Holding time | News, Sports, Jobs
With the table and chairs in place, seven Jamestown High School football players and members of the coaching staff find their seats at one end of McElrath Gymnasium for a photo op one February afternoon.
Standing nearby, moms, dads, siblings and grandparents of senior citizens announcing their college plans are also waiting for their opportunity for their Kodak moment with their favorite Red Raider.
In the middle of it all is Cathy Panebianco, the real “strategist” of the afternoon. With her cell phone camera at the ready, she does what she does best: publicizing the accomplishments of members of the Jamestown Public Schools.
Soon the social media world will know that Ty Shults and Sincere Green are heading to Buffalo State; that Joey Delgado, Julian McGaughy, Caleb Bane and Nick Miraglia are all bound for Brockport; and that Jaylen Butera will bring his talents to Mercyhurst.
All because Panebianco does its job so well.
But being the communications coordinator for JPS is her calling.
His job ?
Well, that’s pretty impressive too.
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The box appeared on my desk at the Post-Journal last month.
Inside was a book titled “Mataining time,” which is a visual conversation between Panebianco and his father.
The backstory to it all is this: every Christmas his father would pull out the same box of slides he had made in the 1950s and 1960s, project them onto an old screen, have the family watch and hear the same stories over and over again.
“He would bring us and all the visiting relatives together to tell stories about each other, with each year getting a bit more over the top… family dinners, road trips, summer vacations, weddings and funerals,” Panebianco writes near the conclusion of the book. “We rolled our eyes, but secretly loved the nostalgic trip down memory lane, complete with popcorn and jams. Our family moved around a lot when I was younger. This holiday tradition has made every place we have moved to a home.
Decades later, this holiday tradition has turned into an award-winning project.
“About five years ago, my mother was arranging the slides in her kitchen,” Panebianco writes in his book. “I was looking for a photo idea and came across my mom’s slide in the boat on Lake Newboro, a place in Canada where my family has summered for over 100 years, and thought… could I place this image on Chautauqua Lake, where I live today? I tried, it worked, and a project was born. It became a way for me to see how a past could blend together in the present – a way to better understand how your family influences who you become.
So, in an epic and creative way, Panebianco placed the slides in a current landscape – “Be my house, my garden, my daily life”, she says – it created a connection between the lives of her mother and father and the many memories they helped create over the decades.
“She was my father’s soul mate” writes Panebianco. “I think it’s a tribute to her and the family she created and my father, who over 50 years ago took these slides just so that one day his voice could be heard. “
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To suggest that Panebianco’s book, which has been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad, made a strong impression would be an understatement.
¯ His project received LensCulture Critics Choice Top Ten Award 2020, CENTER’s Project Launch Award 2020 and was listed in Photolucida’s Top 50 Critical Mass 2019.
¯ The series featured in the book was a Hopper Prize finalist and a semi-finalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.
¯ The series also won the International Photography Award for Fine Art, was a finalist for the Texas Photographic Society’s National Photography Award, and received the San Francisco Bay International Photography Competition Portfolio Award.
So, as Panebianco recounted its editorial journey over a cup of coffee last month, it was clear that this was not a “project,” but rather a remarkable blend of his passion for photography with his love for his mother and father, Jean and Glenn Wilcock.
“People can relate to that,” she says. “Everyone has photos at home, everyone has slides of their family. … I think it’s very easy for people to understand.
Jean Wilcock died three years ago this week, but Panebianco looks at the slides created by his father “like little spirits”.
“You realize that the people you love never leave you” she says. “They are always with you, they surround you. They always surround you, don’t they? It’s just kind of a physical reminder of that, for me at least.
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Irene Allison, creative director of DER*LAB, a multidisciplinary team that offers curatorial tools to support editing and photographic production, provides the text included in the book, combining her literary talents with Panebianco’s gift of photography. It’s the perfect editing team.
In fact, at the end of the book – facing a Glenn lake slide at dusk – Allison writes:
The seasons passed so slowly when we were children. Do you remember?
Springs were for comfortable sweaters. Summers for bathing in the lake. Endless autumns for raisin cookies and crunchy leaves. Winters for chapped lips and snow angels.
There is neither before nor after. Every now is forever. And each sunset brings the sadness of evening, and yet the promise of a future that never ends.
Then one morning you wake up and suddenly become an adult.
With the click of a shutter, the present becomes memory. And behind you, a long road paved with images. Each shot is an antidote to fading memories. A pillar to mourn your loved ones. A sweet spell to keep your ghosts alive. A keepsake to remind you of all the things you were and all the things you unexpectedly became.
But for every end, there must be a beginning. The dedication of Panebianco’s book, which appears on the first two pages, reads:
“To my father, who adored my mother.”
Resulting in countless memories.
Slide by slide.
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Panebianco’s book can be purchased at the following link: www.yoffypress.com. Yoffy Press is a photo book publisher in Atlanta, Georgia. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Chautauqua County Humane Society and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts.