Leave 'Em Laughing

This issue marks a changing of the guard of sorts. For almost six years, Chris Edwards’s photographs have occupied the back page of this magazine. We know that lots of people read magazines back to front, which means that a lot of you are used to starting your Charlotte magazine experience with one of Chris’s beautiful, evocative, and sometimes funny photographs. You’ve seen a flag hung at a construction site hours after 9/11, a beached blue boat, Conover’s "gourd lady," cranes battling in the skyline, revealing details of public art. His work has shown us little pieces and grand vistas of our city — vantage points that few of us would ever have seen if not for Chris’s camera and eye.

"This kind of creative freedom is something every photographer longs for," Chris told me. "I had a good run, but I’m excited to be moving on to more extensive projects, and to focus more on the feature content."

As he has been for a decade, Chris remains our staff photographer, so his work will continue to appear elsewhere on our pages. But starting this month, associate editor Sarah Crosland’s column will take over the back page slot. Sarah has been on staff for two years, contributing in a number of ways. For example, she may be the country’s only combination style/food editor. And now she can add back-page columnist to her résumé. But she insists she’s not letting it go to her head.

"Charlotte tends to take itself too seriously," she told me. "I won’t be following that trend." Expect her to offer a slightly warped take on each issue’s content or the hot story of the day. "The magazine is full of serious stories — sometimes I even write them," she says (this month she profiles a band on the make, page 36). "But I see this page as a chance to have fun with stuff happening in Charlotte and with life in general."
In this magazine, we have called Charlotte the city too busy to laugh. And I think most of us could use a good chuckle right about now. Bring it on, Sarah.

Also, please allow me a bit of horn tooting. In early June, we learned that writer Jeremy Markovich, who is also a news producer for WCNC, won a national City and Regional Magazine Association award for his January 2009 story on Trevor Thomas, the blind Charlotte man who hiked the Appalachian Trail. That’s the city magazine world’s version of an Emmy. Jeremy’s story is also a finalist for a Green Eyeshade award from the Society for Professional Journalists, as is Michael Kruse’s May 2009 piece on NASCAR. Kruse’s story, titled "After the Crash," also picked up a gold GAMMA Award from the Magazine Association of the Southeast, which was one of five GAMMAs the magazine garnered, including a bronze for General Excellence and Miriam Durkin’s gold for her piece on artist Andy Braitman. (You can read all these stories and more online.) Whew. OK, I’ll stop now.