Every year, I look forward to one look back: the Missoulian photographers’ collection of favorite photos from the past 12 months, displayed as a collage in our newspaper (and here) and as an audio slideshow online.
They are beautiful photographs, of course, incredible really. Funny, tender, chest-thumping, heartbreaking, in turn.
But what draws me to these pictures – the year’s work by Tom Bauer, Michael Gallacher, Linda Thompson and Kurt Wilson – is how honestly and intimately they tell the stories of our lives in western Montana.
Look at the faces of our children: innocent, ornery, delighted in the “magic” of a simple science experiment. Look at their courage in the face of great, even unspeakable challenges. See the joy they bring us all: dancing on a midsummer’s night.
Look at where we live: the silent stillness of mountains and valleys at nightfall, a heron’s awkward and awesome flight. An eagle plucking its prey from a frozen river. A windbreak of neon palm trees. How did we end up here? So blessed to find such a place.
Look at one another: a woman and a big cat watching government meetings in bed, football players signing their names on babies, grown men baying like horses. Grieving widows. Cowboys and craftsmen. Patriots and heroes. The fallen. And the victorious.
Look at these photographs and remember the year just past, and how we laughed and cried and held onto each other and to this place. How we made a home in these mountains, together.