Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time Travel

What brought me to ICP was a desire to get my hands on the original materials that went into the making of a series of films about photographers, made in collaboration between ICP founder Cornell Capa and my mother, Sheila Turner, in the early 1970s. I spent last summer going through a dozen of these boxes, listing their contents.

Now I am at ICP working with the Audio Visual collections, and today I traveled through time. We recently purchased an analog reel to reel tape deck, and this morning I threaded in an interview my mother conducted with Cornell Capa in 1971. Hooking up my headphones to this device, I played back the reel and heard my mother's voice for what was the second time since she died in 1979. The last time was a few years ago when I played a record she made where she narrated another program.

I am sure it is hard to imagine the surreal yet soothing experience of hearing the voice of a parent, long gone, and feeling like you're right there. I felt like I was sitting down with the two of them for tea. I forgot to mention I am sitting in Cornell's chair at his desk in this photo, while listening. (Photo by Pauline Vermare)


  1. This gave me chills— I'm so happy for you to have this experience.

  2. Rachel, Thank you for sharing such a tender and compelling moment with us.

  3. I can't even imagine how complicated this must have felt! It's amazing what we keep with us.

  4. Wow, that's really intense. Glad you had this experience, as complicated as it was.

  5. The voice of our birth Mother is our very first relationship, albeit in utero.

    Our Mother's voice triggers firing of synapses in our primal brain: Mother is safety, the root of intimacy, the unification of two souls as one. It really did exist, deeply felt, all along in our own back yard.

    Good for you--and your Mother. A lovely journey.

    You write quite well, Lucky.

  6. And your hair is soooo long!

    Wow's it!