Berentson acknowledges with a smile that he’s “missed a day or two along the way,” but eight years and almost 4,000 images later, his commitment to the digital chronicle still finds him swinging the strap of his camera bag over his shoulder each time he leaves home.
“I would use the expression ‘labor of love’,” said Berentson of the website, “but the reality is I love posting daily images that reflect life in and around Anacortes. From Cap Sante panorama to Homecoming parade, trail walk to Chamber of Commerce meeting, AnacortesToday gives me opportunity to share glimpses into life in a very special American community.”
Berentson is a fourth generation Skagit County native, born in 1952 in the hospital once located where the City Library stands today. Childhood memories include walking from his 33rd Street home to Mt. Erie School on an unpaved street. Ace of Hearts Creek ran through the back yard and Sunday afternoons were often spent at Grandpa M.O. Berentson’s massive home next to the Lutheran Church on “O” Avenue.
“I had an awesome childhood – years I have come to appreciate even more as I grow older and compare notes with others who were not as fortunate.”
Circumstances took the family away in 1960, but Berentson “always knew” he would return to his hometown, and he came full circle in 1980. A photography “hobby” during college years turned into a profession/obsession during a journalism career that included 10 years off and on working for Wallie Funk at the Whidbey News-Times.
“Wallie had a passion for photojournalism,” said Berentson, “and he encouraged all of his writers to hone their photography skills as well. “It was very difficult for me to set the camera aside for a while when I went to work as a staff writer for the Skagit Valley Herald in 1980.”
“I still love talking to people of all ages and backgrounds,” said the self-employed PR consultant, “and I still get great satisfaction out of opportunities to take a photo of my new friends and acquaintances, too.”
Look to a recently-redesigned AnacortesToday.com and you will see clear evidence of Berentson’s heart for Anacortes and his fellow Anacortesans.
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” said Berentson. “I love the redesign the How It Works crew has done – and as always I’m looking forward to framing up tomorrow’s images. I’m also grateful to a city full of people who invariably say ‘Yes’ to my request to being part of the AnacortesToday adventure. It’s been a great run and there’s no end in sight.”