3 GREAT STORIES: Starring sparkling photos and an OKCupid genius

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

In my final edition of “3 Great Stories” before I leave for the Olympics, I decided to keep it simple.

“Simple”, as in two beautiful photo albums and one enjoyable, quirky story.

In all cases, these stories should stop you in your track.

Sochi’s indigenous people (1/22/14, Big Picture): So many terrific pieces — and some terrifying ones — have been written about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

This photo album from the Big Picture (shot by photographers from Reuters) finds a unique, powerful angle.

Here are 23 photos of Sochi villagers, and they capture everyday life in a poignant manner; call it “Russian Gothic”. You will see a elderly woman with her great-granddaughter, a pair of animal farmers, villagers looking at artwork and watching a play rehearsal, and even a man taking a photo with an iPhone (it’s not all Gothic in Sochi).

Considering all we know about the place that will host the Olympics in two weeks, I found this gallery refreshing because it showed me what I did not know.

The week’s best photojournalism (1/24/14, The Week): In previous entries about curated photojournalism online, I overlooked The Week.

The site posts a a weekly compilation of the finest photojournalism to be found, and unlike the Sochi gallery, its photos have no concurrent theme. They simply exist, and they are beautiful.

Each photo is wonderful, but I’ll name-check two: Mike Segar’s snapshot of a Northern cardinal perching on a New York tree branch, and Bobby Yip’s capturing of a bead of sweat falling from the forehead of tennis star Rafael Nadal.

How a math genius hacked OKCupid to find love (1/21/14, Wired): OK, here’s the quirky article.

And “quirky” barely begins to describe it.

Kevin Poulsen of Wired Magazine writes a detailed piece about a young man and plucky computer hacker named Chris McKinlay. Frustrated with the dating process, specifically the seeming ineptitude of online dating services, McKinlay does what any hacker would do: he takes matters into his own hands.

What he does and how he does it are difficult to quickly explain. Thankfully, Poulsen is up to the challenge. He lovingly details McKinlay’s tactics while finding compelling ways to feature him as a protagonist.


Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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