As a former photojournalist, I've had my images in print so many times it took a while for it to sink in that my feature in the brand new anniversary edition of "Local Leben," a magazine about local life and art in Dodge County, WI, is my first independent photography editorial. As a bonus, my image, Winter's Glow Beneath Wooden Fence, is the cover image for the January-February 2015 issue.
The best part is I didn't even have to ask for it. This came together rather quickly for me. In 2014 I believe, Jim Dittmann, the magazine's publisher, had seen me at a meeting of the Lightcatchers photography club in Beaver Dam and liked my work, so he contacted me in December to see if I wanted to be the Viewfinder featured artist for the upcoming anniversary issue. Heck yeah!
While I was happy to be featured, the call to be on the cover didn't come until January, kind of out of the blue while I was visiting my sister in Lake Geneva for her birthday. So I asked which image and again I said heck yeah!
Nobody ever told me anything about a Delightful Decades unveiling party for the cover, so I caught an announcement of it from a Local Leben email updating me about my business listing on the site. I checked it out, and how many times do you get to go to the unveiling of a magazine cover on which your photo is featured? I hope more than once, but no way was I going to miss this.
It was a cold and windy Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the Wayland Academy gymnasium, but at least it wasn't snowing. The event was fancy. Hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, silent auction, some people dressed in clothing reminiscent of their decades. I took out some new Ralph Lauren.
In the middle of the gymnasium at Wayland Academy, standing proud in the spotlight, was an easel, cloaked in a black curtain, under which hid an enlargement of the magazine cover, not to be peeked at.
When it was time, co-founder and CEO, Erik Dittman, gave a quick talk and then counted down: 10-9-8-7-6-5.... The old heart was pumping a bit faster with excitement. I was certainly proud to be there and enjoying every second of the experience but at the same time remembering the night wasn't all about me. It was also about the people who gave me the opportunity and who are running this magazine. But come on, I'm on the freakin' cover!
And then the girls dropped the curtain. Whew! There it was, beautifully cropped and in perfect color. I was asked to quick come up and wave, drinking in the applause. After a few more words from Erik, the crowd came up and signed the cover, I adding my autograph in the lower right.
It was a little easier to break the ice after having been recognized as the cover artist, so I talked with a few more people who had been identified as the staff of the magazine, and people came up to me wanting to know about my photography, which I was glad to tell them. The cover enlargement now hangs in the Local Leben office with previous covers. Maybe next year it will be voted on as one of the favorites.
Thanks to Local Leben for the opportunity and experience. The magazine features content about local life and art from local contributors and is distributed throughout Dodge County for free and supported by local advertisers. The latest issue is at the Beaver Dam Library.