Archive for October, 2009


October 25th, 2009 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Technology

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) became the focus of my writing and career beginning in 1986, when Vince DiPaolo hired me as an assistant copy editor at CASHFLOW magazine. I loved technology and was one of the first people I knew to have a PC, a real IBM PC at home. EDI and electronic funds transfer, the two technical topics I covered at CASHFLOW fit my interests.

When CASHFLOW magazine moved to Atlanta, I used my knowledge of EDI to start my career as a freelancer. Initially I wrote for a newsletter called EDI EXECUTIVE, started by Vince and a Jack Shaw, an industry consultant. Later on I worked as an editor for Daniel Ferguson, another industry leader, on his journal EDI Forum, which we later rebranded The Journal of Electronic Commerce.

My first freelance article, sold on a query letter, covered EDI for Business Marketing magazine. One of my books is on EDI and the healthcare industry. I did a report on EDI and healthcare for the U.S. Congress, which was incorporated into a story on healthcare networks.

One of my favorite articles on the subject is a history piece that I wrote for Dan’s journal on contract from Vince. It’s a ghostwritten piece called “EDI at Sears: Past, Present, and Future.” I spent a bit of time in the Tower interviewing technology and business managers and learning how what was at that time the world’s largest retailer used technology to enhance business operations.

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Indiana Dunes

October 25th, 2009 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Photography

I grew up near the Indiana Dunes. As a child, we’d go out to the Indiana Sate Park to the beach. Battles between industry on the Southern shore of Lake Michigan and the preservation of the natural beauty of the Dunes were sources of conversation and concern throughout the time I lived in Chesterton. I hiked in the Dunes with my family, friends, and alone for many years. I rode my bike out there.

Most of all, I loved the sense of nature and tried to capture their beauty, desolation, and the juxtaposition of nature and industry it in photography.

As I’ve sorted through pictures and writing for this retrospective, the most of the photos themselves and the stories of how I came to take many of them will come later, as I continue. In the meantime, I have attached an incomplete article I wrote on the Dunes and the people I met while photographing them in the summer of 1983. The photo below and the photoset are from November 2004.

View more of Collin’s photos of the Indiana Dunes.

Read Dune Days in Indiana.

Food Writing

October 25th, 2009 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in Food, Journalism

I’m a closet foodie, and in college I was a closet cook. As a student in feature writing at the University of Missouri, I spent one semester writing for the food section. The news people may have looked down on it as recipe writing, but I loved it.

I found a British woman who told me all about the marvels of British cookery, which is much more pure than French cooking, with all its heavy sauces covering the food. I cooked a meat and kidney pie for the story and picture in “Blackbird to Beef.”

I also took the picture in “Confessions of a Closet Cook.” One of my instructors in the photojournalism department was absolutely appalled that a real editor would publish such an ugly picture. But then that was the point.


October 25th, 2009 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in History, Music

I hung around artists and musicians in school. I listened to concerts and records, and Indiana University is was wonderful place to listen to concerts because there’s generally several excellent recitals a night. Here are profiles I wrote of some of the artists I was privileged to have as friends and neighbors.

Jane Fox. Jane was the old lady who lived in the apartment on the second floor of our building when I moved off campus as a sophomore. I got to talking to her and found that she had been a modern dance instructor at the university for more than 50 years. It was also my first page-one feature.

Philip French. Mr. French was a classmate of my dad’s when he was at Indiana University in the 1950s. I met him several times when he came to the States from London. I remember his visit when I was a sophomore, and I asked him about the British view of the American Revolution. In his refined London accent he said, “Well, you know the British Army never lost a war. The Revolution was just one we happened not to win.” I reviewed his book of on three critics, and wrote a profile for the paper.

Paul Sturm. When I first saw him, Paul was the crazy looking guy turning the electronic dials and playing with tapes. I reviewed a “happening” he and some of his artist friends put on, and then interviewed him. He was engineer for a late night radio station, and I’d visit and talk about music and help with tape experiments. We had broad tastes, not like the narrowly focused, in his words, “jazz Nazi’s and classical fascists.”

David Baker. Professor Baker is a pioneering jazz educator and composer. He was flamboyant and mischievous, especially in a music school of symphony musicians. He was my next door neighbor and would invite me to his student parties. He called me one of the best music writers he had seen at the school.

I took his jazz history class as a junior, and during our exam on avant garde jazz, I kept turning my head and looking at him as he laughed in the back of the class. I was baffled. He’d play a piece, and we had to identify it by style. Nothing he played that day was jazz. He was joking with the symphony students, playing Henry Cowell, John Cage, and Conlon Nancarrow. I kept looking back confused because I wondered why he was playing composed music and not improvised jazz. I wanted to point that out. “You should have,” he told me later. “You were the only one in the room who knew what I was playing. I would have loved it, you dig?”

I last saw David for the first time in more than 25 years in September 2006, at the premier in Chicago of his Concertino for Cell Phones and Orchestra.