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I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

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I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Remembering My Uncle Joe

 My Dad and Uncle Joe
 Jackie Smith 38 Marcella St Roxbury MA meets Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr Photo by Joe Runci (My Dad's big Brother)
April 22, 1965: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used a bullhorn to address the crowd at the Patrick T. Campbell Middle School in Roxbury. On segregation he told the crowd, "This is not a battle of white people against black people. It is a struggle between the forces of justice and injustice."  
Wide Angle View From Above State Street

My Uncle Joe Runci. His front foyer was filled with photographs. Photographs of his two beloved children (Robin and Jay), Martin Luther King Jr, The Kennedys, actors (like the cast of All in the Family), infamous criminals, snapshots of daily life, on the street photos in and around Boston...all photos that he had taken as a Boston Globe photographer. It's this photo of a raccoon escaping a burning house from June 1983 that always stands out the most for me.

I remember it being my favorite as a little girl. There was a framed grouping of the raccoon on the wall as you walked in the door. There were several action shots of the raccoon attempting to escape the burning house. He made it and I would stare at the photos in awe of what the raccoon's determination and what my Uncle was able to capture at that moment in time.

Racoon Escapes Fire 

Sad to admit, I've never paid much attention to photographers. Sure, there are some that we instantly can recognize their work when we see it. As I was searching through various Boston Globe photographers at the time, I started noticing that each one had a specific style, including my Uncle. He wasn't going for artsy. He was going for real life, in the moment, trying to capture the human experience. His photos mark a specific place and moment in time. When you look at his photos you see that he was there. Right in the middle of it all. He lived his life and captured the world around him vividly with his camera by his side. The photographs buzz with life, history and the human condition. They're alive in your hands. 

Citation: David Berger and family in his home studio, 1962 / Joseph Runci, photographer. David Berger papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

In 1986 I started my first ever fanzine. It was for my favorite band at the time, the Monkees (they were making their twenty year come back.) My Uncle was my first (and only) paying subscriber to a free publication (how in the heck did I think that I could publish a free zine when I didn't have any money is beyond me! I did have a handful of subscribers. I eeked out a small handful of issues and I still thank Uncle Joe to this day.) I always appreciated how he tried to encourage us in whatever we were doing. 

Uncle Joe, me and my sister, Erin

My heart is very heavy. I will miss him. I miss his piles of photos. I miss his stories. Oh God, the stories. Someone needs to take note of all of them on Saturday night since I sadly won't be there. I miss the summer pool parties, BBQ, watching the men play horseshoes, the Jerry Lewis telethon, my Nana knitting, hanging out with my cousins.) I miss this goofy bunch and the yarns they'd spin together:

Cousin Charlie McLean, My Uncle Joe Runci, Cousin George McLean and my Dad, Jack Smith

I'll be holding on tight to the memories and carrying them with me. Always.

Aunt Jini, Uncle Joe, Nana (her 80th birthday), my Dad and Aunt Sis


Pam (Mpls) said...

Beautiful tribute to your dear Uncle. I so appreciate you sharing your love for your family. Condolences to you and yours and wishing you more memories than you could possibly hold in your heart Kelly.
With Appreciation of all you do.

lynne h said...

that racoon picture, wow...


Tricia said...

Hugs Kelly. Love the racoon picture.

Pamela Gerard said...

Lovely tribute to your uncle. I'm sorry for your loss.