Unboxing Will Steacy’s “Deadline”

From 2009 to 2014, Will Steacy photographed the Philadelphia Inquirer as it passed from one investor to another and slowly descended into bankruptcy. Deadline is the result of that effort: news stories, photographs, advertisements, a whole newspaper edition about the death of the newspaper, printed as the last run of the newspaper printer…

It’s a masterwork.

I don’t pretend to have read the whole thing, but the various stories I skimmed were all excellent reminiscences of the good times at the newspaper and of watching its decline from the inside. The comprehensiveness and meta-ness about it is a testament to editorial photography and journalism, and Mr. Steacy deserves every accolade he can get for Deadline.

Spend enough time with it, and you’ll end up with black fingers, and pretty good idea of what all fed into the decline of newspapers across the country. Insofar as I haven’t read it all, I can’t be sure, but I expect that “the Internet” wasn’t the only thing to blame.

From concept to execution, Deadline hits all the right notes: the photography and writing are solid, as you would expect from newspaper folks, and make no mistake about it, Deadline is a newspaper, from the ink on the fingers to the rustle of the paper, to the little holes in the edges where the paper went through the cutters and trimmers.

It seems that there are many copies available, so go and pick one up from the author if you have any interest at all in photobooks. As a representation of what’s possible in the genre, this one is not to be missed.

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