What a long, strange trip this has been. We spent a month and a half on the road driving across the country, doing a week-long Library Road Trip in Canada’s Maritimes, conducting two presentations of our Library albums in Montreal and Boston, having a wonderful family visit in Vermont, surviving a major car crash in Maine, coming down with Covid in Nova Scotia and spending 10 days back at the Farm recovering, and we weren’t done yet!

Ellen had spent more than a year developing and working with Kenda North and Barbara Houghton to create a four-day conference in Trinidad, CO called Framing Place and Time. It was meant to frame the history of a place (Colorado) and time (the 1970s) through the extraordinary burst of energy and creativity in photography and education that occurred there at that time. The conference was a unique gathering of people that had participated in that history. It was an enormous effort to actively secure the history and create an archive of photographs and taped interviews to be housed in Denver with History Colorado (formerly the Colorado Historical Society).

After the car crash, when Ellen and I came down with Covid, it appeared that a third disaster would occur with Ellen missing the whole conference that she had done so much to conceive and create over the last year. After ten days recovering in Vermont our doctor said we were safe to fly. We then hopped on a plane the next day in Boston, flew straight in Denver, rented a car and drove 3 ½ hours south in a rainstorm at night to Trinidad, CO where the conference had just concluded the opening lecture. When we stumbled through the front door, we were warmly received even though we were still weak and could barely stand. Ellen received the adulation she richly deserved, and it seemed like a miracle that we made it. I kept saying to everyone that I was just happy to be alive.

The conference went very well and exceeded everyone expectations. More than a gathering of 70-year old’s reminiscing about the crazy times in their 20s (although there was some of that), it was a serious effort to write history by the people who lived through an unusual historical time. Participants also included a researcher from the Smithsonian Institution who came to observe the event as did a staff member from the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.

It was also a chance to renew friendships where some people hadn’t seen each other in over 40 years. It was also a time to make new friends and contacts in this aging photo community. A Zoom gathering connected photographers that couldn’t attend either due to circumstance or because of health Issues.

We also enjoyed the unique community of Trinidad—the home of Mark Johnstone, one of the principal organizers of the event. Nestled against Colorado’s Front Range, its’ unique character fit well with the creative edge of the participants of the conference. It was a place of history going through an historical transformation.

Leaving the conference was emotional for everyone. As some friendships were renewed, others understood this may be the last time they would see each other. Everyone vowed that they would get together again, soon. But everyone understood the limitations of time and age which made securing this history so important. We all felt lucky to be involved in such a significant event.

While driving back to Denver, we had one last hurrah by running into Barbara Houghton and her husband Keith at a sleezy gas station. The Denver airport was a nightmare, but we were such zombies that we just stumbled through the crowds and collapsed into our seats on the plane.  When we arrived, we were ecstatic to be back in San Francisco. After Walker picked us up, we had dinner and some wine and then slept a deep and profound 12-hour sleep that was much needed.

Thus ended the extraordinary 2022 Library Road Trip. I will keep you up to date as our work develops. Until then, we hope to hear from you all. Stay safe…


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  1. Exhausted for you both. Welcome back to California Thank you for sharing your trip. It is so important to try and meet up with friends and colleagues when possible. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Something I didn’t think about much before I turned 30. It hits home a little more now that I’m over twice that age. (Gasp, how did that happen?)

  2. What a pleasure to read this amazing sort of your amazing journey! I’m so glad that you and Ellen got to Trinidad in time! So glad too that Sam and I got to see you two on the front end of this amazing trip. Love to you both.

  3. reedestabrook

    Wow! Terrific ! And boy do there seem to be a lot of familiar faces I can’t name. Indeed just you, Ellen and Linda


  4. wonderful ending , you two , definitely needs a toast…

  5. Gayle Atwell

    Welcome home! Your bougainvillea is blooming just for YOU 🎉🖐️🌈

  6. Glad you’re home once again!! What a trip -one you’ll always remember! Enjoy some rest and no adventures….. Tina and Ken

  7. Wow, glad you’re home once again. This is a trip you’ll always remember. Enjoy some rest and no adventures…. Tina and ken

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