Debra McClinton Remembered

 

Last night, Matt the boys and I went to a gallery show. It was the work of one of Matt’s friends from years past. Debra McClinton. I met her a couple of times and she was sweet, attractive and extremely talented. Her photography has always moved me. She has a quirky yet classic style and I compare the feeling I have when viewing her photographs to that of Diane Arbus.

Unfortunately things in her life must not have been manageable or I don’t know what, but she took her life last year. She left behind a daughter, Frankie Ray, friends and family.

When we walked into the gallery last night, it was all I could do to hold back the tears. It was an interesting space energetically for both Matt and I. It wasn’t somber and it had that feeling that openings have, excitement and chatter, food, networking. But, for us, it was a time to be remembering Debra. We had a hard time seeing familiar faces and socializing when all around us were images reminding us that she was no longer here.

I’m so glad that her friends gathered her work and took such time and care to display it for people to enjoy. They even offered the prints for sale. A short window, for friends and family only, to purchase her work. Matt and I are deciding between our two favorites.

One other element to the room was a table with postcard size images of Debra. Photographs of her, living her life. The intention was to allow people to write a message on the back of a card and place it in the box so that years from now, when her daughter is older, she’ll be given the cards to read and remember her mother. I was compelled to write a card and share my thoughts with Frankie. How her mother’s work inspires me to take photographs. How real and honest her work was and how sad I am that she is no longer here but that her spirit lives within her photographs and within her daughter.

Debra, you are missed. Your work is an inspiration to me and I will think of you with gratitude for your contribution to this earth each time I see your photograph on our wall.

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