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Back at ya

The photo that keeps on going

A photo I shot a few years ago finally made its way into the newspaper last week.

I took the Pennsylvania Turnpike sign with the sun rising behind it and a barn and silo year ago with this blog first started in the summer of 2007 with my documenting a series of weekly road trips I took leaving on a different highway out of Philadelphia to simply enjoy and photograph the journey. One of those "road trips" was an exploration of the turnpike rest areas in Eastern Pennsylvania. While never appearing (as far as I know) in "print," the photo over the years has appeared many, many times online - run as a thumbnail with dozens of turnpike stories on

So, I quess it is one of the most popular images I've ever made. It probably beats my previous record-holder:

While working for United Press International back in the early 1980's I covered the successful amputation of a kanagoo's foot at the Kansas City Zoo (he had a bad infection). They fitted "Tracks" with a size 13 sneaker (that's we called them back then) so he could hop around without damaging the stump of his leg. I remember watching and waiting for half an hour for him to move into position so I could clearly photograph both his legs and the shoe.

The photo moved on the UPI wire and in the few days afterwards I received dozens of clippings of the photo from newspapers all over the country from friends and fellow photographers. Years later, after I came to the Inquirer and would visit other newsrooms around the county (we traveled a lot more back then), I would invariably see old yellowed copies of the wirephoto of "tracks" pinned up on an editor or reporter's cubicle, along with photos of water-skiing squirells, cats under bowls of spaghetti, and monkeys smoking cigarettes. It would still be at least another decade before the internet, and we would have a name for my very first encounter with "going viral."