I've spent the better part of the last four days trying to verify a photo. It all started when a page opened up in the June schematic and we needed a short and sweet, one pager ASAP. It just so happened that I had a short pandemic piece, featured on a previous blog.
The Man Who Knew
Although I had my dramatic flying skull painting to anchor the piece, I thought it would be important to see an actual photo of Dr. Loring Miner, but when I Googled his name, the images were pretty thin. There is a photo of his twin daughters in a corn field and then there is this image:
Although striking, this photo had two problems. Number one, it was questionable to me, because, although there are several examples of it in search, when you click on it, you get a site that says "Past, Present, Future" which seemed to me to perhaps be a stock photo archival? If so, that is the kiss of death for a history magazine. So, I really needed confirmation from someone, so I found the Haskell County, Kansas Historical Society but they were shut down because of the Coronavirus and although I left a message they never called me back. I tried a couple other angles in Kansas and came up empty there as well.
The other problem with this photo is, it's too small, and we need a higher resolution (at least 200 dpi, ideally 600 dpi: dots per inch) in order to run it in the magazine. So now, not only did I need verification, I needed someone to send me a higher res version of the photo.
My production manager was on my case: "When are we going to get that filler pandemic piece? We go to press tomorrow, you know."
Finally, on Facebook, a friend and semi-relative of mine, who lives in Kansas, Deb Goodrich, offered to try and track down the veracity of the photo and she started contacting and phoning all her contacts across the state.
Yesterday morning, she told me she was close but so far, no cigar. By Friday afternoon, I couldn't wait any longer, so I did a quick Whip Out portrait, based on the photo in question and figured it would work as "artistic license" if it turns out the photo is not actually of Miner.
The article has been approved and is on the way to the printer. Just now (Saturday morning, 9:15 A.M.) I got the following message from Deb:
"Okay just spent a FASCINATING hour on the phone with Dr. Miner's grandson, Bill Miner, who is retired and living in Florida. He has never seen that photo but says it IS his grandfather."
Deb is the host of the popular TV show:
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