The 33-year-old photo, signed sealed and delivered

In May of 2015, I posted a photograph of my son Ayden in a store that was closing in my mall. In the article, I mentioned how similar the photo looked to one taken of me, when I was three years old, in Centralia Pennsylvania.  I have the photograph of myself.  I did not publish it due to copyright issues. It was from a book called SLOW BURN, a 1980s photodocumentary with pictures taken by Renée Jacobs.

For those who don’t know much about Centralia, an underground mine fire started decades ago. A series of bad missteps from officials and twists and turns of neighborly breakdowns occurred, and the town went from 2000 people to … just about zero. The town has also become a tourist attraction, it’s home to the famed graffiti highway, and the movie SILENT HILL was based on it. An upcoming project promises a television series based on the town.

 

THIRTY YEARS LATER.

I constantly peruse through historical documents, not only of life itself but of my own personal existence. I can be nostalgic when unneeded.. but I also believe a bit of self recollection helps maturity.

In that regard, I reached out to photographer Renée Jacobs. It’s funny. I was pictured in the book on page 13 standing next to a borehole in my back yard, and my parents were both quoted. I actually recall it .. Vaguely at best. But I recall the moment! I remember the exact time it was taken.  It was warm.. I recall the smells..  The picture is in black and white, but I have it in my mind in vivid color.. That is probably how most of your lives are too, you can think back and pinpoint a single action during your early toddler or childhood years. Just a brief moment in time, one captured with a feeling. My feeling at the time the picture was taken: Confusion and sadness. Friends were vanishing. Houses were too.. I loved watching demolition teams come in and destroy entire blocks of row homes.. it wasn’t until I grew up more that I realized they were destroying my hometown from top to bottom.

After my contact to Ms. Jacobs, I received something in the mail, and I could not be more ecstatic.

 

THANK YOU!

Renée Jacobs sent my an autographed print of page 13, featuring the young me with wide eyes and a future to come, along with a note.

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The work on Jacobs’ website is stunning and beautiful. It may not be for the WORK atmosphere. A link to her page,  http://www.reneejacobs.com/,  comes perhaps with a bit of caution..

Renée Jacobs’ black and white fine art nude photography gives the viewer a luxurious peek into the ultra-sensual world of the feminine. Beyond sexy, her photographs are dreamy and secretive, daring and alluring. Her subjects give Renée their trust and the result is a collaborative journey which fulfills fantasies.

Jacobs’ work has been exhibited and celebrated around the world. She also received the prestigious International Photography Award for Fine Art Nude.  Her 2009 & 2010 photo calendars went to #1 on Amazon. She had work as a photojournalist. Just recently, an announcement came from Duke University: 

The Archive of Documentary Arts, a part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, is pleased to announce its recent acquisition of Renée Jacobs’ archive of her project Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennslyvania. Slow Burn, first published in 1986 by University of Pennsylvania Press, chronicles Centralia’s demise from an underground coal mine fire and depicts a singular epic event in Pennsylvania history, representing the confluence of environmental, scientific, bureaucratic, and emotional tragedies

 

I love this part of her bio: “Her first book, Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania was originally published in 1986 and re-issued in 2010 to favorable reviews in The New York Times Review of Books and photo-eye.  After a 15 year detour as a civil rights lawyer, Renée returned to photography. ”

A detour in life! One that takes you away from your passion and zeal..your Zest for life and creative spirit.

I am sure she was a fine attorney.
Looking at her photos, I am glad she returned back from the detour.

 

And Renée, I couldn’t be more appreciate and ecstatic over the personal note and photo.

Thank you.

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