Today I Bought My Inspiration and Her Name Was Judy | Atlanta

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One of my friends asked to borrow Judy this week and I was reminded of this story. This is a re-post from 3.25.2010. Look at that old logo???

Its nearing the end of March and the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom here in Atlanta. Beautiful! My allergies are all a mess so my clients have to hear my stuffy voice on the phone. Still, after taking my allergy medication I spent time yesterday working on my laptop in the park. Sitting amongst other happy Atlantans who were dressed in what seemed to be bathing suits(?), I started typing. Movies, songs, speeches, single words, colors, sights, scents, sounds, artifacts, fashion, people, seasons, food, history, hats, chairs, streets, bridges, structures, textiles, and textures have all at some point given me the much needed vitality to continue my odyssey through photography. I could name even more.


For 3 years I have had a secret love affair. Her name was Judy. One day I walked into a store in West Midtown and there she was standing in the back corner of the room next to a rack of dresses. It is true that I have a fascination with all things antique but this was somehow a peculiar discovery. The dress form that I remained motionless before was enchanting to view. I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to research her story. I wanted to take her home. She was a rare find. I asked the saleswoman if the form was for sale and she politely replied no.



I began stopping by the store monthly if not weekly just to visit. There was so much character and so many features to observe about the form. I took a picture of her one day with my phone in case she left but that did no justice. Being there in the presence of this historical piece was even more riveting.


At last, I received an email from one of my designer friends that the store I frequented was going out of business. Could this be true? I reread the text from the correspondence, "All merchandise and fixtures must go." I sprinted out of my home and checked the store's website on my iPhone just before getting in my car. It was 10:30 AM and the store had opened 30 minutes prior at 10. I thought to myself, "I'm too late!"


It seemed like traffic lights lingered forever and that other cars were moving in slow motion. My rush of adrenalin made me nauseous. As my heart raced, I wished my car would accelerate in the same fashion. Finally, I arrived.

I was surprised to see the store owner (Carol) at the register. After all of these years we had never met nor spoken. Normally, one of her employees was at the helm. I casually browsed the discounted merchandise hoping to enjoy my journey to the rear of the space. The thrill was short lived for when I reached the all too familiar location, it was vacant. The tingling feeling rushed from my extremities. I was crushed. My shoulders sank with disappointment. I figured this would be my day. Soon after, I resolved to rummaging through a pile of organic baby clothes. It was time to leave.


On my way to the exit Carol stopped me and asked if I had recently become a father. I replied no and continued with my path. Carol stopped me again and asked if I had found what I was looking for. I again unemphatically replied no. Carol insisted I tell her what I had been seeking.

When I mentioned the vintage dress form, I had no choice but to share the entire story about my photography and my obsession with what had become an art piece in my mind. Carol interrupted, "You mean Judy!" I had no clue who Judy was but I surmised she meant the form. Carol motioned me towards the counter and pointed in the direction of an old mirror. I did not understand. I was looking at myself?? Weird. I snapped out of my funk just long enough to notice that the dress form had been moved behind the register next to the mirror.


All of a sudden the fullness of breath returned to my chest cavity. My heart was rekindled and my mind was put at ease. "I'll take her," I replied. Carol reluctantly added that Judy was still full price. "Doesn't matter," I blurted. Carol asked where I would be taking Judy and if I owned a fashion store as well. I continued with the rest of my story.

For 3 years I sought inspiration from Judy. Sometimes just before a photoshoot I came by just to take a quick peek. Carol was delighted with my dedication. Judy was personal to her and that is why she had named her. I exchanged contact info with Carol and promised to keep her abreast of my looming adventures.


I made an unceremonious dash towards the door for I knew that Judy was all mine. When I delicately placed her in the car I noticed an envelope affixed to the frame dated 1903 with an address written on the front. When I returned home I started researching and learned that the dress form was from a store located in New York at 710 Broadway. Judy had most likely been manufactured between 1880 and 1900 before the store went bankrupt.

