A CAMPshot is Worth a Thousand Words
Wikipedia tells me the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is believed to come from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers’ Ink. The December 8, 1921 issue of that magazine carried an ad that promoted advertisements on the sides of streetcars. It read: “One Look is Worth A Thousand Words.”
Barnard also had an ad in the March 10, 1927 issue with the caption, “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words.” In the ad he called it a Chinese proverb, according to The Home Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Familiar Phrases, “so that people would take it seriously.” After that, the proverb was popularly attributed to Confucius.
Since the first issue of this year (not including this one), I’ve processed, near as I can figure, 1,289 CAMPshots. The smallest issue of the year, back in the winter, had 99 CAMPshots, the other nine issues ranged from around 125 to 150 per issue. The whole process is extremely time consuming, made all the more so by our requirement of having names with each photo.
The CAMPshots process begins with a variety of volunteer photographers covering as many events and places as possible in the period between each issue (in the summertime that’s every two weeks). Though many of us pitch-in on this effort, nobody does it like Tony Burns, who frequently turns in over a hundred photos (names included) by himself.
After a first cut, all the photos have to be named and coded and then processed for both print and web publication. After I finish the layout of the, usually 8-10, pages in the magazine, Kathy Weir takes my carefully coded lists and pages and types all the names. As a deadline comes to an end I add the names to the layout and all that remains is the proofing—a never ending process when names are involved. That, of course, only gets us through print publication, and all the photos (and their captions) still have to be added to the website.
Why do we do it? Well think about it. According to good old Fred, since last January we’ve shown in photos the equivalent of 1,289,000 words—unless, of course, we go by the “Ten Thousand” version which would make the number 12,890,000.
I’m joking, sure, but I’ve watched, time after time, as people pick up a copy of Letters and flip first to the familiar, black and white pages of CAMPshots. They give us a snapshot of our community—of what our community was doing at a particular time in our collective lives.
This summer I’ve met so many young people enjoying the first year or two of their Rehoboth experience. For them, this summer is all there is. They have no memory of what was, or used to be. They know nothing of the Renegade, or The Strand, the Surfside Diner, the Westside Café, Square One, Ground Zero (the restaurant, though many barely even remember the World Trade Towers), or any of the other “hot spots” that have come and gone over the years. For them, Rehoboth is a new invention and one I look forward to experiencing through their eyes as the years go by.
At the same time, we have a retired community living here fulltime. Though some are newcomers to the area, many have journeyed to this place for decades and know its history like their own. Many have lived through every stage of its growth and development—though some went kicking and screaming through the downtown revitalization program that created the beautiful Rehoboth Beach we know today.
Times change, and people come and go, but our CAMPshots show us where we are as a community. In them we find both the ordinary events of our lives, and the monumental ones like the signing of SB121 and the building of our LGBT Community Center. In them we find everything from governors and drag queens, to leathermen and families with young children. Right next to one another, we find outrageous house parties and quiet memorial services, bare-chested boys and butch women, huge events and intimate dinners. CAMPshots celebrates our divas, our performers, our artists, our DJs, our leaders, and our volunteers.
Life in a resort town always has a transitory nature, though we are blessed to have a stable community surrounding us, people “come and go so quickly around here,” as Dorothy noted to Glinda in the Wizard of Oz.
One of our great strengths as a community—and I’ve said this many times in these pages—is that we connect to so many different places up and down the East Coast. So many people claim Rehoboth as a part of their lives: weekenders, seasonal renters, vacationers, beach house families, and full time residents and retirees. Our resort status ensures that our make up is far richer than most towns our size.
I hope that shows in our CAMPshots. I worry when the balance is not right between men and women, or we’re not as racially diverse as I would like. I know that sometimes the same people are in too many photos and that I don’t have a good system for finding those of you who have never been in them. Still, our CAMPshots capture a moment in time, and a place that is special in ways we are still discovering.
It may not come from Confucius, but a CAMPshot is certainly better than 12,890,000 words!
Murray Archibald, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach. CAMPshots: Emilie Paternoster, Monica Parr, Governor Jack Markell, Jeff Moore, Claire Ippoliti, Sharon Messina, Paulette Lanza, Greg Brown, Marshall Sanders, Campbell Marshall.