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Please don't take my Kodachrome away...

On a cool, fall evening in 1981 Simon and Garfunkel had their reunion in Central Park (where it is not safe to wander after dark!) I had never seen the park as filled with people as I did that day. I had never seen that many people packed into one place. There was an excitement in the air. This was an unprecedented event. Simon and Garfunkel, the long broken up duo were reuniting just once for a free concert in Central Park. I went over with a few friends. The was a buzz, an excitement, in the air that could be felt for miles. People of all ages, hippies, preppies, parents, grandparents, teenagers, young children packed the Great Lawn. It was a scene like no other. It was something I had never seen and was like nothing I have seen since.

That summer I had gotten my first camera. My first grown-up camera. The gift that would perhaps, forever alter the way I saw things. Then, much like now, my camera became a part of me. It didn't define who I was, but it certainly was an extension of who I was, and who I would become.


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Looking at the world through the lens of a camera had me see things in a whole new light. I started not to look at the over-all picture, but saw the smaller, finer, details. This is still my favorite way to point and shoot.  I went through rolls and rolls of film, and my father never complained when he brought them to Duane Reed to be developed. He never complained about this hefty financial investment. I think he saw talent. Looking back at those early photos I see the talent.

My camera traveled to Europe with me. Of course it too wandered into Central Park, and to Newport and wherever else I may have had the privilege to go. My camera went to Arizona, flew high and low into the Grand Canyon (after landing I learned that I had forgotten to load her up and that the beautiful shots would, sadly, only remain in my head.) My camera came with me to shoot the damage caused be a great and tragic fire that devastated our then Newport home on Christmas Eve. This was the first time I truly saw how looking through the lens changes the way you see things. Walking up to my bedroom which was converted attic space, I could see the clear, bright blue sky in through the large hole the firemen had created. All around the blue there was nothing but black - the charred black ceiling. I was not sad. I did not cry. I was fascinated by the tiny details I saw for the very first time.




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After that day my photography style changed. I started to focus on specific pieces of the larger picture. A leaf on a tree, a rock on a beach, a glass on a table, a piece of the tennis court shot through the white mesh rope of the net...



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My camera came with me on my Paris honeymoon. I had just turned 30 and her pictures were as colorful and glorious as they had been over 15 years earlier. We shot Giverny, the Louvre, the Eiffel tower - the cafes, and the people. Oh how fun I had shooting the people. With my zoom I shot an older gentlemen who was eating strawberry ice cream. The photo focuses on his Roman nose as he's about to take a bite. He's truly enjoying the cold sweetness. The picture is so clear you can see the chunks of strawberries.


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I loved my black and white photos as much as I did my colored ones. It should be of no surprise that I would love photography. It almost seems I should. My grandmother, La Jolie Grandmere, after all, grew up in the house right next to where George Eastman lived. Her father and George were fantastic friends.


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Alexander found my camera yesterday. It was in the basement not very well taken care of. She had gotten tossed to the wayside when I got my digital SLR. We opened her up and saw the old roll of TMAX still looped in. I wondered what I had captured... something I hoped never to forget, I am sure. Something I surely did forget. The lens and the case were lightly covered with a dusting of fine sand from my summers in Maine and Newport. There was a bit of mildew in the lens. But other than that she works well still. I'll have to see where I can pick up some film these days. It saddens me that Kodak is filing for bankruptcy. The small bright yellow boxes were such an important part of my youth and surely changed the way I looked at the world. Another piece of my past is gone... please don't take my Kodachrome away...

Have a fantastic Monday!

XOXO


Jessica

And she goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper...

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