Southeast Missourian photographer retires after 43 years

RAW: Fred Lynch retires from Cape Giradeau newspaper after 43 years

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - For more than four decades he's helped tell the tales of southeast Missouri. You may not know his name but you've probably seen Fred Lynch or his work.

He's been behind a camera at the Southeast Missourian newspaper for 43 years. This week, he's retiring.

Heartland News Photojournalist Don Frazier sat down with Lynch to reflect on his career behind the lens.

"I'm in Illinois boy and I cross that bridge to Missouri and I've been here ever since back in the 1975, but I got my degree in journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale," Lynch said. "I worked at my hometown weekly newspaper on weekends. On Friday nights I would go to the football games at my high school and on Saturday morning I would travel four miles up the road and use the darkroom at the Verdin Recorder, a weekly newspaper, and as I recall by the time I left there they had elevated my pay to minimum-wage.  It came time to graduate and I looked around and I saw there's a newspaper in Paducah and there's one in Cape Girardeau, so I sent out a couple resumes, got a good response from John Blue at the Southeast Missourian and I came over here and I've been here ever since. 

At a young age I was very captivated when I saw a photograph appear magically in the tray of developer. A family member had his own darkroom and I visited one, visited him one day and I was just captivated and spellbound from that moment on, and when I had the opportunity to do that same sort of work, I said wow, this is, I just, I had, I had to put my hands in to the magic.

I would have to say I learned something new every day. Now, have I learned enough to get by, without question, but I mean if that's all it was about I would say well maybe I'm done, but I figure as long as I'm learning something and having a good time at it, why quit?

Quite frankly when you get to be 65, as I did here a couple months ago it gets you thinking just a little bit, and I would expect that not having, oh, and people have asked me, what are you gonna do that you're retired, that's the standard question, and I would immediately say, I know what I'm not going to be doing.  I know that I'm not gonna have to be here or there with my camera living other people's lives through my camera lens, which hasn't been all bad.  I appreciate the opportunities that I've had because of my position in the community at the newspaper here.
To be invited the people's homes and I get to see a side of people that, you know, really show others and I've always considered a privilege to be able to document people being their best."

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