years ago an idea burning bright to film the Deal Island Skipjack
race, and a brand new Arriflex film camera, itching for exciting
subjects to film, took a younger me to the Eastern Shore of
Or wait … maybe this story begins as a battered and lightly
rusted film can, still sealed by a brittle band of yellowed tape,
appeared in front of me most of a career later. I can just
make out the faded magic marker title, “Skipjacks, Deal Island
Ekta original.” "Here,"
I remark, “was a good idea that never got made.”
A half-hour of questions later about the find, plus Julie's
(nicknamed the "nose")
recollections of my Skipjacks tales over the years … and that, I
thought, was that. I saw the look. She
wasn't done. Four days later, a faded photo paper box in
hand and a look-what-I’ve-got grin, she was back with several
rolls of negatives. “That’s right,” I suddenly
remembered, “I shot stills too.” The half crushed little
red box emerged from her poking around in my not quite discarded
collection of things I’m holding on to.
By chance, the week before and unrelated, a new scanner
arrived that could scan two and a quarter negatives, so wow, we had
a way to get a look at them. While practically none of this
could be proven serendipitous, consider the following events all
within two weeks of the film can's appearance.
pal-sailor-artist-writer-machinist extraordinaire, upon my casual
mention of the discoveries, mentioned it to his daughter who mentioned
her landlady whose husband happened to be the Director
of the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum.
The Museum it so happened had
just finished a
restoration. The Director as
it happened was
very-very interested in our find. The
Museum it seems was planning a summer exhibit on Skipjacks and proposed
displaying and later touring the found photographs.
Coincidences happen I know. Still, the near perfect timing of
all these chance
events remains, plus a couple of more things.
negatives and transparencies, with new technology, were digitally
restorable and I had the software and the ability to do the
restoration, which wouldn’t have been the case even a few months
the four plus decades old 16mm Ektachrome film also turned out to be
in near perfect condition, getting us all excited about the chance
of editing a show from it someday).