Circa 1985 — Contrary to what people might think selfies are not a new phenomenon and were common enough at The Province newspaper when I was there to be banned by one news editor. Specifically it was the selfie taken by staff photographers when flying with the Snowbirds or the Blue Angels while the plane was upside down, landscape below, the face of the photographer in the foreground. We all took it anyway, making a print but not handing it in with the assignment, keeping it for ourselves. In my case the plane never flew upside down but the print was on the wall in our basement for some time and a visitor, when seeing it, asked if I was a pilot. I said no it was taken when flying with the Snowbirds. He said incredulously, “you flew with the Snowbirds?”. I looked back and was about to say, “sure, hasn’t everybody” but managed to stop myself. It was one of those moments when I was reminded just how different my job was from that of most people.
September 1971 — Just after taking off from Edmonton’s city airport a twin otter lost power forcing it to make an emergency landing in a schoolyard where it skidded through a fence ending up on a sidewalk in one of the city’s working class neighbourhoods. This would be big deal today but back then it was ho hum. Notice that residents are walking around the airplane, that there are no attempts by police to cordon off the area, and there wasn’t a mass evacuation of everyone living nearby.
I was in the news room of the Edmonton Journal just about to leave for an advertising assignment when word of the crash came over the police radio. The photo editor said to drive by the crash, grab a picture, and head over to the advertising shoot. For some reason I phoned the office while at the crash probably to get them to send a reporter out. The photo editor was extremely annoyed because I’d been there all of 15 minutes. People were waiting at the advertising shoot and not pleased so I was ordered to leave immediately.
However, I did have the last laugh as the picture won Canadian Press Picture of the month and it was the first time the Edmonton Journal had won the award. Because of the circumstances around me getting the picture the photo editor wasn’t as happy as he should have been. He may have got back at me by telling CP that while taking the pictures I also rescued some small children from a nearby building and this was included in a story about the award. I’d done no such thing and was very embarrassed having it in the story.
Almost forgot, no one was hurt and there was little damage to the plane which is still flying in Isreal.