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2021 SPE Annual Conference: CANCELLED Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Kam Jacoby

SPE Member since 2004
Member Chapter: West


Layers: Composite Photographs from Northern Santa Barbara County

During a dinner party conversation in my parents dining room in about 1969, a composer friend described a fantasy recording instrument sensitive enough to read the sounds etched into the walls by the impact of sound waves. That possibility of being able to listen to the history of a place--playing back an echo of the past--has resonated in my work and the way I think about photographs. I imagine that photographs provide proof of a moment in time but also, by inference, evidence that all other moments exist.

Each image in the Layers project is a collaboration. With this group of works most of the creative decisions that normally belong to the artist/photographer (subject, point of view, light, camera, time) were made for me decades and, in many cases, more than a century ago. I am simply, miraculously, revisiting moments in time, trying to share an experience with men and women that I'll never meet.

When I am making my version of the photographs, I try to imagine the original scene: what the weather was like, what sounds were in the air, what people were thinking and feeling, and what world events were shaping life in this small corner of California.

Surf Beach Mouth of the Santa Ynez River, Lompoc, California 1912 / 2007, Swimmers include Marguerite Rennie (Hall) and her sister Hattie Rennie (Smith)

Leela McAdam (McCabe), Winner of the Best Decorated Bicycle Award in the July 4, 1900 Parade, J Street and Cypress Avenue, Lompoc, California 1900 / 2009

Ballard School Circa 1900 / 2008, School Street, Ballard, California

Lompoc Theater, North H Street, Lompoc, California 1954 / 2007, Frances Flores (Goyer)

Mrs. Paulmar's Music Class 1926, 200 Block of South J Street, Lompoc, California 1926 / 2009

Lucy Bendasher (Rudolph) at Her Mothers House, Central Avenue and Artesia Avenue, Lompoc, California 1900 / 2009

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