Soon after relocating to Atlantic City, Mom got down to business staring a consultancy to the new casino hotels. After establishing her relationships around town and in the hotels, she started publishing a six-page advertising flyer and service directory. Inside the flyer, she wrote a regular column that featured local merchants, restaurant reviews, and hotel news. She distributed the flyer among all the hotels, inside retail stores, and on all of the jitneys that ran up and down the city’s main streets. Casinoland represented a classic self marketing strategy of cross branding that mom had a natural instinct to understand. She knew exactly how to parlay one opportunity after another.
Mom always insisted I either make, or write, something for her, instead of buying her gifts, even flowers. It wasn’t always easy. By creating things, making cards like this for her, I received an extra emotional experience in return. It paid me back in depth of feeling and appreciation. It made me feel closer, and I liked that.
Mom always loved books. She liked reading them, looking at them, holding them. In all the places she called home, there was always a library, numerous shelves, or bookcases, full of interesting tomes on life, politics, medicine, history, biographies, nature, poetry, fiction, non fiction, and on, and on. Here she is in 2005, camped out in front of my Uncle Bob’s small bookcase. It was often in disarray of sorts, which irked her to no end. Whenever we visited together, she would always ask me to straighten it up. Mom thought books had a special aesthetic, and deserved to be displayed neatly organized. She was right. They do.
When viewing these photos, you will notice that many of them have a slightly brown, almost sepia color tone to them. Others show some damage in the form of tears, stains, physical deterioration, and assorted other visual imperfections.
Today’s image editing programs offers a photo restorer an ability to repair many of the worst damage to photographs, given the time to work on them. We can also change brightness and contrast levels on photographs. Using the Levels tool in Photoshop, for instance, I can move and stretch the brightness levels of an image. I can adjust brightness, contrast, and tonal range by specifying the location of complete black, complete white, and midtones.
Before, during, and after the photo scanning process, I have spent much time restoring many of these photos from their original worn, or damaged states. However, because digital restoration, including adjusting levels, can create loss in resolution, even in slight degrees, I decided against doing it with every photo of my mother. The best example of my conservative approach is evident in the volume of photos that remain with a light brown hue as opposed to a starker, or crisper white background.
With much experimentation, I realized that the visual trade-off of converting her photos to crisp white backgrounds, was a loss of resolution. Not a big loss (In fact, many of you would probably not notice it.), but, a loss that bothered me enough to hold off from full scale conversion.
A second reason I held off was that I knew that many of these photos had a native off white hue to them anyway from the original photo paper. A substantial number of them were directly scanned from large format studio camera prints, and I just felt it better to leave them alone, except in the worst cases of damage or imagery.
There are many more news clips, tattered magazine pages, and photocopies that are also not very good. As time permits, I will work to restore these and upload. For now, I want to post, and share, what I have worked on.
I believe the feeling and breadth of Mom’s work already shines through strongly from this collection, just as it is.
After all, it starts with a face. 🙂
I have created this web site to honor my mother, who, over her life, has demonstrated the epitome of grace, beauty, intelligence, and perseverance. This site is very new and continually under development. Much of it contains the photographs that chronicled Mom’s modeling and public relations career. She saved close to a thousand photos and print archives, modestly stuffed out of sight from everyone. As soon as I discovered them, I realized this small tribute would be an extended project. But that’s okay. I am happy to be my beautiful mother’s newest agent.
Please visit the Guestbook page at http://www.jessiepaz.com/guestbook/ to share fond memories, or sentiments. You are also invited to comment inside the blog pages any time you wish. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Jessica. They are truly appreciated.
Herbert Michael Bailey
PS: Please check back often as I have ongoing updates to the blog and galleries. There’s more to come!