SOMETIMES THINGS JUST turn out the way they’re supposed to. This year’s “Arkansans of the Year” feature? It’s one of those things.
When we finalized the concept for the shoot with photographer John David Pittman, we had aesthetics in mind. We wanted the photos to be moody and dark, yet veiled in color—the opposite of last year’s light-and-bright, high-contrast shots. And though I sat in the studio as several of this year’s images were made, watching as the acetate-covered strobe lights flashed bright, it wasn’t until I saw the proofs together that I realized the significance of the photos we were creating.
Scrolling through the thumbnails, I noticed our seven subjects seemed to glow, their faces emerging from the darkness of the background, awash in light. In each photo, the Arkansan of the Year—someone we chose because we’d been inspired by their actions, whether big or small, over the course of 2017—was cast in brightness, though the space around them remained shadowy, somber. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like it had to be this way. These are the people who’ve given us a lift. Who’ve encouraged us. These are people who deserve to have a light shone on them, and all the good they’re doing for Arkansas.
We may not have intended for it to happen that way, but we’re sure glad it did. It was an accident, but on purpose.
Katie Bridges, Editor
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