Seeing is Believing

In my youngest years, when I wore braids and a shy smile, the few photos of me were taken by my Aunt Mary. She, unmarried, worked in the city, dressed professionally. And had a camera. She kept up with the latest technology. First, a “Brownie” camera. It was an early point and shoot. Then came the Instamatic with a crazy flash cube that rotated. My family wasn’t totally without lenses. My father had a SLR from his time overseas in the army. He had taken grainy black & white images of his buddies and the small planes he tended. When color slides became the big deal, he started taking some family pictures. But at the time, viewing required setting up a projector and screen and loading the cardboard framed film, one at a time. It was tedious. Aunt Mary for the win.

Jump ahead to the years when I was more comfortable as the person behind the lens. My early reporter jobs sometimes required that I provide my own pictures. Then into the PR world, I had my own darkroom. The mysteries of images appearing and the cutting acid smell forever will be part of my creative DNA. When digital arrived, what heady joy.

It took a leap of faith for me to do a photo shoot to update this site because I had to hand the process to someone else. I chose a photographer (Justine Johnson) who had just shot my daughter’s wedding, with great success. I figured if she could make me look acceptable when I was dressed in sequins, with matching feathered fascinator, an author photo was doable.

With said daughter in tow as my reality/wardrobe checker, I headed to Portland, Maine. I had a vision of creative gritty. I’d decided on options of faux leather jacket or Irish knit sweater, with black jeans and boots. The boots? I can’t resist sparkle, so when I found Jessica Simpson red plaid vegan with crystal belted loops, I had to have them. And shirt? I’m a fan of Gary Graham (GaryGraham422) who was the almost winner of reality show Making the Cut 2021. For those of us with lesser money for budgets he has an Amazon store with tees and more.

On a perfect September day, we traipsed around Portland’s warehouse district weaving through deserted spaces and upstart breweries. Loading docks and graffiti and brick walls. I wanted a slice of harsh reality that echoed my place in life. I’ve lived. Quite a bit.

I’ve come to appreciate, more than other things, when new endeavors spring up, especially in the midst of forgotten spaces and places.

So on a glorious day that would later end up with a seafood feast and time on the beach by our cottage, I allowed Justine to make her art.


Justine Johnson Photography

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