Mrs. Kilpatric, 1974
In 1973 I lived on a quiet residential street in east Santa Cruz a few blocks from the beach. Each week I would take the Greyhound up to San Francisco for the graduate seminar at the Art Institute, and, after staying overnight I'd be back home trying to figure out what projects to work on toward my MFA, and this was one of them. Mrs. Kilpatric lived about three houses down the street. One day as I was walking past her house I saw her in the front yard and asked if I could make her picture. A few days later I returned to her home with the print and asked if I could periodically visit to make her picture, which I did about fifty times over the course of the year.
There were measures of chance and the arbitrary embedded in the concept. I wasn't interested in a documentary; it was more of a transaction. I could come by unannounced at any time of day and Mrs. Kilpatric would pose for me in her front yard. And in return, I'd give her a print. I was 23 and she must have been about 60. We didn't talk very much. I don't think I ever went inside her home. For me, it was always interesting to see how different she could look depending on the light and what she was wearing. And she seemed to embody a cheerful suburban American mother/grandmother so unlike the rigid, scared woman who was my own mother. Mrs. Kilpatric and I never became friends, but we enjoyed our brief photo sessions together. I wonder if there is a stack of these prints packed away in some Kilpatric family home now, just as there is in mine.
20 photos · 637 views