What’s in a name?


I have just taken a photo of you. You were standing strong in front of a crowd of strangers and I listened as you spoke up for those without a voice.  Maybe I saw you standing hours in line looking for something to help yourself feel stronger.  I saw you laughing or crying, playing with your child, or celebrating life as only you can.  It doesn’t matter.  I approach and introduce myself.

“My name is Kris, and I work for The Providence Journal.”
Not the most articulate of opening lines, but here I am, standing in front of you with two or three cameras hanging from my neck or shoulder, a Providence Journal ID clipped in full view.  I make myself as obvious as possible in the hope you will feel at ease enough to answer my next question.

“May I get your name, please?”

I ask this almost every day, often more times than I can count.  Sometimes I get names, other times I don’t, as in this case.  When people ask me why I need their name, I tell them the truth.  Without a name to go with your face, you don’t exist, you aren’t real, you are just a possible truth, an unsigned review, an unnamed source, a media manifestation that in a world of Internet hoaxes and reality TV will give people one more cause to wonder, “Is this image true or staged?”

During interviews, a journalist wants a face to go with quotes to make the words grounded to the real world and not appearing as something pulled from the imagination.

A name gives a photo that same weight.  I want people to know that you are their neighbor, their friend, their unsung hero. And, like the rest of us, you have a name.

copyright 2014  Kris Craig / The Providence Journal / 2 Much Time design