This small south Arkansas city was once one of the top oil producers in the nation.
There are a few Arkansas institutions — like Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Wal-Mart Corp. and the Clinton Presidential Center — that I sometimes think could exist quite happily anywhere else. Swoop down with a flock of helicopters, pick them up, and deposit them in Colorado or New Hampshire or Oregon, and the folks inside would say “Whew, that was a helluva trip!” and then get back to work. In a state where so much seems to be here because nobody else would take it, that might be my highest compliment.
To that short list, I have to add Democrat-Gazette photographer Ben Krain. Now in his 10th year with the DoG, a recent surf by his website proved Krain’s genius as a news photographer, and reminded me of how lucky we are to have him.
Forgive me if I gush. I’m a fan.
Winner of several awards, including the 2004 Photos of the Year Grand Prize presented by Editor and Publisher magazine, Krain’s photos (on subjects like Katrina, the circus, Afghanistan, Cuba and the annual Burning Man Festival held in the Nevada desert) are full of light and equally bright emotion: despair, hope, sadness, or just the simple joy of doing. Sometimes so well-composed that you have to convince yourself they haven’t been subject to some kind of computer-generated monkey business — that there could ever be a moment when color and angle and humanity could drift together for a second and form something like a little symphony — his photos, time after time, manage to catch lightning in a jar.
If you need a bright spot in your day, cruise by Krain’s website, www.benjaminkrain.com, for an extensive gallery of his photos.
Spring has sprung!
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