During my reporting-semester-abroad in London (Autumn 1981) we Missouri Nine were required to write a dozen feature stories each. My first was about the artist Erica Daborn.
As we were wrapping up the interview, I asked what Ms. Daborn’s next painting would be. She said, “It will probably be a carousel.’ I replied, ‘Oh, you mean a merry-go-round.’ To which she replied, ‘Yes, I’d guess a merry-go-round.’ She asked if I’d like to go up the street for a cup of tea with her. Since I felt the explicit need to finish my first story in London, I declined politely.
I’ve not seen Ms. Daborn again, only for that interview, though my story was a positive one about her works. I wasn’t in contact with her again, until I phoned her in about 2005. It took a while to locate her, but she was living in Massachusetts with her husband, the American filmmaker Dennis Lanson. Ms. Daborn was teaching at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. (When I’d interviewed her in 1981, I believe Ms. Daborn was living with Andrew or Anthony Davies, an artist and/or writer. I know there’s an Andrew Davies who’s a notable screen writer in Britain these days, and he may have been her man-friend in 1981.)
In September 1981, Mr. Whale edited my Erica Daborn report, and I sent it to the Baltimore Sun — because she’d said she was moving to that area soon — with every slide I’d taken of Ms. Daborn and her paintings. It was a shot in the dark, which taught me never to send all the photos you’ve taken of a situation to a publisher without keeping some sort of backup (I was very new to photojournalism, in that sense). It also taught me that the Columbia Missourian, my university’s daily newspaper, was a better publisher for my writings that semester.
As for my other photos then, that is a somewhat different and eventually more exalted story, for select future columns. Grove Hardy figures very much into that situation.
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