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In Search of Holyoke

April 14, 2016

JenRosa-041.jpgJenny Rosa was about 14 years old when I took this picture 26 years ago. Jenny, If you see this, send me a note. I would like to make your portrait at 40.

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I spent a lot of time hanging out on Center St. with my 8X10 Deardorff camera in the 1990s. All the buildings are gone now; they were replaced with smaller houses. Below, Wanda is hanging out with her children.

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I felt welcome in “the Flats” of Holyoke. Carrying around 70 pounds of view camera equipment made me part of the entertainment in the neighborhood. I always handed out pictures created from my earlier visits.  I don’t think my little digital camera makes the same impact when I photograph now.

BayWindow_014.jpgI tried to photograph inside as much as possible. I wish I could remember where this apartment was. I like the face in the lower right corner of the photo.

Below, a young man and his stereo.

stereoman-042.jpgA friend pointed out how the absence of people holding smart phones and portable digital screens makes these scenes from 1990 more poignant and intimate.  ManRing-044sm.jpgEven while this gentleman, a well known personality from around Center Street, is posing for his formal portrait, I feel connected to him through my large box camera. And he is addressing the camera, not distracted with a digital device.

If I am remembering correctly, Vivian Leskes interviewed his grandmother Antonia.

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