In 2004 Keaggy returned to work at the Post-Dispatch as the paper's features photo editor before once more joining Xplane in 2007. His current title is "knowledge manager," making him the go-to person for any questions regarding the internal operations of the company.

"Bill is the kind of guy who has never really had to look for a job," says Gray. "He's an artist. For him, it's never a money thing. It's being able to do what you love — be it work, his Web site or whatever."

Diane Keaggy says that her husband provided few hints that he would become the prolific project-maker he is today when the two started dating in 1996. At the time both were employed at the Post-Dispatch, where Diane continues to work as an arts and entertainment reporter. "When we first started dating our nights were spent drinking and going to concerts," she says. "Afternoons were spent hung-over on the couch."


Two of Keaggy's projects are now books.
Photos courtesy of Bill Keaggy
Two of Keaggy's projects are now books.
Keaggy's second book
Photos courtesy of Bill Keaggy
Keaggy's second book

In certain respects Keaggy's online record-keeping is little more than a 21st-century extension of the hobbies passed down from his parents. Bill and Joan Keaggy still drive around Columbiana looking for what they call "roadkill" — discarded furniture and other items — that they can take back home to repair. Like their son, the Keaggys make it a point to document all of life's details, whether it's Bill insisting that all houseguests sign their names to the kitchen table or Joan recording the exact mileage of their excursions away from home.

"We've been to St. Louis 33 times to visit Billy," states Joan matter-of-factly. "That's over 30,000 miles roundtrip. It's enough to circle the globe one-and-a-half times."

Yes, the old apple doesn't fall far from the tree, concedes Diane. But then, that's not necessarily a bad thing. "I hope our kids view the world as closely as Bill does," she says. "At its core, I see what he does as journalism. It's recording and photographing the events that don't make headlines but are nevertheless very much a part of life."

Keaggy's latest endeavor is an online slideshow of photos he's found at flea markets and yard sales called 20th Century Anonymous.

Similar projects abound on the Internet, yet Keaggy strives to set himself apart by posting one solitary photo from each year of the 20th century. To do so, each photo must be marked with a date. Thus far Keaggy has collected roughly 30 pictures, beginning with a sepia-tinged photo of a mother and her baby from 1901. The album currently ends at 1984, with a picture of an elderly woman blowing out the birthday candles on a cake.

The old snapshots naturally lead Keaggy to ponder the lives of the people who are captured on the film. He wonders if any of them are still alive today and contemplates how their photos ended up for sale. "It's probably quite sad when you think about it," he opines. "Many of them probably died without any heirs. Their photos — like their other possessions — ended up for auction at the estate sale."

Old photos like these are what first sparked Keaggy's interest in photography. He can only hope that the pictures he takes today will prove similarly inspiring to future generations.

"I remember my parents had this old photo album of my hometown, Columbiana," he says. "The photos were remarkably simple. They were just shop fronts or random people at the park in this small town. In my opinion, those photos are so much more valuable today. They document the ordinariness of the time."

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