Memoir: Jini Dellaccio

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by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Have you still got your space? Your soul, your own and necessary place where your own voices may speak to you, you alone, where you may dream. Oh, hold onto it, don’t let it go.
—Doris Lessing

Today binNotes gets personal.

A great lady died recently. Jini Dellaccio, photographer to rock stars, died earlier this month at the age of 97.

I knew her as part of the eclectic group of artists, writers and photographers hanging from the rafters at our ramshackle, barn-red Victorian in a staid, Catholic neighborhood of attorneys, executives and engineers.

 Ours was the ‘one of these things is not like the other’ family – the one with the rock band practicing in the basement, parties falling into the early morning hours, and postcards tacked to the refrigerator from friends flying high in far-flung corners of the earth.

It took me a lifetime to understand the gifts of an unconventional childhood – one I spent far too long trying to eradicate.

 Jini Dellaccio’s photographs hung on the walls of my childhood home, the scenery and people in them as familiar as the rain falling on our roof.

A midwestern transplant and saxophone player by training, Jini Dellaccio took to the camera like another musical instrument, riffing on it like a great blues player.

A sensitive, introverted child, I watched quietly as this force of nature shaped her unique vision of the world through a viewfinder.

Jini Dellaccio’s photographs taught me about listening with one’s eyes.

About seeing the grey between the black and white.

About seeing the space between.

About loving what you do, and doing it up until the end.

A great lady died recently.

But her vision lives on.

For more about Jini Dellaccio, check out the documentary: Her Aim is True.

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