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December 31, 2013

Going Out Smiling

Man Smiling 2

Criticism is a tough business. No matter what and how much you love, you can’t help but be a thorn. It’s for that reason this jumped out at me. True health and sanity depends on two things: perspective and a sense of humor. How fitting this hit the radar today. As much as we and others put the business and craft of photography and photojournalism under the microscope (or, through the grinder), the sense here is that this discipline merits the investigation, the good spirit, the edge of gold.

And I have the golden fortune of having many, many friends, colleagues, collaborators and like-minded visual enthusiasts to thank. Without sounding like NPR, and begging apologies if I leave anyone out, I want to recognize: Bag team members Meg Handler, Jonathan Gibby, Teresa Mahoney, Loret Steinberg and Cara Finnegan, the returning Sandra Roa, and a welcome to new producer, Zara Katz; Karen Hull, for her prodigious contribution over the years; our fabulous contributing writers, seasoned and new, including: Karrin Anderson, Bob Hariman, John Lucaites, Mike Butterworth, David Campbell, Valerie Wieskamp, Paul Lester and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa; our esteemed senior photo contributors and visual sages, Nina Berman and Alan Chin; our wonderful photojournalism contributors: James Whitlow Delano, Stacy Kranitz, Rita Leistner, Jon Lowenstein, Ruddy Roye, David Degner and David Schalliol. I want to acknowledge our talented design and technical team, including Chris Walbert, Dustin Pfeifer and everyone at Drexler, Steffen Tengesdal and Chris Karr.  I want to thank Jeff Roberts, Digby, Ron Coleman, Craig Brownstein, Marc Sobel and Janis Edwards for their engagement. There is also my thoughtful and patient kitchen cabinet to acknowledge, Sara, Al and Leo. And then, there are the unsung heroes of Bag, our commenters. Channeling “Price-Waterhouse,” here are the last eighteen or so of our more regular regulars as they enlivened the site with their thoughts over the last couple weeks. That includes: Scarabus, BooksAlive, aSouthernMan, Bystander, Cactus, Stan B., LanceThruster, bks3bks, Ian T, GeorgeMokray, quad, black_dog_barking, cam, Susan Donovan, Robert Gumpert, elocatillo and stevelaudig. And of course, there are all our readers and supporters to thank.

We had a fabulous year. Exiting 2013, I want to go out smiling.

  • Mona

    Happy new year Michael and fellow baggers! First thing in the morning I check if the world has burnt down the night before then The Bag! Thank you for the great posts!

    • Michael Shaw

      Well, I imagine we’d still be in the cosmos somewhere, looking at the pictures of it. Thanks for the good wishes.

  • Scarabus

    Thinking of how hard it must have been to hold the smile long enough for the exposure without its seeming feigned and artificial, I get extra feel-goods from this photo. Just as I do from the substance and genuine good will you express above, Michael.

    Like Mona, I always check The Bag first thing in the morning, and it always starts the day on a meaningful note. This post has done the same, but for the whole coming year. Grazie mille!

  • black_dog_barking

    I want what that guy had for breakfast. Damn he looks happy. Hale and hearty too. Gracias beaucoup for your work here Michael.

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