Flumes Volume 1 Issue 1 - Page 20

of my mentor and late voice teacher Joaquina Johnson, vast spectrums of feelings unfurl. Every photo I took of her reveals how she lived her life in its entirety; her passion for music, and the certainty of her high expectations for herself and her students. It is all right there in her sparkling, piercing eyes. That and the fact that in every picture I have of her with her students, her exquisite nurturing and closeness hangs over her image like an aura, like an luminous glow of the love she had for her “children.” Joaquina didn’t flash a smile the same way for every picture; she didn’t strike a pose just to please the audience. With her perfectly matched scarf and earrings and raised eyebrow, I can hear the tone of her voice as I recall one of her favorite sayings that she shared with her students: “it is never enough.” And this phrase can be seen in pictures of her, for her passion and drive always equally balanced her aptitude to never settle for anything less than greatness. Often, when I miss Joaquina, all her intensity and wisdom and generosity; I then look at my photographs of her, and I can actually find my own strength again, despite the grateful tears I shed in her memory.

The pictures of my mother are like windows, sometimes mirrors. There is a satisfaction that comes with seeing your own face in another. I love my mom’s green photo album. The dark green cover is faded and cracked and inside is a mystery of familiar, yet strange faces. Indianapolis neighborhoods that look almost the same today. Gray images of a sweet little girl with curly hair, wearing only her underwear, almost 3 1/2 years old. The photos of Terry Ann Kelly throughout the years show her vulnerability and fragility. But I don’t mistake this for weakness. The photos of her life show the deep connections she has made with people that span the years. In her early 20’s, for example, she was a member of the Fred Warring Pennsylvanians, standing in a glamorous sequined pink gown, adorned with a feather boa. Her perfect skin, delicate posture, and lively eyes are there in the photo of her singing “Where is Love. “ There were times in my life, hard times, when it was essential to have this clear still image of my mom; magical, musical, feminine, willing to share her beauty with others.

Yet, the darkest places in our history are also revealed in photographs, a record of tragedies and atrocities that most of us never want to revisit. For the past 25 years, James Allen, co-author of the book Without Sanctuary, has been collecting photographs and postcards of the lynchings that took place in the United States, after the abolition of slavery. The lynching postcards were mass produced and distributed as souvenirs after