100 years ago today, my Grandmother Grace was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. The picture below is probably the earliest recording of her: it was taken at her grandparents house in SLC. It is also the oldest negative I have in my collection of family photographs. The portrait was taken on sized 132 film, and was likely one of the first photographs taken on my great-grandmothers Kodak Folding Pocket camera that took postcard sized photographs. I now have what few remaining negatives my great-grandmother shot with this camera, as well as the camera itself, which we think is still in working order (but I will know when I actually finish my test roll of film. More importantly though, I still have my grandmother.
As I pack my bags to head over the mountain range and see my extended family for a weekend of birthday festivities, the realization of how lucky I am strikes me again. I can still ask her to tell me stories of growing up on the pains in Alberta, Canada. Or about when the Columbia Basin Irrigation project started and her and her husband placed the irrigation system in their once dry farm in Quincy, Washington. I can ask her about what it was like to be a press photographer in the 1960’s, when the “old boys club” had barely begun to be questioned. I can ask her these things and have more answers I would ever had just by looking at old photographs and making educated guesses. So happy birthday, Grandma Grace! And here’s too many more.