So many of us have pieces or moments of inspiration in our lives. They come in all shapes and forms. We cannot touch nor see them all. We look into our past wondering if someone or something might still be there. I realize that life changes constantly but everything happens in God's time. He allows us to make serendipitous discoveries just at a moment when you feel all alone. Make sure to keep your spirit alert for your blessing and next form of inspiration. I was led to mine.


Today I bought my inspiration and her name was Judy.


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20 comments:

Meredith said...

This is one of the most delightful stories I've read in a very long time! Congratulations on Judy!! I find myself very much in love with her as well ;)! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Your Children and Grandchildren will so much enjoy you! Such story telling skills with words and pictures. You've managed to make simple old judy into an Icon of inspiration. Cool!!

Cloud9_Raquel said...

What a wonderful story and so uplifting on this gloomy Atlanta afternoon! The passion you have for your work is truly inspiring and contagious. Thanks so much for sharing!

Raquel
Cloud 9 Weddings & Events

Jeannine Kennedy said...

Ross:

It was great seeing you and Brandi last night at the High Museum.

Your writing never ceases to inspire me - I really enjoyed your post today!

I have a dress form story also and "Grace" is now a treasured possession in my studio office.

Thanks for sharing,

Kim said...

This is probably the best post from you in a long time, in my opinion.

Darcita said...

you are too cute. always sharing something intriguing, encouraging, uplifting and inspiring to share..thanks for being you!

E.Payne of MakesMeWannaHoller said...

What can I say, bro? You are truly an inspiration. Your relationship with light and ability to understand it is simply...AMAZING. Like the new FB profile pic too.

God bless.

Creative Lunacy said...

Coolness

marlenelillian said...

What a beautiful story! I wish you and Judy all the best :)

Hope, Austin TX said...

Thank you... Thank you... Thank you... Your willingness to share your innermost thoughts and inspirations continues to amaze me

1i_Studios said...

Not only are you a phenomenal photographer, you are a fantastic story-teller! I truly enjoyed your adventures with Judy and I am very glad that you and Judy are together now. (I know she will never take Brandi's place!) smile

Tanjanica said...

I found myself fascinated with your story because it's something that I thought only I would do. Judy is absolutely beautiful and a true piece of art. Congratulations. It was meant to be.

Imagery by SHJ said...

That was a great post!! Its funny what draws our eye sometimes. Something that may seem so simple and others don't even give it any thought, but for you its the most beautiful or most interesting thing you've ever saw.

This is my favorite post so far. Keep up the good work.

Uzoamaka said...

Lovely Post! been a long time I came by here,Well, U still have it...Great JOB...INSPIRING & WELL WRITTEN STORY TOO! enjoy Judy!

Life of AEA said...

Love this! I too am looking for my own Judy. The fashion designer within me has been searching for just the right "her" for a while now. To hear the way you described this love affair with Judy all I could say at the end of it was...that's it!!! You summed up how I feel, yet how I thought no one else in the world would feel about a dress form. Just like you found Judy - it encourages me to hold on, "her" is coming! Beautiful story. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing :0)

Anonymous said...

Wow Ross...what a wonderful story. You have photograph Judy as if she was a real bride. Every photo gives a different energy. No wonder you were inspired… You are a great photographer and I pray that God continues to inspire you that you may inspire us. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I was captivated by this story. Amazing. Thanks for reminding me to keep being inspired and that the dream will be revealed.

Farrah Brown

Ayanna said...

You are as amazing with words as you are with photography... I felt like I was reading a novel that I just had to finish to know the ending. Well written and congrats!

Ziggy said...

Beautiful story and I love how you told it! I'm gad you found your inspiration...

Anonymous said...

I've been an amazed, and inspired follower of your work.Your God given gift is awe - inspiring. More inspiring is how seriously you take this gift, and calling. As I read your posts and see your work and the sheer purpose with which you execute it, I can only hope to find that same purpose in this life for myself.