(Becky Kempf is the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator at Boone County Public Library.)
I grew up as a child model – for my father. I don’t have any modeling talent, but I must have been in thousands of his photos. I remember being mortified as a teenager at a family reunion when my father pulled out his slides and projector and proceeded to bore everyone for at least an hour with photos of my childhood. My sister and brother were forced to model, too! Here is a picture of the three of us. Not only did my father take these pictures, he developed them in his own darkroom and built the frame.
I bring up my father’s photography hobby because it’s obvious that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – I bribed my own children to model for me and now I expect my grandchildren to smile for the camera, too. My oldest grandchild, Sylvie, is ten and I introduced her to photography with a Little Tykes camera when she was two. Here she is today, using one of my cameras.
My poor dogs have been pulled into this madness, as well. My little dog, Daisy, had to endure three photo shoots on three different days for me to get this picture of her and my books! And you can imagine how much Daisy and Maggie enjoyed being told to “stay” while standing in a flower pot!
My father gave me a Kodak Pony camera when I was in high school and taught me how to use a darkroom. He claimed a bathroom in our house as his darkroom and filled it with strategically placed equipment and an enlarger. He even rigged a red light bulb outside the door that would light up when he was using the bathroom, I mean darkroom. Actually, the bathroom was never used in the traditional way, you would have had to move the table with the heavy enlarger off of the toilet! (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about – google it! Before digital cameras were invented, creating photos was a long involved messy business in the dark with trays of water and nasty, smelly chemicals.)
Back to high school – did I mention that I was a military brat? My dad was a Colonel in the Air Force and we traveled a lot. I attended two high schools – I went to Goose High School in Labrador (Canada) for 9th and 10th grades and then my dad was transferred to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and I graduated from Beavercreek High School in 1976. I worked on the school newspaper and yearbook while in high school and wrote articles, roamed the halls taking pictures and did layouts for the yearbook pages.
I graduated from Wright State University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. I majored in physical geography (basically meteorology) and minored in communication. I took all of the public speaking, writing, journalism and television broadcasting classes I could get. My plan at that time was to be a weather girl, but I fell in love, got married and worked for awhile for my father’s side business, Deerbrook Industries. My dad built furniture and I drew the plans and wrote the instructions so others could make the furniture themselves. We sold the plans through a little mail order catalog.
Long story, short, I had four children and I was a stay-at-home mom for the first three. I went to work for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana when the youngest of the three started school. I used my photography, editing, writing and communication skills as a Membership Development Specialist and handled PR and recruitment for a four-county area as well as the cookie sale, the newsletter and even some programming and training.
Fast forward…after the birth of my fourth child and two jobs later, I saw the posting in the Enquirer for a Public Relations Coordinator at Boone County Public Library and I said, “I’m going to get that job!” I took a vacation day and worked all day on my resume, cover letter and portfolio of work, dropped the packet off at the Scheben Branch, and voila – I got the job and here I am today. I’ve been with BCPL for 15 years as of August 6.
If you’d asked me fifteen years ago what my favorite thing about the library was, I’d have said books. I’ve been a power reader ever since I read my first word and I still love reading as much as I ever did, but now I appreciate the library for the way it brings the community together. Because we depend so much on texting and social media to communicate today, we have lost some of the face-to-face communication we used to have. The Library is a place where you can interact with your friends, neighbors, and people in the community you’ve never met before, while attending programs, using meeting rooms, browsing the stacks, eating in the cafe or even just reading in a corner. The library is one of the few places you can go where you don’t need money in your wallet. You can come here for free entertainment and free education, no matter your age, your status in life, your race. Everyone is welcome at the library and I’m proud to work here and know that all of us together have enhanced people’s lives and made a difference in our community.
You can view more of my photography at rosecoloredlensphotography.com
Becky Kempf – Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator