I was a terrible photographer

Thank goodness for digital media. You can see right away that your photos are terrible and delete them immediately. Back in the 80’s, we had film. My first camera was an Instamatic that took 110 cartridges. The viewfinder was to the side of the lens, and there was a place on top to attach a cartridge of flash bulbs. What a waste of plastic (I’m thinking of the flash bulb strips, but really the film cartridges were also a waste).

Anyway, on my visit to my parents last week, my dad tried to get me to take a box of stuff back home with me. I took some letters and some photos, and left the rest to be mailed at a later date.

Here are three photos from that box. They are from a family trip to Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

I don’t remember exactly what year that was, but I remember that in Charleston the tour guide joked that it was fitting that the yanks (us) were sitting in the back, and pointed out the doors painted “Haint blue” (it hai’n’t green, and it hai’n’t blue. Sort of a dark teal color.) I also remember that there was a problem with the first hotel room and we either changed rooms or maybe hotels.

I remember that in Savannah we stayed in the Hyatt, which was much fancier than our usual motels, but my mom worked with Hyatt in Buffalo in her job in either advertising or PR (I don’t remember which it was at the time, she did both for the same company at one time or another) and got a deal or something, and we also got a wine and cheese platter as a surprise in the room. I think that trip marked my first experience at a Japanese restaurant, and I remember liking the “tofu soup” (miso).

I am amazed looking at the photos that I saved, however. I must have saved them all. Some are incredibly blurry, and I still saved them. Some are completely unidentifiable, just darkness, or very very blurry people. A bunch have already going into my recycling box at home, like the photo of a nearly blank wall with a calendar open to October taking up about 1/8 of the frame. Also, the one that seems to be an empty board game box with STAY ALIVE in large letters printed on the inside (and possibly the instructions for the game) but the photo is overexposed and possibly double-exposed, so it is hard to tell.

Other photos are carefully labelled with names. For example, this one:

I think this photo is from 1983 or 1984. The “nobody in particular” probably means I did not actually know that kid’s name. He looks like he could be Douglas Welch, maybe. [2/22/16 Douglas Welch confirms that it is indeed him] Why did I want a photo of the library ladies at school? Why are the other kids in the photo at all? In fact, Woinam shows up in a surprising number of photos.Why?

Here is a photo that was printed in May, 1980. I was 9 years old.


I like this photo, but I have no idea where it was taken, or who it is. I have another sort of near photo of a person from that event, and several photos of some far away people from that date, one of whom might be Julie Huberman. There’s a blurry photo of a woman at the edge of a frame, as if she doesn’t want to be photographed. There is also one of some kids on some sort of parallel bar apparatus. What was that and why was it there?

I do know that May of 1980 would have been nearly the end of 4th grade, and I was at Waterfront School, so this was probably some sort of class trip. But the rest is a mystery.

2 Responses to “I was a terrible photographer”

  1. Doris Says:

    Aren’t you glad Joe talked you into taking some of this stuff back home with you? And to fill in some gaps: In Charleston, we woke up in the middle of the night with water falling on our heads from the room above. In the morning, we got our money back, and moved!

    It was also in Charleston that we ran into our good friends the Chapps…neither family previously aware of each others’ vacation plans. What a surprise to hear someone calling our names in the streets of a strange city!

    And, I was in PR when Hyatt Regency Buffalo was a client. Really nice people, interesting work.

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