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.
Labels: Life in General