August 22, 2017

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It's in the details

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/2/2009 (3114 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A promise is a dangerous thing, as we all know.

Just ask any politician this during election time, or anyone who’s been in the crossfire lately for being caught in an untruth.

However, upon The Back Story’s blog launch, I am going to do a risky thing I am sure I’ll regret: make two promises. Why the need to blog, you rationally ask, in an age where many feel the need to over-share details on their breakfast cereal preferences or benign musings on why they will or will not be going to see Shopaholic?

Well, here’s promise one: I will never, ever blog about my breakfast cereal preferences (yuck).

The truth is, I asked my editors for a blog because the sweetest part of my job is those tales you love to tell post-shift over a glass of wine or three about the story behind the story.

And, this brings me to promise two: There is always a story behind the story on what I cover on as a general assignment reporter — some of which I can share, some of which I can’t. (Before I go giving the wonderful sources who sometimes give me information a heart attack: Calm down, guys, not those ones.)

Frankly, those little war stories each reporter collects are what makes reporting the best job on earth and give you texture — a beating heart — in all your copy. If I can share just some of those tales to get you on the newsroom floor, I might get to share some of the magic behind the curtains.

And if that makes you feel a bit closer to what I cover, well, heck, I’ve done my job.

(My heart always breaks on the little stuff, not the big stuff, anyways — it’s the details that make things meaningful, I’m convinced.)

Which brings me to this, here’s my Back Story for today: Maurice Bruneau, take a bow. After tracking Maurice down through Winnipeg’s close-knit street photography group, I had the pleasure of chatting with the man who gave Brian Sinclair a very dignified public face after months of Sinclair’s name being bandied around in the HSC ER waiting room debacle.

Look at Maurice’s absolutely staggering work and you get to see the gloriousness — the fabulous richness — in the portraiture of people he would say most of us see through every day.

Check it out: http://flickr.com/photos/mauricejaybruneau. The shot of a man sprawled from a wheelchair made my throat squeeze with shame.

I am not surprised that Maurice truly saw Brian Sinclair, because his straight-from-the-heart work shows an inherent respect for the people he takes the time to document. Want another? Check out Susan Scott at http://www.ucalgary.ca/events/node/341 for a taste.

Here’s the detail that killed me: This Monday night, Brian’s brother Bradley Sinclair sat in his wheelchair and stared at the photo, after Booth Centre staff brought it to him.

He’d never seen it. He couldn’t tear himself away. He’s still grieving.

And Maurice will send him copies so their family gets to keep that gorgeous picture of Sinclair, a man they already loved and knew.

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