Saturday, June 21, 2008

Re-Meeting Nakki

Twenty-seven or so years ago, Nakki Goranin was an artist-in-residence with the Vermont Arts Council ... A woman of great passion, admitted obsession, and inspiring energy ... She took on a group of teenage photograpy students from Mt. Abe's "gifted & talented" program -- a group that included myself, Bill, Craig, and Miles ... It was there at her side that my fascination with photography really took root.

Then decades passed ... Literally ...

Recently, I reconnected with her on LinkedIn, then exchanged emails, meant to attend her showing on Pine Street, and then saw a County Courier article about a book signing in Johnson ... Indeed, author and artist Nakki Goranin would be speaking and signing copies of "American Photobooth" ...

So I went.

Ryan's Books in Johnson, VT is a charming nook nestled in an old brick bank (I believe, as it had a vault amongst the shelves) ... Nakki looked not a day older as I entered the shop. She was seated at a table amidst stacks of her book -- a position befitting a woman whose work is praised by none less than the curators of the Smithsonian, who has been written about by John Updike, and who has studied photography, anthropology, and education ...

It was great fun to reconnect -- as she hasn't changed much over the years, but I now have grey in the goatee and daughters older than I was when I was her student (pictured in their on photobooth image at right). We had a chance to chat, we smiled at a memorable photoshoot incident that best remains undocumented given uncertainty regarding the statutes of limitations on inadertently tresspassing, she kindly signed my copy of her book, and then I settled in with others (a retired editor of Vermont Life, a local professional photographer, a friend of Nakki's, a curious afficiando, a German woman who used to accompany her father as he refilled photobooth processing chemicals, etc) as the event unfolded.

Nakki spoke informally and ardently -- about photobooths, about those who made them, about those who had their picture taken in them, about the process of writing the book, about the evolution of photography ... Her knowledge and passion and eloquence and simple sincerity were immediately familiar -- clearly, this was "my" Nakki from so long ago. I stayed as long as my anti-social hobbit tendencies would allow and then bolted, book in hand, back to my world -- all the better for having mustered the nerve to re-meet Nakki Goranin.

No comments: