Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Farewell, old buddy


An era is ending today at the Observer-Reporter. My good friend Stan Diamond, who has toiled for many years for the newspaper as a writer and photographer, both in the Greene County and Washington offices, is taking a well-earned retirement. I’m not sure about the precise number of years Stan has been at the O-R, and I don’t want to suggest that he’s old, but when Stan started in the business, Gutenberg was still working out the bugs in the concept of movable type. Seriously, Stan’s been here for about 40 years. I’ve been here about half of Stan’s tenure, and there are plenty of stories to tell. One that stands out was the time Stan went to take a photo on Maiden Street, where a young boy, tragically, had been stuck and killed by a car while riding his bike. Stan took a variety of photos and suggested a wide shot of the scene with the bicycle and the ambulance in the frame. Instead, I chose a close-up shot of the crumpled bike, and near the bicycle was a bit of the poor child’s blood. Stan warned me against using it. I thought the photo, while painful to look at, was a stark reminder of the dangers of children riding bikes on busy streets and the need for helmet use. Well, a number of our readers didn’t take kindly to our use of the photo, and since Stan’s name was in the caption, he’s the one who was the target of the hate letters, phone calls and, in one case, a subscriber who returned a comment card with three words on it: “FIRE STAN DIAMOND!” That’s when we started calling him “Lenses of Death.” He found it a lot less humorous than we did. Some of those letter writers and phone callers thought Stan was the devil incarnate, so they must have found a bit of justice a couple of years later when an editor botched a photo caption and labeled a picture as being taken by “Satan Diamond.” With his retirement, we lose not only a talented photographer, but one who truly cared about doing the best he could every day for the newspaper and its readers. Stan probably has nightmares about taking photos of high school play casts and standing on the sidelines at high school football games in the pouring rain, but we editors, in news and sports alike, knew that Stan would always do what he could to bring us back a good photo. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from the man, or how much I’ll miss him.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stan is a great man. His work will be missed.

January 27, 2009 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Murphy's Cats said...

I remember that one well! People were really, really upset about that picture.

So Brant, I'll bet it was you who decided to put a deer carcass on the front page too.

Congratulations Stan on your retirement! Your shoes will be hard to fill. Best to you in the future!

January 27, 2009 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Stan... if you are reading this... I lived in your apartment for two years. I know this because I continued getting your junk mail. I am sorry I never forwarded it along.

PS- my wife knew that you were a photographer... the assorted holes in the ceiling (from hanging stuff) made her nervous. She thought you may have left behind hidden cameras.

January 27, 2009 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stan is a class act. Years ago, Stan told me about his being bothered by a kid trying to sell magazine subscriptions to him. Stan shot down every suggestion the kid made. Persistent, the kid said, "I have one magazine everyone needs -- TV Guide."

Stan said he opened his front door, invited the kid in and told him to look around the place.

"Do you see a TV?" Stan asked the kid. The kid didn't.

Stan didn't own a TV. Maybe that's why he kept his sanity all these years.

Good luck, Stan!

January 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my knowledge, Stan still does not own a TV. He is a great man and his work ethic is a great example for all. If only all the O-R staff of reporters and photogs would follow his example of always coming to work and trying to do the best he can every day. And, he was nice to people and not self-absorbed in the least. A class act. He will be missed.

January 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stan is sure a better man than some jerk named Newman. Of course, any man is a better man than Newman.
Jack

January 28, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started working with Stan in 1977, back in the days when we had a darkroom and printed photographs by hand. His camera at the time looked pretty much like the one in the photograph, it was a 120 mm and it took him a while to finally switch over to a 35 mm. I believe Stan had been with the O-R 42 years and that includes many, many nights of being called out of bed to shoot an accident, fire or crime scene. For years police depts. and the coroner relied on us to take photographs for them and some of those scenes were pretty grizzly! One thing for sure, we can rely on Stan to read the O-R. I asked him yesterday if he had a TV and he said no. And doesn't have plans to buy one in his retirement either! Christie Campbell

January 28, 2009 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger randilee said...

Good luck, Stan. I will miss seeing your photos in the O-R. I really enjoyed working with you during my days at the newspaper. You were patient, kind and always professional. Randi

January 28, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Richard Dirt said...

I liked this story, a lot lot...

Congrats on the retirement.

I'm always very proud to know some cats that work for a "newspaper" as opposed to a dumb blog or whatever.

This story really gives insight to that relationship in terms of "we bring you the news, but how much of it do you really want?"

January 28, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jack, Why are you picking on Newman? What do you really know about him? Not much i guess. Either that or you are just an idiot. i vote for the second one.

January 28, 2009 at 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Stan.

I'll miss all his great sport shots. When I've seen him at a Wildthings game, I used to try to pick the best picture in my mind, and so many times, that would be the picture in the next days Observer.

January 29, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

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