It's odd not being involved in the coverage of the Haiti earthquake disaster. Sitting safely in my cozy home office, I've been browsing the work of many photographers. Most notable among them are the images of Damon Winter and Ruth Fremson from the NY Times and Carolyn Cole and Rick Loomis from the LA Times.
Carolyn and Rick's postings on the Times web site are the best collection point I've seen. Their ability to go into chaos and find poetic photographic order is stunning. It's an an innate ability they've both always had but have refined their seeing over the years.
I remember helping Carolyn develop and edit a story about the Rio Grande River more than 20 years ago when she was at the El Paso Herald Post and I was at the Albuquerque Tribune. Both of those papers are gone, sadly. Her essay was a sweeping piece about the fragility and essence of such and important river. Years later as I was judging POYi there was a set of pictures out of Africa that seemed familiar for their stunning seeing of color, dimensional compositions and precise moments. Sure enough, they were Carolyn's pictures.
And Rick was a student at Western Kentucky when he approached me to look at his work during the Mountain Workshops. That was about 1992. His work then had an unabashed, in-your-face and make you laugh or cry quality that is true today.
Seeing photographers mature and understanding what helps them in the process has been the best part of what I've done. The work is important, of course, but it is the connection with people such as Carolyn and Rick that makes a work life more than work.