away by yours. Excellent work! I really liked the approach to storytelling.. Simple and effective. I can’t wait to see Bertram’s year ender.

    CYA around!

  2. Tracy Kershaw-Staley says:

    David – This is a great idea. I can’t wait to watch all of them. Thanks to all the photographers for taking the time to put these together. What a treat.

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