Ed White 02
1. When was this photo taken?
2. Where was this photo taken?
Oak Ridge, TN
3. Who took this photo?
4. What are we looking at here?
A pot created by Charles Counts for his wife Hedi Bak, depicting her cat. It's inscribed on the opposite side with "Hedi's cat" and signed by Charles, from his latter years. This is on the front porch of Hedi's house in Oak Ridge, with my struggling gardening efforts all around. The pot with the Christmas cactus directly below Charles' pot is one of my own from my student days, long before I met Charles and Hedi.
5. How does this old photo make you feel?
Joy over Charles' whimsy and love for Hedi. Frustration (still) over trying to garden in deep shade on a steep hillside. Nostalgia for their unique companionship. Relief for having documented it. Sorrow for the losses it reminds me of.
6. Is this what you expected to see?
Not at all.
7. Does this photo bring back any memories?
This was the year after Charles died suddenly at his pottery teaching position at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and Hedi returned without him. I visited Hedi every weekend for many years thereafter to help her. This picture was probably taken during one of her naps, during which I would often take the opportunity to document a lot of the artwork cluttering her house, a lot of it hers and Charles' own work, but various works by others, too.
Hedi died towards the end of the decade. And since the emergence of Boko Haram, I fear for Charles' legacy in Maiduguri, following Michael Cardew's footsteps and trying to keep traditional pottery alive. I'm glad neither lived to see that chaos. Hedi's son Clemens Bak still keeps his parents' legacies going at bakart-museum.org.
8. How do you think others will respond to this photo?
- Lost Rolls America
- Image Size
- 1700x1109 / 2.0MB
- Contained in galleries
- Lost Rolls: The Archive