Someone Else’s Mom: Was (Is) Really Incredible

Mom at the enlarger, 1949

I made an attempt in this photo to create darkroom-like lighting. I used just one 100-watt bare bulb positioned where the safelight normally hung, and of course I placed the camera on a tripod. Remember, we didn’t have auto-focus cameras then, so the solution was to place something where the subject was to be in the photo, (here, me!) go to the camera and focus on it, screw the self-timer in, rush back into position, look composed, and wait for the shutter to click. What I did was rest a yardstick on my chair leaning on the enlarger about where my head would be, and focused on it. To look authentic, I should have had a negative image showing in the easel. I thought about it at the time actually. Fussy, fussy!
For some reason I must have reversed this image, because the uniforms I wore at work buttoned on the opposite side. Although the darkroom was at the doctor’s office where I worked, I did my darkroom work after office hours. I was his “right arm” and he kept me hopping all day long. But I stayed after work in the evenings or on Saturday afternoons if I wasn’t needed on a home call after Saturday morning office hours.

I stumbled across this Flickr photoset called Mom’s World a day ago, and have since returned more than once. Joey Harrison has lovingly compiled pages of photos and accompanying text all about his mother, who just happened to be an incredibly beautiful woman, a photographer and is just… amazing in every way. The images start in 1935 and seem to be concentrated around 1950; it’s tough not to fall for this beautiful girl. Set says, “Before I came along, and with diminishing returns thereafter, my mom pursued photography passionately and studiously. She created a large body of work centered around her life with my father and her own family.”

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