A Labor of Love


As an editor, I’ve learned to love living vicariously. Other people, reporters and photographers, go out and collect material and then they bring it back to my desk and say, “Here, can you do something with this?”

Photographer David Rolfe is a born storyteller, and he’s one of the few journalists I know who’s as good with words as he is with images. When I heard he was working on this story about a group of volunteers restoring a Piedmont Airlines DC-3 — many of whom have deep personal ties to the company — I knew it was going to be exceptional. “Did you shoot any video?” I asked. “Did you record any audio?” He didn’t really have time to deal with it, so he gave it to me, and I built this little piece.

I’m not really very happy with the audio (recorded on an inexpensive Olympus; I’m pretty sure David just intended to use it for note-taking), and the video was shot in a small frame format so that it pixilates a bit in the movie — but such is the nature of our print media-centric experimentation with video on the web.

I want to believe in being ‘platform agnostic’, as they say in the business, but I keep seeing such a wide gap between what we imagine as possible and what we are able to achieve given the constraints of time, training, and technology. So I keep working to close that gap, one baby step at a time.

All that aside, this is a terrific story, and I admire David’s eye for detail, his ear for story, and his willingness to leap into the multimedia unknown.