Xerox President Lynn Blodgett to give Art Talk about photography
July 10, 2012
President of Services for Xerox Corporation and Utah resident, Lynn Blodgett, made the time to create and publish a photography book called "Finding Grace: The Face of America’s Homeless."
The book, which was published in 2007, raised money and awareness for the displaced and was selected by American Photo as one of the top 10 photography books of the year.
Blodgett gave the book to his cardiologist Nassir Marrouche just before a going under the knife last year.
"I thought the book would either motivate him to do a good job or not so good job," Blodgett said with a laugh during an interview with The Park Record. "Everything worked out well and he took the book and gave it to his wife, Robin, who is the director of the Kimball Art Center."
Soon afterwards, Blodgett was asked to present the July Art Talk at the Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., on Thursday, July 12, about his photography and book.
"I guess Robin saw there was some potential to talk about those images," Blodgett said.
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"Finding Grace" is filled with black-and-white images of homeless individuals and families he had taken in Salt Lake City, Seattle, Wash., Denver, Colo., and near the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, Calif.
"I began shooting the photographs in 2004 and shot for three years," Blodgett said. "I was working with a wonderful photographer named Andrew Eccles back in New York, and my goal was to become a better photographer, so I hired him to teach me how to take pictures."
While Blodgett shot, he soon realized the stories and causes of the homeless became more important to him than the photography.
"There are homeless people in every city and they may have slightly different characteristics, but their stories are similar and their demographics are the same," he said. "I wanted to do an art book that stood on its own and it became a great tool to raise awareness."
With the success of "Finding Grace," Blodgett and the Marrouches thought it would be a good idea to do another book about atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat, which Blodgett was diagnosed with 25 years ago while living in Park City.
"We started to talk more and more about atrial fib, which some members in my family have," Blodgett said. "We decided, since ‘Finding Grace’ was so effective in raising money for the homeless, that we should give it a shot to make an art photo book about people with this heart condition and their stories.
"We wanted to see if we could turn it into a tool to make people more aware of the condition," he said.
The new project still has at least another year to go before it will be finished.
"You have to shoot quite a bit to get enough photos to choose from to go into a book," Blodgett explained. "We’ve had seven or eight shoots so far on the people who are diagnosed with atrial fib, but I’ll shoot probably 30,000 frames before we’re ready."
Photography has always been a passion for Blodgett who got his first camera when he was 10.
"It was a little Kodak camera and I shot on black-and-white film and built a little darkroom in the basement of my parents’ house," he said. "I developed my own film. Even though they weren’t very good, it planted the seed of what I wanted to do later on."
Blodgett started off taking photos of birds.
"I’m also a falconer and I love birds, and there are a lot of things they do that are so fast that we can’t see what they are doing," he said. "So I figured if I could take still photos of the birds, I could see those things."
Throughout the years, Blodgett’s subject matter shifted to people, especially to his family.
"I take photos of them, even though my kids tell me to put the camera away," he said with a laugh. "I find time to take my pictures, because I’ve been CEO of a Fortune 500 company for a while and found if you don’t take the time to follow your passion, you could get lost.
"Doing something outside of your normal work experience, it’s a way to keep you alive and your brain fresh," Blodgett said. "So, I made a conscious decision to take time that isn’t my work time to do something else I love to do and it’s worked so far."
President of Services for Xerox Corporation and Utah resident, Lynn Blodgett, will give the Kimball Art Center’s July Art Talk at the KAC, 638 Park Ave., on Thursday, July 12th, at 6 p.m. The event is free to the public. For more information, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org/art-talk/