Helena resident capturing essence of city through social media

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is how one Helena resident has decided to capture the essence of the city for 365 days by using the popular social media platform Instagram.

The social media photo essay dubbed #Helena365 will help paint a vivid picture and capture moments to show what makes Helena unique over the course of a calendar year.

The idea was started by Helena resident Brian Puckett, who is one of many that enjoys being involved in his community. From serving as a past treasurer of the Helena Elementary PTA, coaching soccer, serving as Curator for the Helena Earth Kind Rose Trials or as Vice Chairman of the Helena Beautification Board, Puckett sees a lot that goes on in Helena.

“I just wanted to show the world what Helena was really all about,” Puckett said of the social media photo essay.

Armed with a new iPhone, he set out on Jan. 1 to capture his first picture for the project and as of Tuesday, July 24, Puckett has snapped 204 photos representing one for each day of the year.

“It’s an effort to capture all the people, places, things and events that make Helena a special place to live,” Puckett said. “It’s a photo a day that captures our past, our present and a glimpse of the future. My work on the Helena Beautification Board has shown me that people and places truly are profoundly connected and trying to capture the essence of this town is what I hope to accomplish. It’s a sometimes-quirky, sometimes serious look at places, at objects and buildings, at landscapes that form the backdrop for our lives.”

His recent aerial photos of the old Helena train trestle and of the main intersection in town he dubbed “The Intersection of Happiness and Frustration,” garnered attention from followers around the nation. Most know that the best part of Helena is its people. It’s a cast of characters that are unique to the town. Recent photos of Ron Holly, Helena’s self-proclaimed welcome center ambassador, and American Idol star Bo Bice have captured the hearts and minds of followers as well.

“These photos are an invitation to explore our town, visit our businesses and to get to know our people,” Puckett said. “I’ve had people tell me they’ve visited Helena because of this essay. If that’s happened, I think I’ve accomplished my mission.”

Follow Puckett’s photo essay on Instagram @Jbpuck or simply by following the #Helena365 hashtag.