You’d think with a title like that, that this column would be completely pictures, but I’m no photographer and Barb Layton would probably send me a very nice, but concerned email, asking me where my real column is. And Barb, who is a very good photographer, would also politely suggest that I not quit my day job, or in this case, my once-a-week column job.

We have some amazing photographers in this county. You don’t have to look around Facebook for very long to see that we have citizens who are extremely talented at capturing the lives of JCO citizens at all stages. They seem to have a sixth sense about how to handle fussy babies, distracted toddlers, uninterested teenagers, nervous engaged couples, joyful married people, and ecstatic families.

And when they take those photos, they also showcase the best of Jackson County: places like Cedar Lakes, or the Riverfront Park. They capture our beautiful falls, our snowy winters, the first bursts of spring, and (shaded) sunshine of summer. With every picture they take, they help show why the JCO is the kind of place you want to live, and in an increasingly image-driven world, that’s incredibly important.

For some of you of the pre-iPhone generation, that’s kind of a foreign concept. I’m old enough to remember having to take film to Phil’s Pharmacy, waiting two weeks to get it back, and hoping whatever you took on your camera (that was only a camera) turned out. No filtering, no photoshopping, and certainly no autocorrecting. You got back some slightly blurry, somewhat out-of-focus, red-eyed pictures, and you loved them. Not because they were perfect, but because they were way to remember good times and good people. I have a whole set of “that might be the President’s blurry head” pictures from when George W. Bush visited Ripley, and I cherish them, because even though I know they aren’t great, they are a great reminder of a really good day in our town’s history.

That’s why I want to take a second to shout-out Clara Tinney Mullins. Some of you know Clara from her work at City National Bank, but I’d bet dollars to donuts you’ve seen a picture she’s taken online. At just about every event we have, you can find Clara on the sidewalks and frontlines, capturing the important moments in parades or at Charity Challenge. But she also captures the parts that really make us special: the people who live here.

Clara has a real knack for finding the joy in the people that are attending an event. She helps paint our town in its best light (and she actually knows what that light is. You want to find out if you’re dealing with a professional photographer? Ask them to find the good light), and when people search out Ripley and Jackson County on Facebook, they’ll see us at our best. And seeing us at our best makes people want to be a part of our community, start businesses, support our charities, and help us grow as a county.

So photographers, professional and amateur, don’t ever think “People must be tired of seeing my pictures. I shouldn’t…” Yes, yes you should. Post your pictures, tag our town, and keep showing everyone why you love living here, why we all love living here, and why someone looking for a home might just find it in the JCO.